RSD Adopts Changes to AP World History for Next School Year
The Rockwood School District is adopting changes to the current AP World History course for the 2019-2020 school year and transitioning it into AP World History: Modern (1200 CE – present) upon the College Board’s decision to split the current course into two seperate full year AP courses: AP World: Modern and AP World: Ancient (600 BCE – 1200 CE).
According to the College Board, the shifts in the course are due to the response from teachers across the nation that are struggling to cover the current time periods with the level of depth that the AP exam requires, which in turn reflects poor scores.
Matthew Del Pizzo, AP World teacher, disagrees with the necessity for these changes.
“I’ve been teaching AP World for years and I haven’t had difficulty covering the content in depth, and our exam scores reflect that,” Del Pizzo said. “By cutting out thousands of years of history, we are not giving students enough context to ensure the best understanding of history.”
Del Pizzo said that the majority of the curriculum and its direction is still unknown, but he does know that the first semester of the course will be through a workbook and then a proper textbook will be given during the second semester.
“I don’t think that the change in the course should be implemented next year, if at all,” Del Pizzo said. “The material isn’t ready and I, as well as some of the other educators, do not understand the rationale behind it.”
Grant Hays, sophomore, is one of Del Pizzo’s students in AP World this year and he corroborates Del Pizzo’s points.
“I think that AP World is manageable and we go at a good pace where we cover every topic in depth, so by the time the AP exam hits, we are prepared,” Hays said.
“We have some of the most progressive AP World teachers in the state. Our focus as a district is to make sure that teachers are put in the best position with the best resources possible to support our students.” When he heard about AP World being split into two courses, Hays said he understood the basic perspective.
“If it all comes down to improving scores, then I understand the necessity for change but I think a separate course isn’t needed. Focusing on reform within the AP World course and the AP exam format might make the difference that the College Board is looking for,” Hays said.
“We have some of the most progressive AP World teachers in the state. Our focus as a district is to make sure that teachers are put in the best position with the best resources possible to support our students.” With all this feedback, Jordan McGaughey, RSD social studies coordinator, worked with teachers to change the current AP World course for next year.
McGaughey said RSD will be adding some of the changes next year and the AP World course will start about 1200-1450 CE. The AP exam will have a minute change where the topics covered will be more in depth and relevant to the modern time periods.
“From discussions with teachers about changes within the district, teachers are really going to embrace deeper shifts regarding content on the periods they do already teach,” McGaughey said. “However, I have heard of disappointment from both students and teachers about the fact that they won’t be covering the earlier time periods in detail, which is one of the driving forces for student selection of the course in the first place.”
McGaughey said RSD is looking at new textbooks and adopting teacher and online supports for next year and using the 2019-2020 school year as the pilot year for these major changes.
RSD won’t offer AP World: Ancient for the next couple of years because RSD works on a six year curriculum and any major discussion about the inclusion of new AP courses won’t be happening right now. However, the current AP World course will adopt changes that ensure a smooth transition into AP World: Modern.
“I’m confident that we’ll be fine,” McGaughey said. “We have some of the most progressive AP World teachers in the state. Our focus as a district is to make sure that teachers are put in the best position with the best resources possible to support our students.”
Waha Siddiqui, senior, is the Editor in Chief of the Messenger for the 2020-2021 school year. Beside her involvement in student journalism at Marquette,...