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AP U.S. History is an introductory college-level U.S. history course. Students cultivate their understanding of U.S. history from c. 1491 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like American and national identity; work, exchange, and technology; geography and the environment; migration and settlement; politics and power; America in the world; American and regional culture; and social structures.
AP U.S. History Course at a Glance
Excerpted from the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description, the Course at a Glance document outlines the topics and skills covered on the AP U.S. History Exam, along with suggestions for sequencing.
AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description
This is the core document for this course. Unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED was updated in the summer of 2020 to include scoring guidelines for the example questions.
AP U.S. History CED Scoring GuidelinesThis document details how each of the sample free-response questions in the course and exam description (CED) would be scored. This information is now in the online CED but was not included in the binders teachers received in 2019.
Influenced by the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a description of the course requirements necessary for student success.
The AP U.S. History framework is organized into nine commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.
|Unit 1: Period 1: 1491–1607||4%–6%|
|Unit 2: Period 2: 1607–1754||6%–8%|
|Unit 3: Period 3: 1754–1800||10%–17%|
|Unit 4: Period 4: 1800–1848||10%–17%|
|Unit 5: Period 5: 1844–1877||10%–17%|
|Unit 6: Period 6: 1865–1898||10%–17%|
|Unit 7: Period 7: 1890–1945||10%–17%|
|Unit 8: Period 8: 1945–1980||10%–17%|
|Unit 9: Period 9: 1980–Present||4%–6%|
Historical Thinking Skills
The AP U.S. History framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like historians.
|1. Developments and Processes||Identify and explain historical developments and processes.|
|2. Sourcing and Situation||Analyze sourcing and situation of primary and secondary sources.|
|3. Claims and Evidence in Sources||Analyze arguments in primary and secondary sources.|
|4. Contextualization||Analyze the contexts of historical events, developments, or processes.|
|5. Making Connections||Using historical reasoning processes (comparison, causation, continuity and change), analyze patterns and connections between and among historical developments and processes.|
|6. Argumentation||Develop an argument.|
AP and Higher Education
Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.
This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.
Meet the Development Committee for AP U.S. History.