AP US History at The Miller School of Albemarle

Home » Curriculum Framework For AP USH Beginning in 2015

Curriculum Framework For AP USH Beginning in 2015


Your AP exam will be on Friday, May 8th 2015.

The exam has been redesigned for the 2014-1015 school year. Below are some highlighted changes to the course and test.  You can find more information at the following link


The new curriculum framework organizes US history into nine periods and presents each period with a conceptual focus. (From AP Central)

Period Date Range Conceptual Focus % of Instructional Time % of AP Exam
1 1491-1607 On a North American continent controlled by American Indians, contact among the peoples of Europe, the Americas, and West Africa created a new world. 5% 5%
2 1607-1754 Europeans and American Indians maneuvered and fought for dominance, control, and security in North America, and distinctive colonial and native societies emerged. 10% 45%
3 1754-1800 British imperial attempts to reassert control over its colonies and the colonial reaction to these attempts produced a new American republic, along with struggles over the new nation’s social, political, and economic identity. 12%
4 1800-1848 The new republic struggled to define and extend democratic ideals in the face of rapid economic, territorial, and demographic changes. 10%
5 1844-1877 As the nation expanded and its population grew, regional tensions, especially over slavery, led to a civil war — the course and aftermath of which transformed American society. 13%
6 1865-1898 The transformation of the United States from an agricultural to an increasingly industrialized and urbanized society brought about significant economic, political, diplomatic, social, environmental, and cultural changes. 13% 45%
7 1890-1945 An increasingly pluralistic United States faced profound domestic and global challenges, debated the proper degree of government activism, and sought to define its international role. 17%
8 1945-1980 After World War II, the United States grappled with prosperity and unfamiliar international responsibilities, while struggling to live up to its ideals. 15%
9 1980-2010 As the United States transitioned to a new century filled with challenges and possibilities, it experienced renewed ideological and cultural debates, sought to redefine its foreign policy, and adapted to economic globalization and revolutionary changes in science and technology. 5% 5%



Historical Thinking Skills in APUSH: The curriculum framework begins by describing the historical thinking skills that are central to the study and practice of history. These are organized into four types of skills: chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis. Teachers should develop these historical thinking skills with students on a regular basis over the span of the course. The historical thinking skills provide opportunities for students to learn to think like historians, most notably to analyze evidence about the past and to create persuasive historical arguments. Focusing on these practices enables teachers to create learning opportunities for students that emphasize the conceptual and interpretive nature of history rather than simply memorization of events in the past.



SKILL TYPEStudents demonstrate these directly when writing LE (Long Essay)or DBQ (Document Based Essay)
  1. Chronological Reasoning
  • Historical Causation
  • Patterns of Continuity and Change
  • Periodization
      2. Comparison & Contextualization
  • Comparison
  • Contextualization
      3. Crafting Historical Arguments
  •  Historical Argumentation
  • Appropriate Use of Relevant  Historical Interpretation.
      4. Historical Interpretation & Synthesis
  •  Historical Interpretation and Synthesis
  •  Interpretation
  •  Synthesis


Thematic Learning Objectives: The framework presents a set of learning objectives, organized by seven major themes that describe what students should know and be able to do by the end of the AP U.S. History course. These represent the major historical understandings that colleges and universities want AP students to have developed in order to merit placement out of the introductory college U.S. history survey course. Students should use a range of historical thinking skills to investigate the thematic learning objectives.

Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture Belief Systems CUL
America in the World America in the World WOR
Environment and Geography Geography and Environment ENV
Politics and Power P POL
Identity I ID
Peopling; migration Peopling PEO
Work, Exchange, Technology E(Econ)= Exchange, Work,  Technology WXT


The College Board redesigned the APUSH Exam for the 2014-2015 school  year.  Students will need to have an in-depth content knowledge beginning with the early colonial period and continuing up through recent times. Students will also have to be able to express this knowledge in written from. Students will be expected to analyze primary documents and write extensive essays throughout this course.


Assessment Overview

The AP Exam questions measure students’ knowledge of U.S. history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and historical thinking skills.

Format of Assessment

Section I Part A: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2–5.
  • Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section I Part B: Short Answer | 4 Questions | 50 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best. (No thesis.)
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

Section II Part A: Document Based | 1 Question | 25% of Exam Score

  • Analyze and synthesize historical data. (Thesis required.)
  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.

Section II Part B: Long Essay | 1 Question  | 15% of Exam Score

  • Students select one question among two.
  • Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history. (Thesis required.)
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.

Students will be given a 15-minute reading period, and 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete their Section II responses.

The Total Time for the 2015 AP USH Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes.



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