AP Art History Validation Study

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In the spring of 2012, the AP Program, in partnership with Harris Interactive, conducted a study of 59 representative AP score-receiving colleges and universities to finalize the AP Art History course and exam. AP sought confirmation that the redesigned course and exam would align with the expectations of postsecondary institutions as to the content and the skills students should learn in order to be successful in subsequent college courses in art history.

The study findings revealed that the AP Art History curriculum framework reflects the approach and expectations of college-level art history survey courses. Most participants rated the redesigned AP Art History course and exam effective at:

  • Emphasizing critical analysis of works of art
  • Offering students opportunities for focused engagement with essential art historical skills and concepts
  • Addressing the art historical skills, concepts, and content that prepare students for success in subsequent art history courses

In addition, the scope of course content was affirmed by participants, who reported that:

  • The redesigned course content strikes the right balance of global artistic traditions.
  • The 250 works of art that make up the redesigned course content align with their expectations of the number and types of works students study in depth during introductory college courses.

Most participants indicated that they thought the redesigned AP Art History course would effectively prepare students for subsequent art history courses. Additionally, almost 80 percent indicated that, in light of the course and exam redesign, they would recommend that their departments grant credit or advanced placement to students who succeed on the AP Art History Exam.

Qualified study participants were department chairs and/or faculty members who have taught introductory-level art history during the past three years or who have an influence on the department's credit and placement policy. The following institutions were represented:

To learn more about the role of college faculty in course and exam development, visit the AP higher education website. For information about specific institutions' credit policies for AP Art History and other subjects, visit AP Credit Policy Search.