Computer Science Principles (CSP) is a PLTW course to implement the College Board’s new AP CS Principles framework. Students work in teams to develop computational thinking and solve problems. The course does not aim to teach mastery of a single programming language but aims instead to develop computational thinking, to generate excitement about the field of computing, and to introduce computational tools that foster creativity. The course also aims to build students’ awareness of the tremendous demand for computer specialists and for professionals in all fields who have computational skills. Each unit focuses on one or more computationally intensive career paths. The course also aims to engage students to consider issues raised by the present and future societal impact of computing.
Students practice problem solving with structured activities and progress to open-ended projects and problems that require them to develop planning, documentation, communication, and other professional skills. Problems aim for ground-level entry with no ceiling so that all students can successfully engage the problems. Students with greater motivation, ability, or background knowledge will be challenged to work further.
The following is a summary of the units of study that are included in the. The course is designed to cover all learning objectives in the College Board’s AP CS Principles framework and to prepare students to do well on the AP assessment. In specific CSP projects and problems, students create artifacts and associated writing as practice for the AP CS Principles Performance Tasks that can be submitted to the College Board. Alignment with AP CS Principles Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge statements, CSTA Level 3B Objectives, and alignment with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts is indicated within course materials at the activity-, project-, and problem level. Activities, projects, and problems are be provided to the teacher in the form of student-ready handouts, teacher notes, and supplementary materials including code, instructional videos, and online practice questions as appropriate.
The course is planned for a rigorous pace, and it is likely to contain more material than a skilled teacher new to the course will be able to complete in the first iteration. Building enthusiasm for rigorous computer science among students is a primary goal of the course. Teachers are encouraged to emphasize content that will be fresh and exciting to students, and the course is structured to facilitate local adaptation to a particular group of students’ prior knowledge and experience.