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Since the launch of the AP Computer Science Principles course in 2016, we’ve been gathering feedback from K–12 and higher education professionals on its structure and content—part of our standard process of strengthening all AP courses.

Based on what we’ve heard, we’re making these updates to the AP CSP course and exam in the 2020-21 school year to improve the course experience and better align AP CSP to introductory college courses in the subject.

Curriculum Framework

  • Big ideas will be reframed to convey themes that should be taught across units developed in a typical college computer science course.
  • Learning objectives will be more specific, giving teachers and students a clearer understanding of the course objectives.

Explore Performance Task

  • Students will no longer have the Explore performance task as part of their through-course assessment starting in 2020-21, though teachers will still need to incorporate the skills and content assessed in the Explore performance task in classroom instruction.
  • Students will be required to complete an investigation into computing innovations that’s similar to the existing Explore performance task.
  • Students will be assessed on the skills and content from Explore on the multiple-choice portion of the exam starting in 2020-21.

Create Performance Task

  • Students will get revised instructions to clarify the expectations for developing algorithms and new requirements for the development of specific abstractions.

We’re working closely with endorsed providers to be sure they incorporate these updates into their curricula and professional development resources to support your teaching in the 2020-21 school year.

In fall 2019, we’ll give more details on 2020-21 updates. Since these updates won’t take effect until fall 2020, continue to use the existing AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description (.pdf/2.0MB) in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Frequently Asked Questions

The AP Program continually works with K–12 and higher education professionals to strengthen all AP courses and exams to best serve our students and meet higher education standards. These updates, based on feedback from educators, will improve the course experience and enhance AP CSP alignment to higher education introductory courses.

Updates to the AP CSP course and exam go into effect in fall 2020. That means that the AP CSP Exam in May 2021 will reflect these updates. Students completing the Create performance task by April 30, 2021, will use the revised instructions and requirements.

The AP CSP course and exam in 2018-19 and 2019-20 won’t have updates. Continue to use the current AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description (.pdf/2.0MB) and exam resources to support your instruction.

In fall 2019, teachers will have access to the updated Curriculum Framework for the 2020-21 academic year. In spring 2020, teachers will have access to resources such as an updated AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description, an AP CSP practice exam, and curriculum update webinars, as well as updated lesson plans and preapproved syllabi delivered by endorsed providers.