To bring you and your students new classroom resources and supports, we’re making updates to AP Computer Science A for the 2019-20 school year.
- These updates will give you a clearer sense of the content and skills that will be tested on the AP Exam. They’ll also ensure that the exam format remains consistent from year to year.
- Course and exam information will now be more clearly presented in a new course and exam description (CED)—available in print later this year as a customizable binder. You can preorder a free copy now.
- The 2019-20 AP Course Audit will open in May 2019, and you won’t need to update your syllabus.
- Starting in August, you’ll need to complete a simple digital activation process to access the new resources and help your students register for their exams.
AP Computer Science A Updates
Brief video overview of the updates to AP Computer Science A in 2019-20.
AP Computer Science A has been updated for the 2019-20 school year to make things clearer for you and your students and to reduce scope.
Course and exam information is now clearly presented in a course and exam description (CED).
- Currently, a course description booklet—a very general overview of course content, with a topic outline—is available to help you plan your instruction.
- Starting in late May 2019, you'll have access to a course and exam description (CED) that clearly outlines all required course content and defines how that content will be assessed on the exam.
- Watch a video overview of the new CEDs.
- Print copies will be available in easy-to-use, customizable binders in June 2019. Preorder your free copy using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
The CED organizes the course into ten commonly taught units.
- This series of units represents a sequence that is found in widely adopted college textbooks and that many AP Computer Science A teachers have told us they follow:
- Primitive Types
- Using Objects
- Boolean Expressions and
- Writing Classes
- 2-D Array
- By organizing the course content and skills into units, we’re able to give you and your students free formative assessments—personal progress checks—that you can assign throughout the year to measure student progress.
- We want to respect your time and expertise by providing a road map you can modify and adapt to your local priorities and preferences. You can choose to follow this suggestion for how content can be sequenced and paced. As always, you’ll have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.
The CED defines specific learning objectives and skills for students.
- In the course framework, each learning objective is clearly connected to specific course content in the form of essential knowledge statements. With this kind of specificity, you and your students will know how that content will be assessed on the AP Exam.
- The framework outlines distinct Computational Thinking Practices—skills that AP Computer Science A students should practice throughout the year. These are skills that will help them learn to think and act like computer scientists, such as designing and developing algorithms, writing programs, and analyzing code.
- Throughout the CED, you’ll find thoughtful suggestions for pairing course content with these skills.
Some course content has been removed to make the course more manageable for you and your students.
- AP Computer Science A teachers have told us that there is too much content to teach thoroughly and thoughtfully in a single school year.
- In collaboration with AP teachers, college professors, and members of the AP Computer Science A Development Committee, we’re removing some content to reduce scope and to stay aligned with college-level expectations.
- Specifically, abstract classes and interfaces have been removed.
Starting in the 2019-20 school year, there will be updates to the AP Computer Science A Exam to ensure consistency in the distribution of skills assessed on every version of the exam:
- The weighting, timing, point values, and number of questions on the exam aren't changing.
- The exam will have question types that stay consistent every year so that you and your students know what to expect on exam day.
- The four free-response question types will remain the same from year to year:
- Question 1: Methods and Control Structures, where students call methods and work with control structures without the added complexity of data structures.
- Question 2: Class, where students design and implement a described class.
- Question 3: Array/
ArrayList, where students complete program code that uses array or
- Question 4: 2-D Array, where students complete program code that uses 2-D arrays.
- Free-response questions will measure student performance at a range of performance levels. (Currently, each free-response question is written to assess students at the highest ability levels.)
- There will be defined skills assessed in the same proportions on all versions of the exam. (Currently, because there aren't any defined course skills, the assessed skills vary.)
You’ll find complete details about the updated AP Computer Science A course and exam in the CED, available in late May 2019.
New Resources and Supports
CED with Unit Guides (Available Late May 2019)
- The new AP Computer Science A Course and Exam Description (CED) clearly outlines specific course content and defines how it will be assessed on the AP Exam.
- The CED also includes unit guides outlining the content and skills that will be taught in the course and assessed on the exam. For more information about the unit guides, see below.
- Print copies of the CED will be available in easy-to-use, customizable binders in June 2019. Preorder your free copy using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
- Watch this short video to learn more about the CEDs and unit guides.
