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All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization by going through the AP Course Audit. This means submitting two things for review:

  • A subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • A course syllabus, created by the course teacher

The syllabus is checked by our reviewers to ensure that the course fulfills the AP Program’s course-specific curricular and resource requirements.

We offer plenty of resources, below, to help teachers understand course requirements and create a syllabus that fulfills these.

 

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Designing Your AP Computer Science Principles Course

Overview

The AP Computer Science Principles course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a first-semester introductory college computing course. Find out more about the course.

It is recommended that a student in the AP Computer Science Principles course should have successfully completed a first year high school algebra course with a strong foundation on basic linear functions and composition of functions, and problem solving strategies that require multiple approaches and collaborative efforts. In addition, students should be able to use a Cartesian (x, y) coordinate system to represents points in a plane.

 

Getting to Know the Course and Exam

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 AP course and exam.

AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description

Describes in detail the AP Computer Science Principles course and exam. Includes the curriculum framework and a representative sample of exam questions.

 

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, contact the provider to get both the syllabus and syllabus ID.

Some of these materials have been reviewed by Learning List, an independent instructional materials review service for schools and districts. This review indicates the degree of alignment to the course framework. Learning List’s detailed alignment reports identify the specific learning objectives and practices to which each material is and is not aligned to help teachers use these materials more effectively. Learn more.

 

Creating Your Syllabus

Use these resources to design your AP Computer Science Principles syllabus.

 

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:

  • Students are provided with opportunities to meet learning objectives connected to the 6 computational thinking practices as described in the AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description (.pdf/2.1MB).
  • Students are provided with opportunities to meet learning objectives within each of the 7 big ideas as described in the AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description.
  • Students are provided the required amount of class time to complete the AP through-course assessment Explore—Impact of Computing Innovations Performance Task.
  • Students are provided the required amount of class time to complete the AP through-course assessment Create—Applications from Ideas Performance Task.

AP Computer Science Principles resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has access to a computer with internet access to prepare for and to complete the AP Computer Science Principles performance tasks in class.
  • The computer must be able to access the internet sites necessary for students to be successful in the course and assessment.
  • 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 the 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.

  • Parsons, June. New Perspectives on Computer Science 2018: Comprehensive. 20th edition. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.
  • Schneider, Michael G., and Judith Gersting. Invitation to Computer Science. 8th edition. National Geographic/Cengage Learning.

Download this document for more help creating your syllabus.

Syllabus Development Guide: AP Computer Science Principles

Includes the guidelines reviewers use to evaluate syllabi along with three samples of evidence for each requirement. This guide also specifies the level of detail required in the syllabus to receive course authorization.

These four 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

Example of an AP Computer Science Principles syllabus that would pass the AP Course Audit.

AP Computer Science Principles: Sample Syllabus 2

Example of an AP Computer Science Principles syllabus that would pass the AP Course Audit.

AP Computer Science Principles: Sample Syllabus 3

Example of an AP Computer Science Principles syllabus that would pass the AP Course Audit.

AP Computer Science Principles: Sample Syllabus 4

Example of an AP Computer Science Principles syllabus that would pass the AP Course Audit.

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 you AP Coordinator to create class sections in AP Registration and Ordering. See the AP Course Audit Calendar for other important dates.