AAG Staff member Emily Fekete recently participated in the AP Human Geography Reading, held annually June 1 to June 9 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The AP Human Geography Reading is a gathering of college professors and AP high school teachers for the purposes of evaluating essays written by students who took the AP Human Geography exam. Throughout the course of the week, individuals will read around 1,000 student essays a piece. To be eligible to score exams, AP readers must have either taught Human Geography at the university level or have taught AP Human Geography for at least 3 years. This was Emily’s seventh consecutive year scoring AP Human Geography exams and her second year attending as an employee of the AAG.

The number of students who took the AP Human Geography Exam from the year the exam started to 2019.

The exam is structured so that it contains a section of multiple choice questions scored with a scantron as well as a free-response section containing three essay style questions. AP Human Geography Readers score the free-response questions throughout the course of seven 8 AM to 5 PM days. The reading days are kept on a strict schedule to keep on pace to ensure that the scoring is complete by 5 PM on June 8. To score the exams, a rubric is developed by a group of question leaders made up of college professors who then train the readers on how to use the rubric to score the questions. This process ensures that readers are scoring as consistently as possible.
The AP Human Geography exam is one of the fastest growing AP exams currently being offered. In 2001, the first year the exam was available, 3,272 students completed the test. In 2019, 233,817 students took the AP Human Geography exam. Because of the growth in the number of exams needing to be scored, the number of readers who attend the event has also grown. In 2019, approximately 950 readers were present to score the AP Human Geography exam, up from 794 in 2018.

AAG Past President Alec Murphy gives his keynote address at the AP Human Geography Reading
AAG Past President Alec Murphy gives his keynote address at the AP Human Geography Reading

During the evenings at the AP Human Geography Reading, professional development activities ranging from academic speakers to networking to a Human Geography Bowl are organized. Past AAG President Alec Murphy was the 2019 featured keynote speaker with his presentation “Why Geography Matters” where he discussed his role in establishing the AP Human Geography course and the importance of the discipline to create contemporary global citizens. Another popular night is the Night of the Round Tables, an evening to share teaching resources with AP Human Geography high school teachers. During the 2019 Night of the Round Tables, Emily shared the AAG’s Profiles of Professional Geographers and the Guide to Geography Programs in a short presentation. By giving high school teachers these resources, students who have an interest in pursuing a career in geography will be more knowledgeable about which universities have geography programs when deciding where to attend college.