The College Board last week issued an overhaul of the Advanced Placement program in biology, but it decided to delay changes in U.S. history to address the concerns of some teachers who reviewed the materials.
In both subjects, the changes are part of a broad revamping of AP courses and exams designed to reduce the breadth of content coverage and promote greater depth of understanding.
The new biology curriculum will take effect in the 2012-13 academic year, while the revised history curriculum will come a year later.
“The revised course objectives will enable teachers and students to explore key topics in depth and will help students learn to reason with the rigor and objectivity of scientists,” Trevor Packer, a vice president at the College Board, said of the new biology program in a press release.
Information supplied by the College Board explained that teachers who reviewed the U.S. history curriculum framework “have asked for revisions to better delineate required from optional content, and these revisions are under way.”
The final U.S. history framework is slated for publication and distribution in fall 2011, with the revisions taking effect in 2013-14.
The revised AP biology program comes as a separate effort is under way to craft new national science standards. That undertaking is also aimed at curtailing breadth in favor of depth in science learning. A framework to guide those standards is expected out this spring.
A version of this article appeared in the February 09, 2011 edition of Education Week as Changes Ahead for AP Biology