AP Computer Science Principles Efforts at the University of Wyoming

AP Computer Science Principles at UWyo

The AP Computer Science Principles Exam exam is a new exam offered by the College Board. The first year students were able to take the exam was 2017, and it was the largest, most successful launch of an AP exam ever!

The course roughly covers the material offered in a CS1 or CS0 college course, but the emphasis is on more than basic computer programming. The College Board describes the course as follows:

AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to the central ideas of computer science, inviting students to develop the computational thinking vital for success across multiple disciplines. The course is unique in its focus on fostering students to be creative and encouraging students to apply creative processes when developing computational artifacts. Students design and implement innovative solutions using an iterative process similar to
what artists, writers, computer scientists, and engineers use to bring ideas to life.

An important feature of this course is that it is inclusive of students of all backgrounds. The only prerequisite is Algebra 1, which is unusually low for a technical AP course. Moreover, by focusing on applications of computing instead of just technical computing prowess, the course appeals to students who may not otherwise consider a computing course.

Benefits for Schools and Their Students

We believe that all Wyoming High Schools should offer the AP CSP course. Here’s why:

Opportunities for Schools and Teachers

Due to generous support from the National Science Foundation, the University of Wyoming is offering Professional Development opportunities for teachers across Wyoming. An online summer course provides a broad overview of the material in the AP CSP course, and how it is assessed in the AP CSP exam. The course is offered during the entire summer session, although it should only take a couple of weeks to complete. The idea is that you can complete it in your schedule, so it does not conflict with other summer plans you may have.

When you complete the PD, you will receive a $2,000 stipend. In addition, tuition and expenses for the course are reimbursed. More information is available at the PD information page.

Fill out this form to apply for this PD opportunity.

The AP CSP Course Offered at UWyo

Some Wyoming districts and high schools may find it impossible to offer an AP course in computer science, either because they do not have enough students enrolled for the course to be viable, or because they cannot afford to attract and retain teachers who can offer this course. Consequently, UWyo is offering a version of this course that is available to all Wyoming high schools. The course is offered as an online course, and it is taught by a professor in the department of computer science who is also a reader for the AP CSP exam. More information is available at the course web page.

NSF Acknowledgment

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1441069. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.