Scholars: Replace the College Board with New Providers of Standardized Tests

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY, November 18, 2020 — The College Board, the company behind the SAT and AP exams, continues to revise its advanced placement history exams to forward a skewed history that supports a progressive political agenda, says a new report by the National Association of Scholars.

Disfigured History: How the College Board Demolishes the Past details the careless, politicized history in the College Board's revisions to the Advanced Placement (AP) European, United States, and World History course and exam descriptions. Since 2014, NAS has critiqued the College Board’s quasi-Marxist account that erases liberty and faith from America’s history.

“Today’s students, taught using this supposed benchmark of college-level competence in history, will be surprised to know the world as it is, because the College Board fails to teach the history of the world as it was,” says report author David Randall. “The College Board does not learn from its own mistakes, and it condemns America’s students—the leaders and sovereign citizens of tomorrow—to duplicate the errors of a past they have never learned.”

All three of the College Board’s history Course and Exam Descriptions fail to provide students with a proper understanding of history as it happened. They ascribe greater explanatory power to social and economic transformation than to the contingencies of political events. Abstractions replace individual achievements as the motor of history. Ethnic-studies cheerleaders receive their due by minimizing the influence of violence in history, particularly violence committed by revolutionaries or non-whites. All three Course and Exam Descriptions are only even handed in that they render all history in banal, superficial jargon.

In order to teach history properly, the College Board must face competition from new providers of standardized assessments. However, this process is likely to take time. In the interim, the College Board should make three basic changes to its three history assessments: increase rigor, focus its content, and revise its themes.

“The College Board has for too long received a free ride from colleges and school districts. It must be replaced, or entirely reformed,” explains NAS president Peter Wood. “The so-called ‘reforms’ that the Board makes to these exams each year point not toward improvement, but a willingness to bend history to popular political narratives of history, not adjustments for fact-based history.”

Disfigured History’s recommendations offer the College Board a means of ensuring that students are taught the content of history—not simply the ability to expertly argue from a position of pure ignorance.

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If you would like more information about this report, please contact David Randall at [email protected] or at 917-551-6770.

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