Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the College Board have learned of culturally offensive actions during the AP® World History Reading in June 2014. We are outraged by these intolerable findings and are dedicated to preventing any such activities in the future.
As an annual tradition, teachers and professors who attend the AP Reading make independent decisions to create and sell themed T-shirts to their peers. Neither ETS nor the College Board has any involvement in the creation, distribution, or sale of these T-shirts. This year, the T-shirt and some comments made at the AP World History Reading were both culturally and racially insensitive. College Board officials were notified of these incidents after the AP World History Reading was over and the teachers had dispersed.
It is unacceptable that one of the AP Exam Readers created a T-shirt that mocked historical events that were the cause of great pain and suffering, and promulgated racist stereotypes that further marginalize a racial minority. Furthermore, it is entirely inappropriate that references to the AP Program were combined with language and images that make light of a deeply tumultuous period in Chinese history. When some teachers expressed their concerns, others hastily dismissed such perspectives, and proceeded to distribute the T-shirts regardless. All of this was a clear violation of the high standards for respect and dignity that we require and expect at the AP Reading, and ETS and the College Board are deeply apologetic for the distribution of the T-shirt and for the toxic environment it created.
As a result of these findings and the unquestionably poor judgment they reveal, the College Board has asked ETS to discipline any responsible individuals. In addition, we will convene opportunities for the AP World History community to reflect on these circumstances and reestablish the collegiality the AP community expects and deserves.