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Understanding the 2023 AP CSP Updates


Understanding the 2023 AP CSP Updates


AP Computer Science Principles teachers are no doubt aware of Fall 2023 updates to the Course and Exam Description (CED). What does this mean for you and CompuScholar's endorsed AP CSP curriculum? Let's find out!

Why Change Now?

The sudden advent of Chat GPT and similar Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools means that unsupervised students can simply go to an AI website, type in a problem statement or question, and have the AI tool produce a reasonable answer. These AI tools will continue to improve and proliferate, so having students do all of their "Create Performance Task" work outside of a proctored exam environment was not sustainable. To ensure colleges continue to award credit for high exam scores, changes were needed to better verify student understanding.

What is Staying the Same?

Fortunately, there are no skills changes. Students must continue to learn the same topics - Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge statements remain the same. This means the 2-hour, 70 multiple-choice portion of the exam is unchanged, and curriculum preparing students for that part of the test is also unchanged.

What is Changing?

Understanding the 2023 AP CSP UpdatesThe "Create Performance Task" (CPT) portion of the exam is changing, as is the exam-day experience. Previously, students would submit three components of the CPT in advance:

  • Program Code
  • Demonstration Video
  • Written Responses to Standard Questions

With the 2023 updates, the "standard" written responses are gone! On exam day, an extra hour will be devoted to having students write free responses to 4 randomized questions about their Program Code.

Students will not have access to their full Program Code, but they will create a Personalized Project Reference in advance. For this new component, students will copy important snippets of their code (such as the function they've written for list processing). The code they extract will be provided to them in printed form on exam day, and students can refer to those code snippets while answering the 4 free response questions.

So, prior to the exam, students must new submit the following items (check the College Board websitefor due dates):

  • Program Code
  • Demonstration Video
  • Personalized Project Reference

Requirements for the program itself are not changing. Students are now allowed to use AI tools to assist in program creation. However, they must fully understand that code and be prepared to answer the free-response questions on exam day in a proctored environment.

Changes to CompuScholar Courses

Since there are no skill requirements changes, the impact to CompuScholar's Computer Science Foundations course is minimal! Chapters 21 and 22 gave students guidance on preparing for the AP CSP exam and completing the CPT, including detailed hints for the old Written Response questions (3a - 3d). Those chapters have been updated accordingly.

  • Chapter 21, Lesson 1 - minor tweaks to the description of Exam Format & Scoring
  • Chapter 22, Lesson 2 - new focus on Program Code
  • Chapter 22, Lesson 3 - new focus on Video and Project Reference
  • Chapter 22, Lesson 4 - new focus on Written Responses

We've also updated our AP CSP Professional Learning units with similar changes.

For More Information

Check out our October 2023 Professional Development Webinar - "Understanding the 2023 AP CSP Updates" - for further details and a video walk-through. As always, please Contact Us if you have questions!