About Computer Science Principles

Computer Science Principles (CSP) is a new Advanced Placement course designed to give students foundational computing skills, an understanding of the real-world impact of computing applications, and programming literacy. It is a course seeking to broaden participation in computing and computer science by students who might not otherwise consider studying the subject. A team of computer science educators organized by the College Board and the National Science Foundation is leading the development of CSP, providing a curriculum framework upon which educators can build their own specific course. CSP will launch as an AP course in Fall 2016; the first AP exams will take place in May 2017.

Whether it's 3-D animation, engineering, music, app development, medicine, visual design, robotics, or political analysis, computer science is the engine that powers the technology, productivity, and innovation that drive the world. Computer science experience has become an imperative component for today's students and the workforce of tomorrow.

The College Board designed AP Computer Science Principles with the goal of creating leaders in computer science fields and attracting and engaging those who are traditionally underrepresented with essential computing tools and multidisciplinary opportunities.

Rigorously Developed

In development since 2008, AP Computer Science Principles was created with significant support from the National Science Foundation. The College Board worked with more than 50 leading high school and higher education computer science educators who piloted the course at their institutions. This rigorous process of development and testing has yielded a course that not only reflects the latest scholarship in the field, but provides students with a relevant and engaging learning experience.

Support and Construct

Each of the descriptions below links to resources related to one of the curriculum’s fundamental seven Big Ideas. To learn more about the curriculum you can browse the CS 10K projects that are working with the CSP curriculum, or join the CS 10K CSP Open Group—which is a new group for all CSP teachers (regardless of your project or geographic location) to come together and talk all things CSP!

The new course is designed around the following Big Ideas:

  • Abstraction: Multiple levels of abstraction are used in computation. Models and simulations use abstraction to raise and answer questions.
  • Algorithms: An algorithm is a precise sequence of instructions for a process that can be executed by a computer. They are expressed using languages, and can solve many, but not all, problems.
  • Creativity: Computing fosters the creation of artifacts and creative expression. Programming is a creative process.
  • Data: Data and information facilitate the creation of knowledge. People use computer programs to process information to gain insight and knowledge. Computing facilitates exploration and the discovery of connections in information. Computational manipulation of information requires consideration of representation, storage, security and transmission.
  • Impact: Computing affects communication, interaction and cognition. It enables innovation in nearly every field and has both beneficial and harmful effects. Computing is situated within economic, social and cultural contexts.
  • Internet: The internet pervades modern computing. It is a network of autonomous systems. Characteristics of the Internet and the systems built on it influence their use. Cybersecurity is an important concern for the Internet and those systems.
  • Programming: Programming is a creative process that enables problem solving, human expression and creation of knowledge. It uses mathematical and logical concepts and is facilitated by appropriate abstractions. Programs are developed and used by people, and they are written to execute algorithms.