OKLAHOMA CITY, OK: Controversy surrounding new content guidelines being considered by the College Board for Advanced Placement U.S. History courses in high school appears to be justified, according to three Oklahoma State University education professors.
In a paper published by the 1889 Institute, professors Katherine Curry, Lou Sabina and Jon Loffi review both the controversy surrounding the new AP U.S. History guidelines and the guidelines themselves, which were released in 2014. Previous guidelines date only from 2010.
“Our goal was to highlight actual differences between the 2010 and 2014 guidelines so that informed discussions could take place. Many participating in the debate had not actually compared the two frameworks,” said Dr. Curry.
After professors Curry, Sabina and Loffi conducted independent reviews, they compared notes. Their conclusion? The new 2014 guidelines, with their emphasis on “historical thinking skills,” including an emphasis on conflict in American society, definitely come from and leads students to a particular ideological framework.
“You expect historical thinking skills to be the emphasis in an upper-level college history course,” said Dr. Loffi. “But such an emphasis seems misplaced in a high school survey course, even one with ‘advanced’ in the title,” he said.
Since the AP U.S. History guidelines have the potential of impacting content in college-taught survey courses as well as non-AP high school courses, they have the potential of profoundly impacting American society in the future.
“I think it’s important to understand there are significant differences between each of the frameworks,” said Dr. Sabina. “Whether or not you agree with the revisions made, it is important to understand just how much the framework has changed,” he said.
To read the full study in PDF format, click here: A Comparative Analysis of the 2010 and the 2014 AP U.S. History Frameworks