ERIC Number: ED244885
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
AP American History and the History Major: Keeping Body and Soul Together.
Holbo, Paul S.
For college-level American History, in the high school advanced placement (AP) program and on university campuses, these are the best of times and the worst of times. For the American History AP program, the early 1970's were difficult times, with the examinations under attack as elitist and irrelevant to contemporary problems. The program attempted to meet this challenge by concentrating more on social history, including minority studies, and establishing a new type of examination question, the document-base question (DBQ), designed to test students' ability to analyze historical information. However, by the late 1970's, the DBQ had become too long and arduous, requiring students to analyze 20 documents in 40 minutes. In 1981, the American History AP Committee changed the format of the exams, limiting the number of documents students were required to analyze in the DBQ and changing the focus of that question to test outside historical knowledge rather than analytical skills. Currently, there are several problems with the American History AP exam: the amount of time teachers have to cover the span of United States history, failure of teachers to cover economic history, and increasing pressure from college professors to focus on social history. At the college level, the number of students majoring in history has dropped dramatically in the past decade, largely because students are now encouraged to enter professional programs. It is important that history professors maintain high quality courses, and encourage students to take history, perhaps as a double major, for the sake of becoming well educated individuals and for their own satisfaction. (LP)
Descriptors: Advanced Placement Programs, Core Curriculum, Educational History, Educational Trends, High Schools, Higher Education, Majors (Students), Research Skills, Skill Development, Social History, Standardized Tests, Teacher Role, Test Format, Testing Programs, United States History
American Historical Association in AHA Perspectives, 400 A Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the American Historical Association (San Francisco, CA, December 29, 1983).