by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef of the Martin Center examines the College Board’s flawed approach to history.
The College Board is a not-for-profit company that has a great deal of influence over American education. Its Scholastic Aptitude Test (the SAT) is the most widely used test for assessing the college readiness of students, and its many Advanced Placement exams allow students to show that they have learned subjects well enough not to have to take introductory college courses.
Predictably, the Board has succumbed to the general trend toward “political correctness,” or to use the word currently in fashion, “wokeness.” That is to say, the Board has revised its materials to fit in with leftist beliefs.
That is particularly true with regard to its three history exams: AP European History, AP U.S. History, and AP World History.
Those exams have been revised recently and in a new report on them entitled “Disfigured History: How the College Board Demolishes the Past,” David Randall puts them under a microscope. Randall, the director of research for the National Association of Scholars, concludes that each of the exams is deeply flawed in that their teaching of history is “grossly politicized to the left.”
Why does that matter? Because, Randall explains, most high school history teachers will teach to the AP tests, hoping to maximize the chances that their students will score well on them. For that reason, material that isn’t on the tests won’t be taught, and the material that is covered will be taught just as presented. So even if a teacher disagreed with the purported facts presented in the Board’s materials or thought that important people or events had been omitted, he probably would not change or add anything, even if his students would gain better historical comprehension.
Therefore, the College Board has a powerful impact. It molds the way history is taught and the way students understand history as they enter college. That would be good if history were taught well, but Randall shows that it isn’t.