Students get Ready for the New AP Computer Science Principles Exam

 

Peter Choi ’19

In 2016, Brooklyn Technical High School implemented the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (APCSP) course that replaced Digital Electronics (DE). Many students have been strong advocates of the change suggesting that the new course involves a great deal of creativity and implementing the thought process into bits and numbers. However, there remains a major controversy over whether the AP exam would prove to be an accurate measure of the material learned in class.

Ayman Siam ‘19, a student in the APSCP class, states, “I have always enjoyed computer science for its beautiful aspect of creativity. It is greatly rewarding to visualize your thought process appear on the screen. However, as the AP test is approaching, it worries me to think about what the college board would expect from me because everything seems new and the guidelines are not clear.”

Currently, the college board has provided a rubric for specific tasks required in the exam and sample responses, however, they are subject to ambiguity since the test has not been released. Despite multifarious struggles, most of the students dedicate their time outside of school to comprehensively accomplish the tasks and understand the course material that have briefly been touched upon in class.

Samantha Fang ‘19 notes, “Personally, this course has proven to be quite challenging. Being a neophyte at programming and coding, I have had to devote extra time and effort to understand the material. I expect the final exam to be difficult but I am confident that the teachers in the computer science department will work tirelessly to provide students with tutoring and resources.” With the implementation of a new computer science course, students anticipate that the repercussions of taking a novel AP exam would be significantly more difficult to cope with than any other previous AP exam.

Mr. Grosshart, an APCSP teacher and a former DE teacher, states, “I’m not sure the Performance tasks are going to be representative of ability at all.  The collaborative nature of the “exam task” is very odd and the ability to claim somebody else’s work as your own is much easier.  There needs to be a “practical” portion of the exam where students create “on the spot” as they do in most exam environments.” Mr. Grosshart notes that the performance tasks in the AP exam would not be an accurate measure of the material covered in class. He adamantly advocates that his students should receive a grade based on the time devoted to their work and hopes that the AP exam will be a feasible task for students who will take it this May.

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