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Important Announcement about AP Computer Science AB

Important Change for the 2009-10 Academic Year
The College Board is committed to supporting college-level computer science studies in secondary schools and, in the next five years, will increase our investment in support of AP Computer Science programs in the following ways:

  • Providing AP teachers with downloadable embedded assessments for measuring students' knowledge, skills and abilities throughout the AP course, giving teachers much more information about students' strengths and weaknesses before exam day.
  • Providing AP teachers with downloadable curriculum modules so that they have college-level materials for delivering key concepts.
  • Providing AP teachers with access to student AP Exam score reports online.
  • Convening college professors to raise awareness of the quality of AP Computer Science teachers and students and to enhance existing credit/placement policies.
In addition, to ensure that AP Computer Science stays current and represents the best possible entry-level college course sequence in computer science, beginning this month we are empaneling a standing "AP Computer Science Course and Exam Review Commission" responsible for developing and enacting comprehensive research among colleges, universities and secondary schools to identify how best to keep the AP course and exam current and reflective of the ever-changing discipline of computer science.

While all AP disciplines undergo periodic updates and changes, the AP Computer Science program, given the nature of the discipline, seems to experience an even greater need for updating than other AP subject areas. AP Computer Science AB has shown a steady decline in student participation during the past five years. The average annual student participation decrease is 8 percent. The reduction of student participation in the AB course raises the need to foster increased support for the teachers responsible for assimilating changes in the discipline on a periodic basis. To provide the program with the quality of support described above, it is essential that the College Board focus efforts on the maintenance and ongoing development of one rather than two separate AP Computer Science courses. Accordingly:
  • The AP Computer Science AB Exam will be discontinued following the May 2009 exam administration. May 2009 will be the last offering of the AP Computer Science AB Exam.
  • Appropriate College Board committees will focus their efforts on improving and supporting the AP Computer Science A program, which will be enhanced during the next five years to better represent a full-year, entry-level college computer science sequence.
  • Teacher professional development opportunities will be provided on the Web and in face-to-face events to support AP teachers as they enhance their AP Computer Science A courses in the coming years.
Our intensified commitment to AP Computer Science A will ensure that the course provides the best possible college-level academic experience and is supported by an increased array of curricular resources and professional development opportunities that will benefit AP Computer Science teachers.

While we are disappointed to be announcing that next year is the final year of the AP Computer Science AB program, we are eager to focus our resources on efforts that will provide a much greater degree of support for AP Computer Science teachers than ever before.

Note: AP French LiteratureAP Latin Literature, and AP Italian will also be discontinued after the May 2009 exam administration.

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