AP Classroom (Available August 1, 2019)
AP Classroom is a dedicated online platform designed to support you and your students throughout your AP experience. The platform features a variety of powerful resources and tools to give you year-long support and enable your students to receive meaningful feedback on their progress:
Appearing in the CED and on AP Classroom, these planning guides will outline all required course content and skills, organized into commonly taught units. Each unit guide will suggest sequence and pacing of content, scaffold skill instruction across units, and provide tips on taking the exam.
Personal Progress Checks
These formative AP questions for every AP Computer Science A unit will give students feedback on the areas where they need to focus. Personal progress checks measure knowledge and skills through multiple-choice questions with rationales explaining correct and incorrect answers, and free-response questions with scoring information.
This dashboard will let you review individual student and class progress throughout the year. You’ll be able to view class trends and see where students struggle with content and skills that will be assessed on the AP Exam. Students will be able to view their own progress over time to improve their performance before the AP Exam.
AP Question Bank
The AP question bank is an online library of real AP Exam questions. You’ll be able to find questions indexed by course topics and skills, create customized tests, and assign them online or on paper. These tests will enable students to practice and get feedback on each question.
Enhanced Score Reports (Available July 2020)
Instructional Planning Reports (IPRs) will give you actionable feedback about students’ learning of both content and skills, automatically grouped by your class sections in AP Classroom.
Key Dates for AP Computer Science A Teachers
School Year 2018-19
- Overview video highlighting the AP Computer Science A updates is available. Watch it now.
- Video preview of the CEDs and unit guides is available. Watch it now.
- You can preorder your free 2019 CED binder using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
- You can start accessing new resources to get ready for the 2019-20 school year:
- New AP Computer Science A CED and unit guides—plus an interactive tutorial on how to use them
- Video previews of the AP question bank, personal progress checks, and the progress dashboard
- The AP Course Audit opens for 2019-20, a few months later than usual.
- To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources, you won’t need to submit a syllabus for AP Computer Science A or any other subjects with course and exam updates in 2019-20.
- If you're teaching a previously authorized AP Computer Science A course, you can have your course renewed by your AP Course Audit administrator.*
- If you're teaching a new AP Computer Science A course, you'll need to submit an AP Course Audit form and make sure it's approved by your Course Audit administrator. This form must be approved before you can access the new resources that become available in August 2019.*
- 2019 AP Summer Institutes begin. Updated AP Computer Science A workshop materials will be available to provide context on the CED, unit guides, and other new resources.
- 2019 CED binders are available. You can preorder your free copy now using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
- August 1: The AP Classroom system resources—including unit guides, personal progress checks, progress dashboard, and question bank—become available, along with interactive tutorials on how to make the most of these resources with your students.
- Completing a simple digital activation process will give you immediate access to the system and ensure your students can register for the exams by the new fall deadlines.*
- If you're teaching a new AP Computer Science A course in 2019-20, you'll need to have your AP Course Audit form approved by your administrator before you can access the system.*
- Mid-August: One-day workshops begin.
- Your school’s AP coordinator will set up your class sections in the system. If your coordinator chooses not to create class sections, you can create your own.
- Familiarize yourself with the system and start exploring the resources.
- As you create your sequencing and pacing calendars, use the Course at a Glance and unit guides in the CED to inform your decisions. These can also help you determine how to fit the personal progress checks into your instruction so you and your students can receive timely instructional feedback.
- Access the AP question bank to see what questions are available for you to assign to your students for instructional and assessment purposes throughout the year.
2019-20 School Year
In the First Week of Class
- Log in to the system to get join codes for each of your class sections (you may also receive them from your AP coordinator).*
- Distribute join codes to your students and help them get into AP Classroom and enroll in your class section.*
- Start using the AP Classroom resources and supports.
- By October: Work with your AP coordinator to ensure that all your AP students have joined the appropriate AP Classroom sections.*
- November 15: Deadline for your AP coordinator to order 2020 AP Exams.
- Use your progress dashboard to see where students are demonstrating strength and where they have opportunities for further growth.
- January 31, 2020: Deadline, if applicable, to submit your AP Computer Science A Course Audit form and have it approved by your administrator for 2019-20 AP Course Audit authorization.*
- Before March: If your course started after November 15, 2019, make sure that all your students have joined your AP Classroom section and are following your AP coordinator’s directions about registering for AP Exams.*
- March 13, 2020: Deadline for your AP coordinator to place exam orders for students in courses that started after November 15, 2019.*
- Use the AP question bank and feedback on the progress dashboard to help students prepare for their AP Exams.
- May 2020: AP Exam administration.