Proposed New Course and Exam — AP® Computer Science: Principles
- Higher Education Acceptance
- Attestation Form
- Commission (link to list of Commission members)
- Advisory Group
- Planned Project Activities
Apply to Be an AP Computer Science: Principles Pilot School
The College Board's AP Program and the CS Principles (CSP) project team invite you to complete an institutional survey as part of recruitment efforts for the next phase of course and exam development. The information you provide will be reviewed by a search committee to help with the final selection of 50 institutions (roughly 40 high schools and 10 colleges/universities). This cohort of pilot schools will continue piloting the course under the auspices of the College Board for the next three years. That is, we expect selected pilot schools to begin piloting the course in the next academic year (2013-14) and continue piloting the course until the end of the academic year 2015-16. The AP CS Principles course is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016, with its first exam administration in May 2017.
The deadline to complete the survey is Wednesday, April 17.
For more information about recruiting female and underrepresented minority students see Resources for Recruiting Female and Underrepresented Students. (.pdf/360KB)
Selected pilot instructors will be asked to attend a professional development meeting from July 17 to 20 in Las Vegas.
If you have any questions, please email Lien Diaz at email@example.com.
Background and Rationale
At a 2008 National Science Foundation-supported conference with the theme of "Computational Thinking and Fluency in the 21st Century," a group of the nation's leading computer scientists and educators agreed that students require increasing skills in computing across all STEM fields.
Advancing U.S. students' understanding of the principles and practices of computing is critical to developing a more competitive workforce for the 21st century. Yet the number of students studying computing and computer science at both the high school and college levels has been declining alarmingly — the number of students taking the AP Computer Science Exam fell 15 percent between 2001 and 2007, while the number of college freshmen intending to major in computer science plummeted more than 70 percent this decade. Conference scholars further noted that given the changing educational needs of students, computer science in the 21st century must build beyond the programming-centric orientation that was prevalent during the discipline's infancy.
To that end, the investigators proposed developing a curriculum for a new Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) course that would fill a critical gap as an adjunct to the existing AP Computer Science A course. In 2009, the College Board, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), received a grant to prototype the development of this new course, titled AP Computer Science: Principles. The new course will introduce students to programming but will also give them an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computing, its breadth of application and its potential for transforming the world we live in. It will be rigorous, engaging and accessible. To learn more, see www.csprinciples.org.
A commission of 10 secondary and higher education faculty and an advisory group of 19 higher education representatives were charged with developing a robust curriculum for the new course, which will focus on computational thinking and fluency and will equate to a parallel introductory college computer science course.
Five pilot sites were selected to teach the course during the next phase of the project:
- Metropolitan State University of Denver (contact Jody Paul)
- University of California, Berkeley (contact Dan Garcia)
- University of California, San Diego (contact Beth Simon)
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte (contact Tiffany Barnes)
- University of Washington (contact Larry Snyder)
Instructors at the pilot sites are charged with developing and implementing a recruitment plan focusing on increasing minority and female student enrollment, planning and delivering the newly designed course and participating in course evaluation activities, such as pre- and post-course surveys (including surveys of students).
Impetus for Development of Framework and Course
The proposed AP Computer Science: Principles course is intended to foster a wider appeal for the computer science discipline and to better prepare a pipeline of STEM majors. The College Board's meticulous AP course development process, already proven and thoroughly vetted in the NSF-funded redesign of other AP science courses, provides the framework in which the new course's curriculum has been designed. Specific deliverables of the NSF-sponsored AP Computer Science: Principles project will be:
- the AP Computer Science: Principles Curriculum Framework (detailed learning objectives, clearly articulated computational thinking skills and expected student performance levels);
- the design and implementation of course pilots in both secondary and postsecondary settings;
- curriculum evaluations; and
- a suite of computer-based prototype assessment items.
Acceptance of the New Course by Higher Education Institutions
The NSF has generously funded the development of the curriculum and the piloting of the proposed AP Computer Science: Principles course. The next step in moving forward would be to complete AP Exam development and create teacher professional development in support of the new course. The College Board is committed to providing experiences for students leading to placement in advanced college courses and to the awarding of college credit. AP students and teachers have clearly stated that a primary value of the AP Program is the course credit that colleges award for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher in a given subject.
It is therefore critical that the College Board receive validation in the form of attestations from computer science department chairs and other academic leaders that serve as evidence of the merit of the proposed program in terms of college-level credit and placement. See the sidebar to the right for a list of representatives from colleges who have provided attestations to the College Board in support of the development of the Computer Science: Principles course and exam.
Recommended Items to Review:
- Computer Science: Principles Curriculum Framework
- External statements from education and computer science organizations; attestations from education and computer science professionals (see sidebar)
- Data from students in your computer science program and information on the needs of your school's other academic programs requiring computing fluency
- Project Timeline
AP Computer Science: Principles — Attestation of Intent Form
Please fill in the fields below to let us know whether your institution intends to grant credit and/or advanced placement for scores on the AP Computer Science: Principles Exam.