The preferred date by which administrators should renew previously authorized courses that are again offered in the 2015-16 school year to ensure the inclusion of these courses in the initial publication of the AP Course Ledger in November.
The AP® Program unequivocally supports the principle that each individual school must develop its own curriculum for courses labeled “AP.” Rather than mandating any one curriculum for AP courses, the AP Course Audit instead provides each AP teacher with
a set of expectations that college and secondary school faculty nationwide have established for college-level courses. More
AP teachers are encouraged to develop or maintain their own curriculum that either includes or exceeds each of these expectations; such courses will be authorized to use the “AP” designation. Credit for the success of AP courses belongs to the individual schools and teachers that create powerful, locally designed AP curricula.
The AP Computer Science A course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in computer science. Your AP Computer Science A course should emphasize problem solving, procedural and data abstraction, object-oriented programming and design methodology, algorithms, and data structures. The AP Computer Science A course is compatible with those topics that are covered in a typical college CS1 course in accordance with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)/Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) guidelines. Syllabi submitted for course authorization must include a minimum of 20 hours of hands-on structured-lab experiences engaging students in individual or group problem solving.
The assumed prerequisites for entering the AP Computer Science A course include knowledge of basic English and algebra. A student in the AP Computer Science A course should be comfortable with functions and the concepts found in the uses of function notation, such as f(x) = x + 2 and f(x) = g(h(x)). It is important that students and their advisers understand that any significant computer science course builds upon a foundation of mathematical reasoning that should be acquired before attempting such a course.
All students who are willing and academically prepared to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses. The College Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.
High schools offering this exam must provide the exam administration resources described in the AP Coordinator’s Manual.
Course and Exam Description
Describes in detail the AP course and exam. Includes the curriculum framework and a representative sample of exam questions.
To stay aligned with the most recent practices in the continually changing field of computer science, the lab requirement for Computer Science A has been updated for the 2014-15 school year. More
The GridWorld case study has been replaced by a required, hands-on structured lab component consisting of three new AP® Computer Science A labs. GridWorld has been removed from the AP® Computer Science A curricular requirements.
The new labs are shorter in length than GridWorld, and each focuses on a specific content area. This should help teachers more easily incorporate the content into their classroom teaching and improve learning experiences for students.
What Do I Need To Do?
You are not required to submit a new syllabus for authorization. If you already have an authorized course, you have two options to confirm that you are aware of the new lab requirement:
Option 1: Attest to your understanding that a new required lab component has replaced the GridWorld case study. Communicate your awareness of the resources now available online by accessing the sample labs through your AP Course Audit account.
Option 2: Submit a revised syllabus, either by creating your own syllabus that reflects the new lab requirement or by adopting one of the four new sample syllabi available on the AP Course Audit website. If you decide to adopt one of the four syllabi, you can subsequently make modifications to your syllabi without resubmitting it. Resources to support syllabus development are accessible from the AP Course Audit Teacher Resources page.
Instructions for Option One
If you are planning to teach AP Computer Science A during the 2014-15 school year and wish to use the first option described above, follow these steps:
- 1. Sign in to your AP Course Audit Account.
- 2. Select the Secure Documents button located in the Resources section on the bottom left of your Course Status page.
- 3. Select "Computer Science A Lab Files."
- 4. Read and attest to the statement shown.
- 5. Download the sample AP® Computer Science A labs.
Starting in August 2014, your school administrator will need to attest to your incorporation of at least 20 hours of hands-on lab work in order to renew your authorized course.
Instructions for Option Two
If you intend to use one of the sample syllabi to structure your course, follow the steps below:
- 1. Sign in to your AP® Course Audit Account.
- 2. Add Computer Science A from your Course Status page using the green "Add New Course" button.
- 3. Complete the Course Audit form for Computer Science A. Your administrator must also approve this form in order for your submission to be complete.
- 4. Click "Submit Syllabus."
- 5. Select the sample syllabus option.
- 6. Enter the syllabus ID number of your selected sample syllabus. The syllabus ID number can be found at the top right of the first page of the sample syllabus.
- 7. Upload a copy of the sample syllabus. This must be the exact copy of the sample syllabus that you intend to use.
- 8. Click "Submit Syllabus Now."
Review this resource to establish your understanding of the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.
Identifies the set of curricular and resource expectations that college faculty nationwide have established for a college-level course.
Example Textbook List
Includes a sample of AP college-level textbooks that meet the content requirements of the AP course.
Syllabus Development Guide
Includes the guidelines reviewers use to evaluate syllabi along with three samples of evidence for each requirement. This guide also specifies the level of detail required in the syllabus to receive course authorization.
Four Annotated Sample Syllabi
Provide examples of how the curricular requirements can be demonstrated within the context of actual syllabi.
Review these resources to ensure that you have included the required level of detail in your syllabus to successfully complete the course audit.
Syllabus Self Evaluation Checklist
Includes a list of items that teachers should verify prior to submitting the syllabus for review.
Use this checklist to ensure that your syllabus includes all required elements before submitting for review.
Annual AP Course Renewals
Beginning in August of each academic year, AP Course Audit administrators are responsible for renewing previously authorized courses that will again be offered. Administrators can renew courses online from their AP Course Audit account.
A new report on AP provides the perspective of a national sample of AP teachers on issues of the program's quality, growth, equity and rigor.