This June, like so many over the past three decades, small armies of graduate students, high school teachers and college faculty descended upon US cities throughout flyover country to score four million Advanced Placement exams in 38 subjects. Or, in recent years, score exam essays and other components from a computer off site, likely at home or in an office.
The job of these readers is to help the College Board through the algorithmic powers of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to determine whether over one million US high school students will earn credits towards their college degrees.
Not so sadly, I was not among them this year. When it comes to a culture of inadvertent racism, my disappointment with scoring AP US and World History exams for the College Board and the ETS knows no bounds.
The testing bias is so strongly Anglo-American and Eurocentric that it lags behind what I taught in my US and World History college courses a quarter-century ago. The AP curriculum leaves many high school instructors ill-equipped to teach about historical nuances that would allow advanced high school students to make a comprehensive college-level history argument, especially on issues related to racism.
Many of the teachers who have scored these exams themselves have displayed their own racism over the years, as they did on t-shirts as part of an event sanctioned by the College Board and the ETS in 2014.