CS Principles

Overview of Curriculum
AP Computer Science Principles is a course designed to onboard a student to the world of computation. It offers a more multidisciplinary approach that incorporates areas of interest to hook students and teachers into the field of computer science while maintaining the rigorous standards of an Advanced Placement Course. 
It differs from the traditional AP Computer Science course in that CS Principles is more focused in introducing students to the broader concepts in CS, rather than focus solely on object-oriented programming and problem solving. Also, CSP does not feature Java as a main programming language, instead teachers can choose the language of focus. 

A CS Principles course encourages students to learn to solve problems creatively with computers and to learn about the applications, implications and impact that computers have in our society.  Students who enroll in an AP CS Principles course will have the opportunity to create computational artifacts of their own, and to see the relevance of computing as it applies to their lives.  They will gain exposure to computational thinking concepts and practices to better prepare them for a career or academic pathway in computer science. 

The AP Computer Science Principles Curriculum Framework (.pdf/1.42MB)  lays out the scope and purpose of the course in detail. It is meant to be a framework and not a set of lessons to teach from.  The framework is broken down into two main areas:

 Computational Thinking Practices Big Ideas
  • Connecting computing
  • Creating computational artifacts
  • Abstracting
  • Analyzing problems and artifacts
  • Communicating
  • Collaborating
  • Creativity
  • Abstraction
  • Data and Information
  • Algorithms
  • Programming
  • The Internet
  • Global Impact

  • The courses and various curricula are currently being piloted and developed by various teachers associated with the CS Principles community of practice, the MOOCs and programs that have taken the first steps nationwide, along with the College Board and the NSF- funded courses, participating teachers and organizations that have been involved in crafting the framework. 

    The AP CS Principles Test and Performance Tasks
    The Principles AP Exam is currently in development and will be offered by May of 2017. It differs from the currently offered AP CS exam in that it will not only include multiple choice and free-response questions, but will also involve the completion of two performance tasks during the course itself. During these PTs, students will be asked to collaborate and solve problems together as well as individually, and submit digital artifacts for grading. 

    The tasks will not change from year to year, and will be open-ended enough to allow students to apply their knowledge in different ways and with different foci.  Through these two tasks, the students to demonstrate their understanding of the CSP learning objectives, essential knowledge, and their grasp of computational thinking practices.