Mr. John Meinzen

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

Advanced Placement™ Computer Science Principles


Sept 9, 2020

7:00-8:00 PM EST [6:00-7:00 CST]


7:00-7:20 Presentation Session

What do you want to know about AP CSP? [the Big Picture]

Key Takeaways :

  • Understanding the Purpose and Goal of AP CSP : "Computer Science for the rest of Us"

  • What am I going to do?

Experienced AP CSP teachers : Updates for the 2020-21 School Year

Content Changes : Highlights from Andy Kuemmel posted on Community Forum


  • Hexadecimal, Hardware abstractions, "high-level" vs "low level" abstractions,

  • Some Internet terms (IETF, DNS, DDoS, IPv4, IPv6), "cryptography has a mathematical foundation,"

  • Abstraction as a Big Idea has been placed into other Big Ideas.


New Topics:

  • 4.3 Parallel and Distributed Computing

  • 5.3 Computing Bias

  • 5.6 Safe Computing (not totally new, but mostly new)


New EK's:

  • 1.4 Identifying and Correcting Errors (new EK: logic, syntax, runtime errors)

  • 2.1 Binary Numbers (new EK: analog vs digital)

  • 4.1 The Internet (new EK: WWW ≠ Internet)


New Course and Exam Description or CED (Purple-colored 3-ring Binder) :

    • New Course Framework in CED NOT sequenced according to content or skill development (i.e. AP CSP is not desiged as "Textbook Chapters"...look to Endorsed Providers for sequencing)

      • New Big Ideas broken down into Enduring Understandings then Learning Objectives and, finally, Essential Knowledge Statements

      • New Computational Thinking Practices broken down into Skills.

      • NOT sequenced like many courses (i.e. no Unit or Chapter Guides)

      • suggested spiral and scaffolding techniques

      • coordinated with online student and teacher resources

      • teachers may download for free on AP Central, order 3-ring Binder online or a 3-ring Binder provided at APSIs/Conferences

    • New (and old) Endorsed Providers - 12 have CB-approved course content and syllabi. (Course-in-a-Can!!!)


New Assessment changes:

    • Explore Task gone...assessed in MC questions

    • Create Task has been re-formatted for more-specific student constructed responses.


New AP Classroom - online formative LMS. Questions should be assigned carefully if used on any Summative Assessments (i.e. no student grades or teacher evals!)):

    • Question Bank for Teachers to optionally assign TOPIC Questions to students.

    • Unlike most AP courses, there are NO Personal Progress Checks or Progress Dashboard for Teachers to identify student improvement...this would imply a given sequence of content progression (i.e. Units) which is NOT the case for AP CSP.


New Cost (as of Spring 2020...opens August 1...subject to change) :

      • Online Registration of Students for AP Course Resources & ordering of Spring AP Exams.

        • October 15 : preferred deadline for online registration, $94/exam

        • November 15 : final deadline for online registration without late fee, $94/exam

        • March 13 : final order changes,$94 + $40 per exam late fee (no late fee for 2nd semester-only courses)

        • $40 fee for unused exams

New AP CSP Teachers : AP CSP in a Nutshell

Starting the Course : Planning for the Official Content (Curriculum Framework)

Middle of the Course : CSP Resources : Endorsed by College Board - online support

Resources for Teachers :

College Board - AP CSP Course Website

AP CSP Course Home Page

  • Course Audit [requires free Professional Login Account...all teachers must go through the AP CSP Audit process for 2020-21

  • The Exam - with Sample Scoring

  • Performance Tasks - with updated samples using new Scoring Guidelines and Notes - scroll down page

  • Reports :

    • Chief Reader's Report

    • AP Scoring Reports

    • Instructional Planning Reports


College Board - Professional Development Opportunities


Independent Endorsed Providers or "Course-in-a-Can"

  • See AP Central : Classroom Resources


    Graphic with the Logos for each Endorsed Provider.


    Free (or Grant-funded) Teacher Training

    • Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) [aka CS10 at UC Berkeley] - using SNAP! block-based visual learning [drag-n-drop], exploratory & collaborative approach...TRY THIS!!!

    • Mobile CSP - using App Inventor [drag-n-drop] for Android devices, full curriculum.

    • Apple with Swift : Five days training, teaching materials, meals during training, and online support throughout the school year will be provided at no cost. Seats are limited to 100 participants.


