Wow – I’m not alone in my dislike for AP History courses. As I was doing some research to submit a proposal to an education technology conference, I ran across an interesting “Roundtable” on teachinghistory.org about AP history courses.
Seems even AP History teachers aren’t always fond of AP courses. Their reasons sound quite similar to mine:
- too much content too fast
- teaching to multiple choice tests doesn’t teach anything
- survey course doesn’t allow deep, meaningful work
- etc. There are many more good reasons.
As a professional historian, I find these broad survey courses to be worthless. Does a student need to have a general sense of history? Of course. Do they need to learn this much this quickly? No way.
I’d much rather see students learn to understand the present through the past. Select a current event. Find the relevant history that brought us to where we are today. Dig deep. Find primary sources that build an argument and explain a situation. Give me a History Day project over an AP test any day.
I will be bringing this up at a curriculum night at the school. I fear I will be hooted out of there for daring to question their precious AP classes. I just find it interesting that 5 of the 6 teachers presented in that roundtable dislike the AP classes.