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HS Students Prepare for College History
By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau
MAY 20, 2005--UW-River Falls hosted the 9th annual Advanced Placement
U.S. History Review Day, which drew a record 430 students from 19 different
high schools in Minnesota and Wisconsin in April.
Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Review Day is an opportunity for
high school students to discuss major themes in U.S. history and see how
those themes can be connected in preparation for the APUSH test, which
covers all of American history and indicates how well students will do
UW-RF history Professors Kurt Leichtle and David Riggs, and UW-Stout history
Professor Bob Zeidel, were available during the all-day event to answer
questions about the test and U.S. history in general.
According to Leichtle, the event takes some of the "mystery and terror"
out of taking the test. Leichtle says the faculty were just "visiting
firemen" assisting the students with recalling knowledge they've
already covered in high school.
If a student scores a 3 or better out of 5, they receive advance college
credit to be applied to a UW System school. At UW-RF, students receive
three credits, and if they earn a B or better in a 300-level U.S. history
course offered by UW-RF, they earn another three credits.
The APUSH test consists of a set of multiple-choice questions and two
essays consisting of document-based questions (DBQ) and free-response
questions (FRQ). In a DBQ, students answer a question using their prior
knowledge along with a set of short documents given with the question.
Plus, students answer two FRQs, which are similar to essay questions on
a college exam.
Leichtle says a DBQ is more challenging because students must demonstrate
their ability to use primary sources, which is an important skill in becoming
a successful history student and historian.
Leichtle has been involved with APUSH since he was in high school, preparing
for the same future as some of the recent participants. He took two tests
as a high school student and says the college credit gave him extra time
to do additional activities during college.
Leichtle began helping and preparing students for APUSH tests 12 years
ago, when he began reading and grading tests, but now he joins Zeidel
to help to organize APUSH review days across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Students can get involved by taking APUSH courses at their high schools.
Fortunately, most area high schools offer a variety of APUSH courses,
but students also can take the test without taking special courses. Although,
Leichtle says APUSH courses help students structure the content in more
The exam was May 6. According to Leichtle, several of the teachers have
told him their students felt good about their performance. The proof will
come in about two weeks when Leichtle and Zeidel will join about 550 other
history teachers in San Antonio to grade all the exams.
Leichtle says he's excited to head down to San Antonio. "I'll be
able to talk with history teachers from all over the country about history,
their curricula and their students. Plus, I'll get a chance to see how
a wide range of high school students respond to college-level essay questions."
Leichtle says, "I've had a lot of fun working with students at APUSH
Review Day and have formed friendships and professional relationships
with many regional APUSH teachers. Those relationships help my teaching
and stimulates my thinking about history."
On April 29, the following day of the event, Leichtle and Zeidel traveled
to UW-Superior, where they conducted another review day with about 50
students. Leichtle says the low turnout was because schools up north are
smaller and do not offer APUSH courses every year.
River Falls and Hudson High Schools have been present all APUSH review
days for the past nine years. Other area schools have missed a few because
they do not offer APUSH courses on a regular basis.
High schools that participated in the event included:
Johnson High School
St. Louis Park
Cutline: Some 450 students from 19 surrounding Minnesota and Wisconsin
high schools gathered at UW-River Falls on April 28 for the 9th annual
Advanced Placement U.S. History Review Day, which helps prepare students
interested in U.S. history for college-level courses.
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:24 Central Daylight Time