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Important Updates

2020 Assessment Changes Due to the Coronavirus Crisis
Because of school closures due to COVID-19, we’ve made changes to the 2020 AP Computer Science Principles assessment. Get the details on these changes and learn how we’re supporting schools and students. Note that 2020 AP course and exam changes may not be reflected on all AP Central pages.

We'll be hosting a live webinar to answer your questions about the AP Computer Science Principles assessment changes on Monday, April 6, 7 p.m. ET. Register for the webinar.

AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award: 2019 Winners Announced
See the full list of 2019 winners of this College Board award, which recognizes schools that have expanded young women’s access to AP computer science courses. Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 achieved this important result.

Learn more about the award

Sign In to AP Classroom
AP Classroom is now available. Designed with AP educators, it helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access your question bank. Students can also access the AP Digital Portfolio through AP Classroom.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Teacher Resource for the Explore Curricular Requirement Now Available
In preparation for the Explore Curricular Requirement starting in the 2020-21 school year, we also developed activities, in collaboration with AP CSP endorsed providers, to help students distinguish between computing and noncomputing innovations, determine how a computing innovation uses data as well as potential data risks, and identify beneficial and harmful effects of computing innovations. You can start using the resource this school year (2019-20) to help students prepare for the Explore Performance Task.

Download this resource from the AP Course Audit page

AP Computer Science Principles Updates for 2020-21

There won't be any updates to the AP Computer Science Principles course and assessment for the 2019-20 school year. However there will be updates for the following school year, 2020-21, to improve the course experience and better align AP CSP to introductory college courses in the subject.

Learn more about planned updates to AP CSP

Course Overview

AP Computer Science Principles is an introductory college-level computing course. Students cultivate their understanding of computer science through working with data, collaborating to solve problems, and developing computer programs as they explore concepts like creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the internet, and the global impact of computing.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The course is designed to be equivalent to a first-semester introductory college computing course. The major areas of study in the course are organized around big ideas that encompass ideas foundational to studying computer science.

The AP Computer Science Principles framework is organized into seven big ideas. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Big Idea
 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 Big Idea 1: Creativity  Not assessed in the multiple-choice section
 Big Idea 2: Abstraction  19%
 Big Idea 3: Data and Information  18%
 Big Idea 4: Algorithms  20%
 Big Idea 5: Programming  20%
 Big Idea 6: The Internet  13%
 Big Idea 7: Global Impact  10%

Computational Thinking Practices

The AP Computer Science Principles framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, or computational thinking practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like computer scientists.

 1. Connecting Computing  Identify the impacts of computing and explain connections between computing concepts.
 2. Creating Computational Artifacts  Design and develop computational artifacts and apply computing techniques to creatively solve problems.
 3. Abstracting  Identify abstractions and use them to develop models and simulations of natural and artificial phenomena. Explain how abstractions are used and help to manage complexity.
 4. Analyzing Problems and Artifacts  Design and produce solutions, models, and artifacts and evaluate and analyze computational work.
 5. Communicating  Describe computation and the impact of technology and computation, explain and justify the design and appropriateness of computational choices, and analyze and describe both computational artifacts and the results or behaviors of such artifacts.
 6. Collaborating  Collaborate effectively with other students on the creation and analysis of computational artifacts to address complex and open-ended problems.

AP and Higher Education

AP Computer Science Principles was created with significant support from the National Science Foundation and more than 50 leading high school and higher education computer science educators who piloted the program at their institutions. Over 750 colleges and universities offer credit and placement for AP CSP and hundreds more will be communicated over the next year. The College Board is actively working with institutions to develop and publish their credit and placement policies for AP CSP.

Visit the AP Higher Education site for higher education support and resources, as well as information on recruitment, admission, and advising and placement with CSP assessments.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Computer Science Principles.