The College Board Advanced Placement™ Computer Science-Principles Summer Institute: Mr. John Meinzen

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Morning Session : Filling in the Gaps

"Top 10" for Teachers

Top 10 for New AP Teachers [first 3 years]

  1. Read the Official Curriculum Framework [YES...all 200+ pages!]

  2. Read (& handout to students) the Official Assessment Overview & Performance Task Directions for students [YES...all 20+ 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 an Endorsed Provider (i.e. "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 newer...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.


Insights into the Assessments

  1. Performance Tasks
    1. Uploading is less lenient...students should be careful of:
      1. file size & file name.
      2. # of words
      3. time constraints
      4. Per CB : "Please send any issues with the digital portfolio to Include screen shots, browser that you are using, version and operating system to help us diagnose the issue."
    2. Monitor for plagiarism:
      1. Have evidence for plagiarism!
      2. One of my better students submitted a slight variation on code that I gave early in the year but the student had forgotten that they had received the code from me...they thought that they written it on their own 8 months later...under time pressure to complete the task.
      3. Another very good student changed variables names but copied the algorithm from a lecture...unfortunately I had no evidence of my ex-temporaneous lecture on random shuffling.
    3. Cannot view "Draft" submissions but must review "Final" submissions for:
      1. Corrupt files ... need to check "round-trip" of files
      2. Wrong submission..Code for IWR and vice-versa.
      3. AP Student ID's can be entered after 30April [per Crystal on Community Forum!]
    4. Create Task (30%)
  2. Written Exam (70%)
    1. ANY Essential Knowledge statement is "fair game" but target is "Learning Objectives"
    2. Do NOT post the Practice Exams...don't even let them out of the classroom!
    3. Two free questions -- look these up in the EK' are these different than "official" MC questions?
      • LO 2.1.2 Explain how binary sequences are used to represent digital data. [P5]
      • Select all of the following options that accurately explain how binary sequences are used to represent digital data:
        • A) Eight binary digits (8 bits) can be used to represent up to 256 different values.
        • B) Computers with many gigabytes of storage space can represent any floating point number.
        • C) The RGB color encoding is the only binary sequence to represent colors.
        • D) Sequences of bits can represent instructions as well as data.
        • E) The binary sequence 0110 could represent a decimal number but could also represent a character.
      • Answer
        Answers are A, D, and E
      • LO 6.2.1 Explain characteristics of the Internet and the systems built on it. [P5]
      • Which of the following is/are hierarchical ?
      • A) BNS     B) IP addresses     C) colors   D) bandwidth     E) latency
      • Answer
        Answer is B




  • Take your time...this will be at least a 3-year project.


Participant Activity

Remember: Equity and Access

It is a teacher habit!

  • Share concerns, questions, ideas with a partner/group regarding:

    • Syllabus Development : Unit Plans, Lesson Plans

    • Exam Prep

    • Textbook & Resources

    • Pedogogy


Afternoon Session : Feedback, Evaluations, & Closure

Participant Activity : Surveys and "official" Resources

Online Survey requested by the College Board & APSI Hosts


AP Central AP CSP webpage lists numerous classroom Instructional Resources

  • Additional Curriculum Modules
  • Teaching Units / Projects
  • Ideas, Strategies, Nifty Assignments, etc. from Colleagues
  • Advanced and Special Focus Topics
  • Textbook, website, and software reviews

Explore Scaffolded Resources (some are for "advanced students" who already know more programming):

CS Organizations for High Schools

Online Student Programming Practice & Learning Tools

Online Coding Project & Lectures (for advanced students)

Larger Coding Projects (some with API's)


Computer Science Teachers Association



practice coding problems in Java or Python (


Stanford Nifty CS Projects Made-with-Code

National Center for Women in Information Technology

competitions & awards for girls (

PracticeIt -

higher order practice coding problems in Java.


Requires subscription.

Princeton's Interdisciplinary CS Lectures Google Computer Science for High School (


organization dedicated to offering computer science for all students. Not specifically for AP CSP


Editor & IDE to help visualize Object Instances


Project Euler

progressively more difficult math problems that can be solved using CS.

Google Educational Programs for Students & Teachers


online game-style quizzes

quality of quizzes varies



Georgia Techs' EarSketch

downloadable Python-based project to learn computer science and music technology side by side


AP CSP MegaGuide

one-stop-shop for AP CSP resources

originally by CS4All




Participant Activity

  • Questions?

  • Feedback on Workshop

  • Official Evaluations of Workshop & Presenter