AHA Letter to College Board Regarding AP World History (June 2018)

The AHA sent a letter to the College Board urging reconsideration of recent changes to the Advanced Placement World History exam that limit it to “content only from c. 1450 to the present.” The AHA expressed concern that this change is likely to reduce the teaching of precolonial and non-Western history at the high school level.

Download the Letter as a PDF

In July 2018, the College Board announced updates to the revised AP World History course and exam in response to the AHA's letter and other feedback. The statement can be found here.

June 12, 2018

Trevor Packer
Senior Vice President, AP and Instruction
The College Board
250 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10281

Dear Mr. Packer,

The American Historical Association (AHA) urges the College Board to reconsider its recent decision to revise the Advanced Placement (AP) World History exam to “assess content only from c. 1450 to the present.”

While recognizing the challenges of teaching the current course with its broad scope, the AHA believes that this particular revision is likely to reduce the teaching of precolonial histories at the high school level. It risks creating a Western-centric perspective at a time when history as a discipline and world history as a field have sought to restore as many voices as possible to the historical record and the classroom.

The College Board’s reconsideration should involve consultation with leading practitioners in the field before implementing such a significant change in the scope of the exam (and by implication the curriculum as a whole). The AHA offers to organize conversations between the College Board and historians who teach in various classroom contexts. A session at the 2019 AHA annual meeting will discuss the AP World History exam and explore how to teach AP-level world history in a way that preserves its multi-vocal richness and chronological breadth.


Mary Beth Norton

James Grossman
Executive Director