AP US History and Physics get update from College Board

By Seth Hochman
Co-Editor in Chief

Two of the most popular AP classes at North Springs, AP US History and AP Physics, have undergone major changes in the last year nationwide. AP US History underwent a more minor change while AP Physics underwent a major change. AP Physics 1, the introductory class of physics at the AP level use to be called AP Physics B. AP Physics B was a year-long course at North Springs, but the subject matter was considered by the College Board to be too much in one year.

Due to the excessive material learned, the course curriculum was changed so only 60% of the information covered in Physics B will transfer to Physics 1. However, this information will go deeper. The intent of the changes are not to rush through the course so students have plenty of time to master the concepts. After a student takes Physics 1, they have the option of taking Physics 2, then after that they can take “Physics C”. Physics 2 deals with the other material from Physics B, and Physics C goes into subjects like electricity and magnetism among other things. In addition, the exam format is being re-structured.

PHYSICS!

The changes to the curriculum are liked by some. “I feel like it more really reflects college curriculum, but I think it messes up the track for high school physics,” remarked Zachary Luna, the teacher for AP Physics 1 at North Springs. Luna went on to add that if one wants to complete high school physics, they must take three years of physics with AP Physics 1, then 2, and then C. Many people who oppose the change in the curriculum believe that this is too many years.

“I feel like it more really reflects college curriculum, but I think it messes up the track for high school physics” – Zachary Luna, the teacher for AP Physics 1 at North Springs.

For AP US History, the changes are not a complete revision to the course, but instead a refocusing on certain topics more than others. The College Board says that the class is being shifted so it better mimics an introductory freshman US History class at a college. There is going to be a greater focus on early American history and more recent American history, while spending less time on the 19th century.

The changes have not come without criticism. One major change, the fact that for the exam students only have to know six presidents, has drawn ire from many. While this is what is required, teachers can teach additional presidents if they wish. “We are only required to teach six presidents, which don’t include Jefferson, Jackson, or Teddy Roosevelt.  Most of us were shocked that these three influential men who had a tremendous impact on American history were being left out of the curriculum. The purpose of the changes seems to be to better develop historical thinking skills.  When all is said and done,  I still plan to teach Jefferson, Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt and hopefully our students will become stronger historical thinkers along the way,” stated Eric Smith, AP US History teacher at North Springs.

“We are only required to teach six presidents, which don’t include Jefferson, Jackson, or Teddy Roosevelt.  Most of us were shocked that these three influential men who had a tremendous impact on American history were being left out of the curriculum. The purpose of the changes seems to be to better develop historical thinking skills.  When all is said and done,  I still plan to teach Jefferson, Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt and hopefully our students will become stronger historical thinkers along the way” – Eric Smith, AP US History teacher at North Springs.

The test for AP US History has been given a full makeover. The beginning of the test will consist of 55 multiple choice question in 55 minutes, with four short answer questions following in forty-five minutes. Next, students have to complete one document-based question where students are assessed on their skills of interpreting a document. The last section of the test consists of one long essay, where students have thirty-five minutes.

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