Why Take AP CSP?

Starting in the 2016-2017 academic year, Westhill will offer AP Computer Science Principles (formerly Honors Mobile Computing). This course shows students how to build apps for Android devices while teaching 7 basic tenets of computer science. AP CSP was developed by a collaboration between The National Science Foundation (NSF) and The College Board.


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A Student Showing How Apps are Made in this Class:

If you would like to see some of the apps made by Westhill students taking this course, click here.
Unlike other AP courses, CSP can be taught using a variety of curricula. At Westhill, we have chosen the mobile (cell-phoned-based) platform for teaching CSP. For more information about our curriculum for this course provided by the NSF, click on the green robot, at the top of this page.
Building apps is not just about video games. Here is an award-winning app built to help visually impaired students find their way around school.

CSP Teaches Seven Big Ideas in Computer Science:

1. Creativity
2. Abstraction
3. Data
4. Algorithms
5. Programming
6. Internet
7. Impact

Not sure if you will like it? Try one or more of these projects.

How the CSP Advanced Placement (AP) Exam is Unlike Other AP Exams

There are two main differences between the AP CSP exam and other AP exams. Like other APs, There is a written exam taken during the first week of May. However, this exam constitutes only 50% of the students grade. In addition, students taking the exam must submit a brief video to the College Board demonstrating proficiency in programming an application of their choice (25% of the exam grade). Third, students must submit a research paper (25% of exam grade).
The other major difference is that whereas most AP Courses have a fixed curriculum, AP Computer Science Principles can be taught using a variety of curricula. At Westhill, we have chosen to teach CSP using the mobile (cell-phone-based) option with teaching materials provided by the National Science Foundation through Trinity College and MIT. Our programming language based on this selection is App Inventor 2. Nationally, since different students learn CSP using different curricula (and therefore learn different programming languages), the AP CSP exam uses a special pseudo-language developed by the College Board as the language for the exam. All students, regardless of chosen curricula must become knowledgeable about this pseudo-language prior to the exam.
Students who have taken Honors Mobile Computing during the 2015-2016 academic year are eligible to take the AP CSP exam in May of 2017 if they have not yet graduated High School.
All AP exams are difficult. However, based on the materials provided to date, it is my expectation that the AP CSP exam will be significantly less challenging than the AP Computer Science A exam.

Course Details Taken from the College Board Website

Computer Science Principles introduces you to the essential ideas of computer science with a focus on how computing can impact the world. Along with the fundamentals of computing, you will learn to analyze data, information, or knowledge represented for computational use; create technology that has a practical impact; and gain a broader understanding of how computer science impacts people and society.

College Board Talks about AP CSP

How to Prepare Your Android Phone or Tablet for this Course

Your phone or tablet will need to install AI Companion to work with the apps you design and build in this course. Full instructions on how to prepare your device and what else needs to be installed can be found here.

Useful Links

Subject Link Description
Honors Mobile Resource Aspirations Scholarships and awards for girls in computer science
Honors Mobile Resource Fusion Table Security How to get your Android app to talk to a Google Fusion Table
Honors Mobile Resource Congressional App Challenge A nationwide competition on app building
Honors Mobile Resource Mobile CSP Curriculum Curriculum for Mobile CSP Supplied by NSF
Honors Mobile Resource Installing Android Emulator How to Install Android Emulator on your PC
Honors Mobile Resource Preparing Your Android Device How to prepare your phone or tablet to accept your new apps
Honors Mobile Resource Final Exam Reference Sheet Study this sheet well before the final exam in Honors Mobile
Honors Mobile Resource Info on Mobile AP Exam College board description of soon-to-be-released AP Exam for Mobile CSP
Honors Mobile Resource Honors Mobile On Line Course from NSF Online materials for this course may be found here
Honors Mobile Resource Technovation Challenge An international competition in app buildling for girls
College Board (AP org) AP Computer Science Exam Practice College Board's Old AP Exams (mostly FRQs)
College Board (AP org) About the AP Comp Sci Exam College Board Description of AP Comp Sci Exam
Class Resource Computational Fairy Tales Difficult Comp Sci concepts explained with fairy tales
Class Resource Help With Java Topics Notes and Practice Questions on Important Java Topics
Class Resource CS Unplugged Ways to learn Comp Sci without a computer