Hear from Higher Education Faculty: The Importance of AP Exams Covering Full Content
“Getting a comprehensive look at US History is challenging in any academic year, but it's critically important for students as they prepare for college. Making connections across the full sweep of American history is exactly what we expect of our students in college courses, and it's what we value so much about AP. We can't simply cut out whole portions of the American story this year.”
Denver Brunsman, George Washington University
“The pandemic has strained all of our educational institutions, perhaps permanently in some cases, and the system for taking Advanced Placement exams and the programs that support that process are no exception. I am an educator at various research universities who has been involved in the grading of AP exams for over twenty years and have recently had the honor of being appointed a member of the development committee for the review of the questions for the AP World History exam. From these experiences, I know that AP courses remain rigorous, AP teachers are well-prepared and committed to their students’ learning, and that AP exams continue to cover course material in a comprehensive and fair manner that is the product of years of collaboration between research institutions and K-12 educators. From my experience on the AP exam development committee, I know that students who perform well on the exam will have demonstrated their mastery of the foundations of World History from 1200 to the contemporary age and will be prepared to continue with subsequent courses of a more directed nature in the sequence when they attend a higher education institution. Further, great care is being taken to ensure that students taking AP courses during the pandemic will have access to multiple exam frameworks that can accommodate either traditional paper and pencil versions, or online exams, as their local situation dictates. These exams, which we have all worked hard to develop, are comparable across their administrative types, and continue to be a reliable assessment of student performance. I look forward to contributing to the challenges this process creates as long as the conditions of the pandemic remain."
John Curry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
“AP World History is a dynamic course that takes students on a journey from the 13th century to the modern era. In all of the work we do as historians, we are interested in how the full sweep of the past continues to shape the present, so making sure students have that full history is essential. As a college professor, that's what I'm looking for in my students' work — can they see the relevance of what they are learning, make connections across time and culture? I am always impressed with the ability of the students and their amazing teachers to successfully develop the skills and knowledge to succeed in college, to become confident scholars of world history."
Jodi Eastberg, Alverno College
“The pandemic has strained our educational system in countless ways. The AP program is no exception. As a parent of a student taking AP courses and a member of the development committee for the AP Macroeconomics exam, I know that AP courses remain rigorous, AP teachers are well-prepared and committed to their students’ learning, and that AP exams continue to cover course material in a comprehensive and fair manner. From my experience on the AP exam development committee, I know that students who perform well on the exam will have demonstrated their mastery of the course material and are prepared to continue to subsequent courses in the sequence when they attend college. Further, great care is being taken to ensure that students taking AP courses during the pandemic will have access to either traditional paper and pencil or online exams as their local situation dictates. The exams are comparable across administration types and continue to be a reliable assessment of student performance.”
Tisha Emerson, Baylor University
“I've been a part of the AP community for many years, helping to create and grade the exams alongside a diverse and talented group of teachers and professors who care deeply about English and Literature. We're all dedicated to making AP classes and exams both equitable and rigorous, a balance that's especially important given the challenges of the past year. The AP Development Committee vets every exam question through an exhaustive, passionate debate. We aim for an engaging mix of classic content and more contemporary literature, just as the best college classes do. Such care underscores the need to embrace the full range of AP material, to preserve the richness of the student experience and gain the depth of knowledge expected in a rigorous, college-level course."
David Faulkner, Cornell University
“It’s hard to do that well if you’re only covering bits and pieces of a subject. In this pandemic year, I've been compassionate and flexible with students who’ve been struggling with covid-related challenges. This does not mean, however, that I have compromised on course content. Real, college-level insight about what moves history can only come with a mastery of the material.”
Michelle Kuhl, University of Wisconsin
“College faculty have high confidence in Advanced Placement classes because we know they’re rigorous and comprehensive. We can be sure that students who excel in AP have mastered college-level work and are ready to succeed when they reach our classrooms. That’s only possible when students have learned the full breadth of material in AP Comparative Government and Politics, from political institutions to global economic policy. Drawing connections across a broad curriculum is exactly what I ask my students to do each semester. We need to know AP students are ready.”
Dr. Lauren MacLean, Indiana University
“Calculus covers vital ground for students looking to major in math, science, medicine, and a range of other fields. Mastering the full course content is important in showing that students are ready for the next step when they get to college. That’s why a comprehensive exam matters to colleges and offers reassurance to students who will need those skills in college and in the world beyond. This year's exam has been designed to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills as well as provide institutions of higher learning the confidence they have always had in accepting AP scores.”
Sharon Taylor, Georgia Southern University