  • Free Course Content that is guided by Teacher [usually requires paid PD for teacher]

    • CS50 - Harvard University's AP CSP curriculum in 8 units. Uses Python & JavaScript [Scratch]

    • Project Lead The Way (PLTW) - full K-12 STEM program, uses Python

    • UTeach Institute - U of Texas at Austin, project-based and authentic problem solving [pseudo-code based]. Lesson plans and pacing guides with scaffolding and student support.

  • Teacher-Partner Instruction

    • TEAL - team-teaching & guided-leadership to build CS programs with support from a CS professionals in industry.


    Other (possibly non-Free)

    • - daily lessons, videos, tutorials [drag-n-drop], assessments and more...TRY THIS!!

    • - Coding Game using Python & JavaScript. Self-paced course with support from a leader.

    • - Comprehensive 6-12 grades online teaching platform for CS. Free for single-teacher to district-wide curriculum and PD.

    • Edhesive - partnered with UTeach Institute at U of Texas. Paid one-stop classroom solution for students with a teacher. PD is self-paced and online.

    • Zulama - Carnegie Mellon's AP CSP course, developed by faculty at Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, provides engaging game design projects to teach students the same programming languages. PD for teachers is self-paced and online.



Resources for Students :

AP CSP Student Website :

AP CSP Student Website :

  • Future careers and college majors

  • Enrollment requirements [usually complete Algebra 1]

  • Exam scores, fees and reductions

  • Practice for Exam

  • Sample activities

  • FAQs


  • Early in Course:

    1. Teacher creates Electronic Professional Login (EPL) and creates a AP Digital Portfolio Class Setup which generates a Class ID.

    2. Student creates login and signs on to teacher's class using the class ID. Teacher then "enrolls" student into their course.

    3. Student indicates intent to take the end-of-course exam. This generates a student "AP Number" which will be needed for Performance Task submissions.

  • March (approx)

    1. AP Coordinator orders the AP CSP Exams and receives a list of student names and AP Numbers.

    2. AP Coordinator provides students with their "AP Number." Students must enter their AP Number for their AP Digital Portfolio to confirm that they are planning on taking the Written Exam.

    3. Students who fail to enter their AP Number will not have their Performance Tasks scored.

  • 15 April : suggested Draft/Final online submissions of Create and Performance Task

    • Draft submissions cannot be reviewed by teacher

    • Final submissions should be checked ONLY for:

      1. Plagiarism (have evidence)

      2. Corrupt file (return to student)

      3. Wrong file (return to student if Create submitted for Explore and vice-versa)

  • 30 April (midnight EST): last day to submit Final Performance Task

  • early May : End-of-Course Exam Day (2 hours)


Approved Textbook List (see AP Central's Course website)

Ending the Course : Planning to Assess Students (28 pages of Assessment Overview)

Summary : Assessment of Students : [Pages 71-103]

  1. One Create Performance Task [30% of overall score]

      • ...develop and design process to create computational artifact

      • ...Create Performance Task requires individual and collaboration effort with reflective documentation

      • 30% of overall score

      • 12 hours of classroom time

      • online student submission by 30Apr (15Apr suggested) :

        • (V) - Video of Programming, (<1min, <30MB, in mp4, avi,, wmv, mov) ...[ LOs 5.1.1 or 5.1.2],

        • (IWR) - Individual Written Response in PDF about Program and Development process...and

        • (PC) - Program Code in PDF (comment cited code and circle student's original code)...

    • Student & Teacher Expectations on the Create Performance Task :

      Students ...

      • complete both in the classroom by student himself/herself!

      • complete both without teacher assistance is essential do at least two "practice" performance tasks before the students work on their own independently.

      • describe or analyze their work including proper citation of sources for both performance tasks!


      Teachers ... [Note: complete list for teachers are given on pages 71-83]

      • let students do can't even assign a list of topics to choose from.

      • but you must be an advisor, organizer, and point out resources and are a "Leader" not the "Sage on the Stage" !

      • provide students with handout for timeline (you generate) & photocopy of Explore & Create Scoring Guidelines.

      • provide students with a photocopy of Student Submission Guidelines [page 108 for Explore, page 113 for Create].

      • provide students with access to the Learning Objectives (LOs and EKs).

      • Updated details and Scoring Guidelines at:

  2. One End-of-Course Written Exam [70% of overall score]

    • 13 May 2021, 2 hours in the morning.

