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Getting to Know the AP Computer Science Principles Course

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the course and exam.

AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description

Endorsed Providers

Programs offering curriculum and professional development for AP Computer Science Principles may be able to provide additional support to you and your school, including an approved syllabus for your use. If you decide to you use a syllabus by a College Board endorsed provider, simply choose a provider syllabus available for adoption in your AP Course Audit account.

 

Your course must fulfill these requirements, and your syllabus should make it clear how the requirements will be addressed.

AP Computer Science Principles curricular requirements:

  • The students and teacher have access to a college-level computer science textbook, in print or electronic format.
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the big ideas described in the course and exam description (CED).
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the big ideas.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills related to the computational thinking practices:
    • Computational Thinking Practice 1: Computational Solution Design
    • Computational Thinking Practice 2: Algorithms and Program Development
    • Computational Thinking Practice 3: Abstraction in Program Development
    • Computational Thinking Practice 4: Code Analysis
    • Computational Thinking Practice 5: Computing Innovations
    • Computational Thinking Practice 6: Responsible Computing
  • The course provides a minimum of 3 opportunities for students to investigate different computing innovations.
  • Students are provided at least 12 hours of dedicated class time to complete the Create Performance Task.

AP Computer Science Principles resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student is provided computer and internet access in class for completion of course requirements and submission of the performance task.
  • The school ensures that the computer system(s) available for students contains appropriate software to create and edit programs and other computational artifacts, and to allow students to practice for and to complete the AP Computer Science Principles performance tasks.
  • The school ensures that each student has access to the AP Computer Science Principles Exam Reference Sheet, and performance tasks and performance task rubrics.
  • The school ensures that each student has a college-level text or curricular resources for individual use inside and outside of the classroom.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the resource requirements of AP Computer Science Principles and have met or exceed the required alignment to the learning objectives and skills in the course curriculum framework. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit. While every effort is made to keep this list current, it can take a few months for newly published titles and revised editions to be reviewed.

  • Abelson, Hal, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis. Blown to Bits: Your life, liberty, and happiness after the digital explosion. Addison-Wesley.
  • Brookshear, J.Glenn, and Dennis Brylow. Computer Science: An Overview. Pearson.
  • Conery, John. Explorations in Computing: An Introduction to Computer Science and Python Programming. Chapman and Hall/CRC.
  • Dale, Nell, and John Lewis. Computer Science Illuminated. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • Downey,  Allen, B., Jeffrey Elkner, and Chris Meyers. How to Think Like a Computer Scientist. Free Software Foundation, Inc. Runestone Academy.
  • Open Source. CS Principles: Big Ideas in Programming. Runestone Academy.
  • Parsons, June. New Perspectives on Computer Science 2018: Comprehensive. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Schneider, Michael G., and Judith Gersting. Invitation to Computer Science. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Vermaat, Misty E., Susan L. Sebok, Steven M. Freund, Jennifer T. Campbell, and Mark Frydenberg. Discovering Computers 2016: Tools, Apps, Devices, and the Impact of Technology.  National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Vermaat, Misty E., Susan L. Sebok, Steven M. Freund, Jennifer T. Campbell, and Mark Frydenberg. Discovering Computers 2018: Digital Technology, Data, and Devices. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.

To ensure access to digital portfolio, you must complete your AP Course Audit form and have it approved by your course audit administrator by October 1. Completing this step also grants you access the question bank in AP Classroom and allows your AP Coordinator to create class sections in AP Registration and Ordering. See the AP Course Audit Calendar for other important dates.

These annotated sample AP Computer Science Principles syllabi show how the curricular requirements can be demonstrated in a syllabus and what level of detail you’ll need to include.

AP Computer Science Principles Sample Syllabus 1 (.pdf/260 KB)

AP Computer Science Principles Sample Syllabus 2 (.pdf/211 KB)

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