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MDE Recognizes the Alignment of Comprehensive History in AP Courses

LANSING – Teaching of the comprehensive history of the United States is built into the fabric of the national Advanced Placement (AP) program that offers a high level of instruction for students in Michigan and across the nation, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) shared today.

College Board, which administers and oversees the AP program, has in its statement of principles an opposition to censorship; professes a deep respect for the intellectual freedom of teachers and students alike; and has a commitment to “foster an open-minded approach to the histories and cultures of different peoples.”

“As we continue to advocate for and commit ourselves to the comprehensive teaching of American history, I appreciate that the College Board also aligns its AP program to this pledge,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “We do well to teach the full breadth of our history, in social studies and in literature, and to wrestle with the complexity of that history, rather than to limit our children’s knowledge and to suffer the adverse impacts of ignorance.”

In its statement of principles, the AP program opposes the indoctrination of students in any manner and instead designs its courses to develop students’ abilities to assess the credibility of sources, draw conclusions, and make up their own minds.

AP courses allow students to pursue college-level studies and can lead to students receiving college credits while still in high school.

The Michigan Department of Education is a strong supporter of Advanced Placement, and by extension, the work of College Board.

 Prior to the pandemic, Michigan generated an 18 percent overall enrollment increase in AP courses taken by high school students, from 67,285 courses in 2014-15 to 79,546 courses in 2018-19. During that same five-year period, historically underrepresented groups of students taking AP courses were also increasing, with a 63 percent growth for Hispanic/Latino students, a 39 percent growth for economically disadvantaged students, and a 14 percent increase for African American students/students of two or more races.

Students receiving college credit-bearing scores of three or higher on their AP assessments rose 11 percent from 2015-2019.

The College Board states that it “encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.”