    • Paper and Pencil

    • 120 minutes

    • 70 Multiple Choice questions

      • 57 Single-Select Multiple Choice (SSMC select 1 answer from 4 options)

      • 5 Single-Select Multiple Choice with reading passage about a computing innovation.

      • 8 Multiple-Select Multiple Choice (MSMC select 2 correct answers from 4 options)

      • May be presented as "sets" of problems or discrete questions

      • Reference sheet will be available during Written Exam

    • Assesses the Learning Objectives and Skills from the Big Ideas and Computational Thinking Practices

    • Practice Exams

      1. accessible via AP Central and after course authorization (i.e. your syllabus has gone through Audit) received via login only at

      2. 18 Sample Exam Questions in Course and Exam Description (CED) 3-ring Binder

    • Experienced AP CSP Teachers ONLY : Comparing 2019-20 and 2020-21 Course & Assessments

      pre-2021 Assessment

      Changes for 2020-21

      74 multiple choice questions

      • Single select and multiple select questions

      Multiple choice questions

      • 70 Single select and multiple select questions

      • 1 set of 5 stimulus based questions

      Explore Performance Task

      • Students investigate a computing innovation, create a computing artifact, and answer a series of prompts related to the data used in the computing innovation and its effects.

      Explore Curricular Requirement

      • Students will be required to investigate 3 computing innovations of their choosing and answer similar questions.

      • This will be assessed in multiple choice.

      Create Performance Task

      • Students collaborate in the creation of a computer program.

      • Students answer questions about the development of their program as well as about algorithms and abstraction used in its creation.

      Create Performance Task

      • Students collaborate in the creation of a computer program.

      • Students will be required to use lists and procedures that include parameters in writing their programs.

      • Students will answer questions about their program development, use of algorithms and abstraction, as well as test cases to round out the iterative development process.


      pre-2021 Course Practices

      Changes for 2020-21

      6 Computational Thinking Practices

      • Creating Computational Artifacts

      • Analyzing Problems and Artifacts

      • Connecting Computing

      • Collaborating

      • Abstracting

      • Communicating


      6 Computational Thinking Practices

      • Computational Solution Design;

        Algorithms and Program Development

      • Code Analysis

      • Computing Innovations

      • Responsible Computing

      • Abstraction in Program Development

      • Responsible Computing


      Prior to 2020-21 :
      Seven Big Ideas

      Changes for 2020-21 :
      Five Big Ideas

      Why change 2020-21:?





      Creative Development

      • Currently BI 1 is not tested

      • Updated is testable

      • Collaboration LOs have been condensed in 1 EU





      Abstraction integrated throughout


      • EU on data is moved to data

      • EUs on programming are moved to programming

      Data and Information





      • Largely staying the same, but now includes data abstraction










      • Reduced redundant concepts

      • Includes the exam reference components




      The Internet


      Computer Systems and Networks

      • Some concepts have been removed; mainly specifics that might evolve or change over time

      • Parallel and distributed computing


      Global Impact

      Impact of Computing

      • More testable LOs

      • Privacy and safety has been included

      • Focuses on the effect of computing on the individual and how to keep yourself safer when using technology

Details : Re-designed Create Task submissions

  • Create Performance Task : online submission by 30April, 30% of AP CSP score

    1. (PC) Final Program Code (Independently or Collaboratively)

    2. (V) Video displaying running of student program and demonstrates functionality student developed (created independently)

    3. (IWR) Independently Written Response [750 word limit for combined written parts exclusive of Program Code] in 18 different boxes. Collaboration is NOT allowed.

        Part 3a. Provide a written response. Approx. 150 words combined in 3 subparts

        • i. Describe overall purpose.
        • ii. Describe functionality of program demonstrated in video.
        • iii. Describe input & output of program demonstrated in video

        Part 3b. Paste two program code segments that contains a list (or other collection type) being used to manage complexity. Approx. . 200 words combined in 5 subparts, exclusive of Code

        • i. Code sement that shows how data have been stored in the list
        • ii. A second code segment that show the data in the same list being used as part of fulfilling the programs purpose.
        • iii. Identify the name of the list.
        • iv. Describe what the data contained in the list represents.
        • v. Explain how the selected list manages complexity by explaining why program could not be written, or how it would be written differently, if the list was not used.

