Eye of the Tiger

New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

%28NICK+PROVENCAL%2FEYE+OF+THE+TIGER%29%0AJunior+Jordan+Susbilla+sits+in+Jessica+Fork%E2%80%99s+AP+U.S.+History+class+last+Thursday+on+registration+day.+Last+school+year%2C+he+took+AP+Human+Geography+as+a+sophomore%2C+opting+out+of+AP+European+History.
(NICK PROVENCAL/EYE OF THE TIGER)
Junior Jordan Susbilla sits in Jessica Fork’s AP U.S. History class last Thursday on registration day. Last school year, he took AP Human Geography as a sophomore, opting out of AP European History.

(NICK PROVENCAL/EYE OF THE TIGER) Junior Jordan Susbilla sits in Jessica Fork’s AP U.S. History class last Thursday on registration day. Last school year, he took AP Human Geography as a sophomore, opting out of AP European History.

(NICK PROVENCAL/EYE OF THE TIGER) Junior Jordan Susbilla sits in Jessica Fork’s AP U.S. History class last Thursday on registration day. Last school year, he took AP Human Geography as a sophomore, opting out of AP European History.

NICOLE KHUDYAKOV

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Roseville High School requires students take AP European History, World Studies or AP Human Geography as a prerequisite to AP US History. However, some teachers and students have cast recent doubts concerning the validity of AP Human Geography as an effective course in comparison to AP European History.

According to AP coordinator Carrie Oberreuter, the course was not originally designed to segway directly into AP US History.

“AP Human Geography is meant to be an elective, not necessarily a sequential path to AP US,” Oberreuter said.

In previous years, prerequisite classes for a student to take AP US were limited to AP Euro or World Studies.

A recent development, in the form of a vote taken by the school board at the end of the 2014-15 school year, changed that. Now, taking the class fulfills a world studies-based district requirement. Due to these changes, students are beginning to consider the course an alternative for their sophomore year.

AP Euro teacher Carol Crabtree felt that the change opened a door for students who were previously unwilling to take a blocked, year long AP class.

“When they go and take the AP Human Geography course, they use what they’ve learned in certain areas,” Crabtree said.

According to current AP Human Geography teacher Mark Andreatta, the course does not directly prepare students for AP US History, nor is it intended to do so. Freshmen are warned to reconsider choosing to take the class as a substitute for AP Euro or World Studies on AP Night.

“It prepares you in terms of the volume of content you have to get ready for, but in terms of actual test prep for AP US, it doesn’t work,” Andreatta said. “AP Euro is much better prep for kids wanting to take AP US.”

Additionally, the class curriculum comes with certain prerequisites of its own. Andreatta said that the class is structured in a way that presumes its students have foreknowledge of history, which doesn’t work,” Andreatta said. “AP Euro is much better prep for kids wanting to take AP US.”

Additionally, the class curriculum comes with certain prerequisites of its own. Andreatta said that the class is structured in a way that presumes its students have foreknowledge of history, which can only be gained through having taken previous courses on world history.

Unlike Word Studies or AP Euro, the class focuses on current events, as well as social and political aspects in history.

Junior Miles Judd exclusively took AP Human Geo before entering AP US. He felt that the change to a year long AP class was somewhat startling. According to Judd, peers of his who had previously taken AP Euro also seemed to have a better grasp on some of the information.

“I think students that were in AP Euro are a little more prepared,” Judd said. “There are some things I think that in AP Euro they may have a better background on.”

Junior Kaitlyn Ang, who took AP Human Geo after taking AP Euro, believes that students taking only AP Human Geo miss out on essential information.

“I think it’s kind of misleading, because sophomores, especially, go into AP Human Geo thinking that’s all they need to know and then they go into AP US History thinking they are prepared, but they’re not,” Ang said.

Ang believes the class would better serve as an elective, and considers it more of a government and economics-based class than a historically focused one. She also said that a benefit of AP Euro was that it focused on the bigger picture, whereas AP Human Geo was a class led by facts.

Though she considers it challenging, unlike Ang, many students taking the class don’t receive the benefit of having any previous historical background to rely upon. She believes students that haven’t taken AP Euro are, “left out of the loop.”

“[It’s] important for teachers to let the students know straight off the bat there’s going to be some differences,” Ang said. “[Sophomores] feel very frustrated, because they thought they were prepared — but they weren’t and there’s a lot of miscommunication.”

Despite its mixed reputation, oftentimes, students take the class due to misplaced rumors

(NICK PROVENCAL/EYE OF THE TIGER)
AP Human Geography teacher Mark Andreatta finds that students enter his course with many misconceptions. He acknowledges that treating his course as a prerequisite makes catching up in AP U.S. History more difficult.

of its easy nature.

According to Andreatta, students come into the class with a belief that it’s essentially a less difficult variant of the same prerequisite AP social science class.

They are frequently led to believe that the AP test is much less difficult, as it tests for a slightly different writing skill-set.

“They learn very quickly that assumption has to die,” Andreatta said.

Current AP US History teacher Avery Beebe agrees with the sentiment that AP Human Geo inadequately prepares students for her class.

“AP Human Geo is a good social science elective, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the content and skills standards that are kind of needed in AP US,“ Beebe said. “That class is pretty much set in stone.”

There are no plans to change the curriculum to reflect the class’ change in status, as the class structure is set. Much of the class is content-based rather than interactive due to the semester-long time frame in which it’s taken.

Between AP US and AP Human Geo, the class skill sets differ greatly. AP US relies partially on students’ previous knowledge of events in European history. Anybody lacking that background will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage, according to Beebe.

“It’s kind of a detriment to you if you don’t take one,” Beebe said. “Whether World Studies or AP Euro, in order to get that knowledge.”

Incoming AP US students are also often unprepared for certain question and test formats they receive, as those formats aren’t used in AP Human Geo. In comparison, AP Euro and AP US classes are able to work in tandem with one, as test and essay formats are identical. Crabtree has firsthand experience with the many similarities the two courses share.

“There’s a lot of skill instruction that goes into AP European History that students will use in AP US History,” Crabtree said. “It’s clear to us partly because we work so closely together in making sure the courses completely align.”

Beebe feels that the unchanging standards for AP Human Geo are set in stone and unlikely to change in a way that will benefit students taking it as a prerequisite before entering AP US.

“My recommendation to it is that students don’t look at it as a way to satisfy that requirement,” Beebe said. “Look at it as a social science elective and take World Studies and AP Euro.”

About the Writer
NICOLE KHUDYAKOV, FEATURES EDITOR

I’m currently sixteen and a junior at RHS. This is my second year as part of the staff at Eye of the Tiger, and each new year allows me to grow as both a person and a journalist. I enjoy writing (more than just articles) and reading just about anything I come across.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    News

    Suspensions down across RJUHSD

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Media

    RHS pushes to eliminate wrong-way traffic

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    News

    Turning away from suspension

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Briefs

    BRIEF: ROSE Tour cancelled

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    News

    AP does not always mirror college

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    News

    Teachers collaborate to align curriculum

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Briefs

    BRIEF: UPROAR Magazine seeks student work

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Briefs

    BRIEF: Third PLTW Engineering class may offer college credits

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Briefs

    BRIEF: On-campus college finance classes

  • New AP Euro alternative lacks APUSH prep

    Briefs

    BRIEF: Guitar class receives new guitar racks