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AP Computer Science Principles

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AP Computer Science Principles

Ally Fung, Staff Writer

As the world around us changes and becomes more technology-based, so does our curriculum at AHS. At the beginning of the school year, a new course was added for those interested in computer science, AP Computer Science Principles. The class is classified as a Career and Technical Education course and may spark the interest of students curious in the basics of computer science.

AP Computer Science Principles (APCSP) is a different class than AP Computer Science (APCS), which has been offered at AHS for many years. APCSP  is designed to be the equivalent of a first-semester introductory computer science course in university, whereas APCS is the equivalent of a full-year university introductory computer science course. APCSP is organized around the investigation of seven big ideas or concepts; creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and global impact, utilizing Scratch and Python to cover all required programming concepts. APCSP and APCS teacher Brent Reiske sees APCSP as “a great first AP course and a great first course in computer science.”

There are no prerequisites to taking APCSP but it cannot be taken during or after the completion of APCS. It is accepted as a prerequisite course for Engineering Design and Principles with a qualifying grade of “C” or above. While the course is pending Board and UC Approval, it does offer a final AP Exam at the end of the school year. Like all other AP classes, students have the ability to earn college credits with an AP Exam score of three or higher.

Sophomore Zachary Green chose APCSP as his elective and “likes the labs because they’re interactive and interesting.” Unlike his other classes, he thinks that “the material in the class is generally free to explore” because as “not everything is a lecture —  there’s a lot of freedom.” Mr. Reiske also agrees that the course is “super fun for most students as [they] do group work daily, and the material is current and interesting.”

The APCSP course gives students the opportunity to gain experience in the computer science field as opposed to diving straight in. It engages students in the creative aspects of the field by allowing them to develop computational artifacts based on their interests. For any students interested in taking the APCSP class, it’s a great way to become familiar with the world of coding, as well as understand the basics of computing concepts.

Graphic courtesy of VINNY.OLEO-VEGETAL.INFO

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AP Computer Science Principles