Conservapedia:Comparisons between Andrew Schlafly's class and the AP
Comparisons between Andrew Schlafly's class and the AP
The U.S. History AP exam contains both a multiple choice section, and a section requiring answers in essay form. Schlafly's exams are entirely multiple choice. You can see Schlafly's midterm exams here and here (Schlafly gives separate tests to boys and girls, which is discussed elsewhere). AP questions can be seen here.
The AP test contains three extensive essay questions, one document based, and two general essays, accounting for half the overall grade. Answers are expected to be in-depth and very thorough; the students are expected to write for between 35 and 45 minutes on each. A coalition of professors then review the essays, and then, using a point system, determine the score from 1-9 based on how the information is used. Schlafly's exams contain no essay questions at all, and Schlafly is the only one who grades his students' answers. Additionally, some of his questions ask for his students' opinions on the matter rather than an actual analysis of what they have understood. To review what he expects from his students' writing, we need to examine his homework assignments. These 'essays' contain no such stringent requirements; Schlafly suggests "These questions require at most one or a few phrases to answer; you do not need to write complete sentences".
While Schlafly on occasion does ask questions that could potentially approach the level of the AP, they are generally vague, and the answers he expects from his students would be completely unacceptable on an AP exam, which expects thorough analysis, not "at most one or two phrases".
Schlafly does not prepare his students for the most difficult part of the essay section: the document based question. The AP exam requires the ability to synthesize the contents of multiple primary sources into a coherent historical argument, a skill that Schlafly rarely attempts to develop in his students. Although sometimes he will ask his students to explain a political cartoon, Schlafly has not asked his students for any real analysis, nor to interpret multiple documents simultaneously, a skill vital to success on the AP exam.
Comparisons between Andrew Schlafly's questions and AP level questions
Examples of AP level questions:
- Analyze the impact of the market revolution (1815-1860) on the economies of TWO of the following regions:
- The Northeast
- The Midwest
- The South
- Presidential elections between 1928 and 1948 revealed major shifts in political party loyalties. Analyze both the reasons for these changes and their consequences during this period.
Examples of Schlafly's questions:
- What do you find most inspiring about Christopher Columbus?
- Sample answer: "That he had an idea: That you could go west by sailing east. Nobody believed him, but he pursued this idea, and he went down as one of the most famous travelers of all time. He didn't let anyone dilute his dream." Although this answer is factually incorrect, as it was already well known the world was round, full credit was awarded: 10/10 (You may also notice that the student had the directions backwards; Columbus aimed to go to the East by sailing west. As the overall concept is the same regardless of direction traveled, we let this slide.)
- Another sample answer: "His determination." Grade: Full credit.
- What was the Boston Tea Party?
- Sample answer: "Samuel Adams led a group of colonists, all dressed up as Indians, into the Boston harbor, where they dumped all the tea into the water." No mention of motives, taxes, effects, whose tea it was or where it came from, or anything else is made, but full credit is awarded.
- Describe what you like most about the Monroe Administration.
- Sample answer: "I like the prosperity that occurred in under the Monroe Administration." Grade: full credit (Seeing as Mr. Schlafly specifically tells his students that complete sentences are not required, this student presumably would have received the same score for merely answering "Prosperity")
- Abraham Lincoln was homeschooled. Do you see any characteristics in him that might have reflected his homeschooling, such as his independent thinking?
- Sample answer: "That he was open to ideas such as growing a beard." Grade: Full credit. Lincoln, like most people of his time, was home schooled because he came from a poor family and there was no other way for him to be educated. He did have a voracious appetite for learning, outside of what his parents taught him, and probably, if he had the opportunities and the resources, would have attended some level of formal education. As an adult he taught himself the law (which was also plausible in frontier Illinois).
- What advantage did Buddhism have over Hinduism in converting people outside India?
- Sample Answer (emphasis added): "Buddhism is not as moral, and does not believe in castes. Castes are very politically incorrect and are not something most people would want to be associated with. Buddhism also does not believe in God or a Supreme Being that you have answer to when you die. They believe that Buddha is the creator. Hindus believe that Brahman is the Supreme Creator, or, God. Buddhism’s lack of God would appeal to many people in this day and age." Schlafly deemed that an "excellent answer", and gave the student full credit. However, Buddhists in no way hold Buddha to be the creator, or as a deity of any kind (in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word 'deity'), instead viewing him as a great teacher.