Just How Much History Must We Learn?
I have a deep interest in mathematical equations and physics, history is by far my least favorite subject. This lack of interest in history means does not stem from an ability to retain all the numerous facts, dates, and other information. I understand history is an important subject and it is important for all students to learn and not disregard it simply because it is too much information. However, the College Board is thinking about cutting off thousands of years from the AP World History exam. As expected, this decision has not gone down well with teachers. The new cutoff from the College Board will start history in the year 1450. They are also willing to split history into two parts in which 600 B.C.E-1450 A.D would still be taught but the content would not appear on the AP exam.
I do not support the College Board’s decision to cut off the exam. You simply cannot separate history because it is all connected. For example, let’s say this cut off does go through and you tell a student Christopher Columbus’ voyage started in 1492. The student understands that, but they will also think it’s safe to assume that that is where it all started. Many events took place and civilizations existed a long time before Columbus’ voyage. To ignore these earlier events will cause confusion. Another reason why the cut off is a bad idea is availability. Not all students will have access to both these classes as they are not free. Only students who attend schools that offer the whole historical timeline will be exposed to both sets of material. A student who loves history and even wants to do well on the exam (based on my theory that history is connected) or pursue a major/career in history would want to learn all of history. Splitting the course in half is a bad idea and cutting it off the years before 1450 is an even worst idea. I would suggest that if the problem is too much content in too little time, do not restrict the content but increase the time frame given to teach and for students to learn.