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College Board updates AP rubrics, adds AP Pre-calculus


By Miya Cao, Staff Reporter

With the release of the Fall 2023 Course and Exam Descriptions for Advanced Placement courses on Sept. 12, the College Board revised the essay rubrics that AP World History: Modern, AP U.S. History and AP European History utilize. Additionally, in May, College Board announced a new course which debuted this fall: AP Pre-calculus.

One major change to the history rubrics regards how students can earn “complexity points” in their essay responses. Before the revisions, students could earn the complexity point through having “demonstrated a complex understanding of the historical development that is the focus of the prompt.”

For Document-Based Questions (DBQs), students can now earn a complexity point by using seven documents, sourcing four documents or making a counterargument. For the Long-Essay Question (LEQ), a student can earn the point by using four pieces of evidence or making a counterargument. Both essay questions now do not require students to  interweave complexity throughout the essay.

For the DBQ,  College Board reduced the number of documents that students have to use in their argument from six to four, and the number of documents that students have to source from three to two. For the LEQ, the rubric clarified that four pieces of evidence are required to earn the evidence point.

Sophomore Prranit Arora, who took AP World History: Modern freshman year and is currently taking AP U.S. History, has mixed opinions about these changes.

“I really like how (College Board) changed the complexity point. Now, it’s kind of like a checklist. It’s more standardized, more objective,” Arora said. “I don’t like that they decreased the amount of evidence that you need for getting the point. I found (the rubric) to be really well balanced last year, and now it feels like it’s getting a little bit too easy. But I think that overall, (the rubric) is considerably better, mostly because of the complexity.”

Conestoga will not be offering the AP Pre-calculus course or exam in the near future. By creating the course, College Board aims to increase access to STEM majors and careers while helping students build stronger foundations for higher math classes. District Curriculum Supervisor for math Dr. John Mull believes AP Pre-calculus does not fit the district’s goals.

“I think (College Board’s) objective is to help districts that have low enrollment in AP courses. That’s part of what AP Pre-calculus is: an opportunity for districts like that,” Mull said. “Our objectives don’t completely align with the course.”

The current pre-calculus equivalents at Conestoga, Math Analysis AB and BC (MABC), will remain the prerequisites for AP Calculus AB and BC.

“Roughly 90% of students in MABC are juniors or younger, so they all have the opportunity to take AP Calculus. In MABC, we’re previewing topics more extensively so that students can go quicker in AP Calculus,” Mull said. “We reviewed as a district, and we thought (that the math analysis courses) do a good job preparing students. If we shifted, we would be doing our students a disservice.”

Miya Cao can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Miya Cao, Staff Reporter
Miya Cao is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She often writes for the News and Sports sections. Outside of The Spoke, she plays ice hockey and enjoys spending time with her friends.