        Part 3c.Paste two program code segments that contains a procedure that implements an algorithm and a call to that procedure. Approx. 200 words combined in 4 subparts, exclusive of Code

        • i. Code segment developed by student that :
          • defines procedure's name and return type (if necessary)
          • Contains and uses one or more parameters that have an effect on the fuunctionality of the procedure
          • Implements an algorithm that includes sequencing, selection, and iteration.
        • ii. A second code segment that shows where the procedure is called.
        • iii. [with part iv] Describe in general what identified procedure does and how it contributes to the overall functionality
        • iv [with part iii] Explain in detailed steps how the algorithm implemented in the procedure works. Explanation must be detailed enough for someone else to recreate it.

        Part 3d. Provide a written response. Approx. 200 words combined in 3 subparts.

        • i. Describes two calls to the procedure identified in written response 3c. Each call must pass a different argument(s) that causes a different segment of code in the algorithm to execute.
          • First call:
          • Second call:
        • ii.Describes what condition(s) is being tested by each call to the procedure.
          • Condition(s) tested by the first call:
          • Condition(s) tested by the second call:
        • iii. Identifies the result of each call.
          • Result of the first call:
          • Result of the second call:


7:20-8:00 Discussion Session

What can I do with AP CSP? [the Little Picture]

The following are called "Unplugged" activities

  • Used without computers to learn computer science concepts.

  • Quick setup with few classroom resources.

  • for more classroom activities


Activity : Numbers, Packets, and the Internet.

10 pieces of paper, one word per page


Search these in the Curriculum Framework

  • packet

  • TCP/IP addressing (IPv4 vs IPv6)

  • routing

  • encoding sequence numbers (& other meta-data) within packets

  • redundant, fault tolerant, reliability

  • hierarchy, scalability, and abstraction of IP addresss and DNS

  • beneficial and harmful effects on individuals and society.

  • DMCA, security, privacy, cryptography & trade-offs

  • http, https (SSL/TLS) on the Web


Other AP CSP Vocabulary resource...thanks to Sandy Czajka

Details of Activity : Internet Messages EU 6.1 & 6.2

The Internet Protocols : Large Group and Modeling Strategies

  • Requires approximately 5-10 blank sheets of paper.

    Select a single word or message that is difficult to guess.

    Write only one letter from the word (or one word from the message) on each piece of paper.

  • The goal is to send the word or message--one piece of paper at a time--from one person (sender) to one other person (receiver) through a network of computers (the rest of the students in the class).

  • Position the sender and receiver on opposite sides of the classroom. The rest of the students must sit between the sender and receiver within arms-length of each other. Each student must be sitting in such a way that they can only reach up to 4 other students. There must be more than one possible path from the sender to the receiver.

  • The word or message is be passed as quicly as possible--hand-to-hand--through a series of computers (the students) without walking.

  • This may be repeated several times.

  • Keywords & Concepts in Learning Objectives: packet, transmission, routing, lossy data, security, latency, scalability, distributed systems, redundancy, addressing (DNS), reliability, phishing, DDoS, protocols (TCP/IP)

Introductory Activity : Expressing an Algorithm in a Language LO 4.1.2 & EK 4.1.2G

The Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Algorithm : Collaborative Strategies

  • Plan : Describe the steps that someone could follow to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Assume the person following your list of instructions is as "dumb" as a computer.

  • Design: After the list of instructions are specified, encourage a re-writing using Computer Science terms such as "select" "if", "iterate", "list", and "sequence"

  • Refine : Use the AP CSP Reference sheets and a few added keywords and variables

    (example: bread <- peanut butter) to generate an algorithm and abstraction.

What can I do to Prepare My Students? [the Future Picture]

Key Take-away: Take the Course Yourself.

  • Memorize all 300 EK's.

  • Complete all the 3 Assessments.

  • Plan for the type of teacher you want to be.

    1. Be the "Student Peer" and create the course with your student

      • ...let students create the questions, projects, and assessments.

      • ...have students cross-examine each other's work

    2. Be the "Mentor" and lead by examples.

      • ...use your strengths but recognize your limits/weaknesses

      • ...and point down the road to resources that lead students down difficult terrain.

    3. Be the "Expert" and lead them up the mountain...gain the highest peak

      • ...but not likely to happen without years of experience.

      •'ve reached the peak when you become an AP Reader and/or asked to write questions.

      • ...knowledge is essential but not sufficient to help students reach the peak with you.


