Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CS Principles–An Update


The About the Program page for the CS Principles, A New First Course in Computing website has some updated documents since the last time I visited it. Of particular interest to me is a peek at what the questions look like. If you are not familiar with this new course here is a brief description from the web page:

Computer Science: Principles is a new course under development that seeks to broaden participation in computing and computer science. Development is being led by a team of computer science educators organized by the College Board and the National Science Foundation. Pilots are ongoing at the high school and college levels. Advanced Placement credit is not currently offered for this course-- present efforts in CS Principles are part of the requisite process to make it an AP course. The test will debut in May 2016 or later.

One of the things that makes this course different from the existing Advanced Placement Computer Science courses ( commonly called APCS A but that may change) is that it is programing language neutral. That is to say that any number of programming languages can be use. I know of pilots using  Scratch, C#, Alice and Snap! and I’m sure there are or will be more. The question then becomes what do questions look like in that sort of world?

The About the Project page now includes a look at Free Response Questions (FRQs) and Portfolios that were piloted by various high schools and university CS programs that offered pilot CS Principles courses last school year.

There are many more resources at the web site (clearly I should have been paying closer attention) including lesson plans for some of the big ideas being taught, a collection of resources for teachers, and information about some of the pilot schools for the 2012/2013 school year

Even though this course will not be available as an official AP Course until at least the 2015/2016 school year taking a look at it now will help schools with long range planning.

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