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The College Board supplies teachers with lesson plans and activities. These activities are at the heart of AP Digital Edge, integrating career and professional education (CAPE) skills and AP course content in ways that support the mastery of each.

Challenge Areas

The lessons and activities address "challenge areas" — foundational but difficult areas of the AP course that students must master to succeed in the class. Chief Readers in the AP Program identify these challenge areas by analyzing AP Exam scores and responses and tracking the concepts and skills with which students consistently struggle.

Practice in CAPE Skills

To complete each activity, students must use one or more CAPE skills (that is, they must use the relevant software). Each CAPE skill is practiced in more than one lesson. The activities incorporate multiple repetitions of all the skills measured on the CAPE certification exam. Thus, while learning the AP content, students are also preparing for certification in the CAPE skill.


AP teachers can use the AP Digital Edge lessons as a whole to provide multiple opportunities for students to practice the digital skills, or choose those that best fit their syllabus and the needs of their students. The lesson plans clearly map the CAPE skills used, and the AP course challenge areas addressed, in each lesson and activity.


To demonstrate how using CAPE skills can help students master AP course challenge areas, here is an example using AP Microeconomics and Microsoft Excel 2013.

AP Microeconomics students often have trouble understanding the difference between factor markets and product markets. This is a challenge area identified by the Chief Reader.

In the AP Digital Edge activity that addresses this area, students use Excel to graph and analyze data that are important to factor markets, such as market demand and the marginal revenue product of labor. With the software, students produce pivot tables and charts that give them a clear visual representation of the data and the connections among the data. They then manipulate the data and project changes to the outcomes based on fluctuations to the labor market, producing new tables and charts.

By connecting concepts to visual representations and exploring the effects that changes in the input data have on the graphical tables and charts, students deepen their understanding of factor markets.