"Top 10" for Teachers

Top 10 for New AP Teachers [first 3 years]

  1. Read the Official Curriculum Framework [YES...all 134 pages!]

  2. Read (& handout to students) the Official Assessment Overview & Performance Task Directions for students [YES...all 28 pages!]. Scoring Rubric is a 1-page summary.

  3. Attend at least 1 AP Summer Institute and familiarize yourself with:

    • logging into your Professional Online Account

    • AP Audit & Secure Documents

    • AP CSP Digital Portfolio: teacher access, class setup, student progress monitor, student access & class enrollment

    • AP CSP Community

    • Dates - deadlines are "score killers." Teach students to plan by creating a pacing guide with graduated consequences...especially for 9th and 12th graders!

  4. Choose & complete a "Course-in-a-Can" program [i.e.,, etc.]. It will save you a great deal of time the first year.

  5. Pass the Course Audit....much easier with "Course-in-a-Can."

  6. Generate your own projects, assignments, questions, etc. as time allows.

  7. Plan on becoming an AP Reader...most AP courses require minimum 3 years experience but AP CSP is so new...opportunites are NOW!

  8. Review your Online AP Report at beginning of each year to identify strengths and weaknesses.

  9. Give yourself and your students a break!

    • After developing 19 different STEM courses along with 6 AP courses, I am confident that it takes a minimum of 3 years to become "comfortable" with an AP course and being evaluated by Assessments that you have no control over!

    • You are taking your students along a journey/adventure TOGETHER. students can be "mini-teachers"...offer (bonus) points for pointing out little things that you may have missed.

  10. Use non-copyrighted online material freely! Just make sure you "cite" your sources and remember the Golden Rule. A simple "thank you for ..." makes a fellow teacher's day!

Top 10 for Experienced AP Teachers [4-10 years]

  1. Become an AP Reader. The week spent scoring PT's with colleagues from around the world cannot be understated as a professional development! Plus you get rich ;)

  2. Understand all of the Official Curriculum Framework [yes...all 134 pages!].

  3. Re-Create the Official Assessment & Performance Tasks for your students.

  4. Stay up-to-date as most AP courses are constantly-shifting targets. Attend at least 1 AP Summer Institute every 3 years.

  5. Generate your own test questions from the EK's...develop your own curriculum.

  6. Recruit non-typical students...become familiar with your own strengths & limitations but reach out to groups that wouldn't normally take computer science or programming.

  7. This is the part of your career when confidence can appear as arrogance. How do you challenge yourself when you are "the best" in a small pond?

  8. Camper's Rule : make the world a little better. Challenge yourself to "improve" your community by giving away something of yourself for free. Despite the amount of work you did the first few years, remember that a great deal of material was given to you.

    How about the AP CSP Community...RQB Quizzes?

  9. It is about the questions! Answers are over-rated unless they lead to "deeper" questions.

  10. Be aware of changing personal motivations. Can we still relate to our students' struggles? Why are we in education? When do we get rich?

Top 5 for "Career" AP Teachers

  1. Re-Create the Curriculum Framework for your students.

  2. Re-Design the Official Assessment & Performance Tasks for your students.

  3. Become an AP Table Leader or Question Leader as a mentor for other teachers.

  4. Share your knowledge and be a constant advocate for Academic Excellence!

  5. Be aware of opportunities to participate in College Board events.


What Fun?

Activity : How do you "teach" your students to communicate?

  1. Consider the following statement:

    • "What makes one student's response better than another is not the quality of writing, but the content of what is communicated."

  2. Evaluate the following two sentences. Which would score higher in terms of quality of writing? In content?

  3. Quality vs Content

    1. "The ablty to vidio anyone, anywher and share in the intrnet using only our phones causez poeple too behave diffrnt in privat & publc. Sum poeple act crazeer for atention but othrs, like polise, act to be more cuatious--each can be a benefit if it helps poeple improve thier lives or harmfull if its spying breakin privacy dependin on the sitation."

    2. "Our smart phones have the most amazing photographic and recording capabilities. Combined with access to the internet, we have the ability to share instantly pictures or videos with friends and family. Who whould not want to have the best smart phone?"


  4. Create an algorithm (i.e. sequential, iterative, and selection steps...see LO 4.1.2) for a lesson or unit plan to develop communication skills to your students?


Keeping Kids Active "After AP" : Lists of Ideas


Art Simon, Lowell High School, San Francisco [taken from AP CSP Community]

John Meinzen, Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville, IL