AP European History goes global with Talley


Teacher Robert Talley points to Jean-Francois Millet’s 1857 painting, The Gleaners, as an example of realism.

Avalon Kate Nash, Staff Writer

It is the end of an era. Falling in line with most schools in the district and the county, Advanced Placement World History (AP World) will replace AP European Civilizations (APEC) as the new history elective available to sophomores next year. 

In many ways the change is not as drastic as it first seems; AP World follows the same test format and includes European history in its curriculum, though in less detail. 

Covering 800 years, from 1200 CE to present day AP World focuses on the development of societies, ideologies, and interactions between cultures. Comparably, APEC covers about 570 years, from the start of the Renaissance to modern day, with an emphasis on European societal, economic, and political developments.

Driving the shift was the desire to foster inclusion and representation for those of all backgrounds in history.. Robert Talley, who has taught AP European History for the past eight years is excited to teach this change in perspective. He believes the new course will allow for students to cultivate a broader understanding of events.

“When we cover events in Euro, like the Age of Exploration, it was like: the Europeans show up, do this, take this, and go back to Europe. But with World now it’s like well, okay, yes, the Europeans show up, but how does that affect the people living there? Let’s look at the people who were already there, and the interactions and connections across cultures, beyond the European narrative,” Talley said.

Talley hopes to provide incoming sophomores with the same interactive experiences he is known for – immersive stories, unique projects, and mnemonic devices that come in handy on the AP Exam. He anticipates that the one challenge accompanying the change will be that students are familiar with the concepts. 

Sophomore Mackenzie Juza, a member of the last class of APEC at Poway. Although she described her experience positively, Juza thinks the change to World is for the better.

“The best thing about APEC has been the way it’s taught and the friends I’ve made over the year. But as much as I enjoyed taking Euro, I do wish I could’ve taken World because I think that the content sounds much more interesting,” Juza said.

When it comes to national AP pass rates, there is not a great difference between APEC and AP World. On the 2022 exam data, AP World had an overall passing rate (the amount of students who received a score of 3 or higher out of 5) of 62 percent, while APEC had 58.9 percent passing… 

Parental and student response has been rather neutral with enrollment virtually unimpacted, Talley notes. He will be teaching five sections of AP World. Freshman Cooper Castleberry will be a part of the first AP World Class next year. “It didn’t really impact my decision, I had heard such great things about Talley from people who had APEC, and I knew I wanted to take on an AP,” Castleberry said.