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Course Updates

AP U.S. History has been updated for the 2019-20 school year to make things clearer for you and your students and better align with college-level expectations.

2018-19 Starting in 2019-20

A course and exam description (CED) is available to help you plan your instruction.

Starting in late May 2019, you'll have access to an updated course and exam description (CED) and framework that more clearly outlines all required course content and defines how that content will be assessed on the exam.

Watch a video overview of the updated CEDs.

Print copies will be available in easy-to-use, customizable binders in June 2019. Preorder your free copy using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.

The current CED is organized by nine historical periods.

The updated CED organizes the course into 9 units, one for each of the historical periods in the current CED.

By organizing the course content and skills into units, we’re able to give you and your students free formative assessments—personal progress checks—that you can assign throughout the year to measure student progress.

We want to respect your time and expertise by providing a road map you can modify and adapt to your local priorities and preferences. You can choose to follow this suggestion for how content can be sequenced and paced: As always, you’ll have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

The current CED includes seven unifying themes.

The updated CED includes 8 themes, with the current theme of Culture and Society now divided into two separate themes: American and Regional Culture and Social Structures.

In the current CED, multiple learning objectives are connected to multiple key concepts.

Each learning objective is now clearly connected to specific topics in the framework. With this kind of specificity, you and your students will know how that content will be assessed on the AP Exam.

The current CED includes history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills in a separate section not specifically integrated with the course content.

The framework in the updated CED now outlines more specific thinking skills and reasoning processes that AP U.S. History students should practice throughout the year—skills and processes that will help them learn to think and act like historians. For example, students will analyze historical developments and processes, analyze primary and secondary sources, and develop an argument.

Exam Updates

Starting in the 2019-20 school year, there won't be substantial updates to the AP U.S. History exam:

  • The short-answer questions will now be more tightly aligned with the course skills.
  • The weighting, timing, and number of questions in each exam section aren't changing.
  • The rubrics for the document-based question and long essay question aren't changing.

Key Dates for AP U.S. History Teachers

  • 2019 AP Summer Institutes begin. Updated AP U.S. History workshop materials will be available to provide context on the CED, unit guides, and other new resources.
  • 2019 CED binders are available. You can preorder your free copy now using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
  • August 1: The AP Classroom system resources—including unit guides, personal progress checks, progress dashboard, and question bank—become available, along with interactive tutorials on how to make the most of these resources with your students.
    • Completing a simple digital activation process will give you immediate access to the system and ensure your students can register for the exams by the new fall deadlines.*
    • If you’re teaching a new AP U.S. History course in 2019-20, you’ll need to have your AP Course Audit form approved by your administrator before you can access the system.*
  • Mid-August: 1-day workshops begin.
  • Your school’s AP coordinator will set up your class sections in the system. If your coordinator chooses not to create class sections, you can create your own.
  • Familiarize yourself with the system and start exploring the resources.
  • As you create your sequencing and pacing calendars, use the Course at a Glance and unit guides in the CED to inform your decisions. These can also help you determine how to fit the personal progress checks into your instruction so you and your students can receive timely instructional feedback.
  • Access the AP question bank to see what questions are available for you to assign to your students for instructional and assessment purposes throughout the year.
  • Before classes start, log in to the system to get join codes for each of your class sections.*
  • Post the join code for your class section on the board or distribute it to your students. Tell students to log in and join you class section before the next class.*
  • October 4: Preferred deadline for your AP coordinator to order 2020 AP Exams.
  • November 15: Deadline for your AP coordinator to order 2020 AP Exams.
  • Use your progress dashboard to see where students are demonstrating strength and where they have opportunities for further growth.
  • January 31, 2020: Deadline, if applicable, to submit your AP U.S. History Course Audit form and have it approved by your administrator for 2019-20 AP Course Audit authorization.*
  • Before March: If your course started after November 15, 2019, make sure that all your students have joined your AP Classroom section and are following your AP coordinator’s directions about registering for AP Exams.*
  • March 13, 2020: Deadline for your AP coordinator to place exam orders for students in courses that started after November 15, 2019.*
  • Use the AP question bank and feedback on the progress dashboard to help students prepare for their AP Exams.
  • May 2020: AP Exam administration.

* = required action