Blog Post

AP CS Principles – Exam Tips from the Chief Reader

This blog is related to the webinar on Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 7:30PM-8:30PM ET. Check out this link to access the event and webinar information.

In May 2017, the CollegeBoard conducted its first AP CS Principles exam across the nation in many high schools. It was an historic event as the largest AP course launch in CollegeBoard history, with more than 45,000 students taking the exam, including many young women and students of color.

The AP CS Principles exam assesses students in several ways: 40% based on two performance tasks (Create, Explore) that are submitted by April 30 via an online portfolio and 60% as an end-of-course exam with 74 questions over a two-hour time period. From the CollegeBoard website, “The Create performance task focuses specifically on the creation of a computer program through the collaborative and iterative process of programming. The Explore performance task requires students to identify a computing innovation, explore its impact, and create a related digital artifact – ex. digital art, video – accompanied by a written response.”

On January 18, the chief reader for the AP Computer Science Principle Exam, Paul Tymann, will join us to share his insights on the course and the exam. We will discuss several main topics:

  • Performance Task Rubrics. The Create Performance Task rubric underwent a lot of changes after the first reading, and the rubric now has eight rows and is binary scoring. (Previously only the Explore task was binary scoring.) The discussion will center around insights gained during the AP reading and what the rubrics look like for the Create and Explore performance tasks.
  • Multiple Choice Section. In this section of the exam, students will be given questions related to samples of code that they must read and select the right answer choice. The CollegeBoard provides all AP CSP students with a reference sheet for use during this section. The chief reader will provide tips on how to get ready for using this sheet to make good choices.
  • Chief Reader Report. There is an excellent resource on the CollegeBoard site – the chief reader report. We will discuss what's in the report and how teachers can benefit from its insights.



Submitted by William LaBaire on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:16

I am having difficulty finding information on the collegboard website and elsewhere on how to get certified to teach AP CS Principles and it is a course that my school wants to offer. Does anyone have any knowledge on how to go about doing this or where that information might be stored?  
Thank You,
Bill LaBaire

Wachusett Regional HS
Holden MA


Profile picture for user Deepa K Muralidhar
Submitted by Deepa Muralidhar on Fri, 02/02/2018 - 17:06

I might be able to point you in the right direction and maybe connect you to the right people. Can you tell me if your school has the same certification requirements as that of the other public schools in the State.
Do you have other CS courses in your school? If so what certification do those teachers have?
Finally what teacher certification do you have at the moment? Math, Science, Business Ed?