Computer Science Sessions at AP Annual Conference

Several computer science sessions were held at the Advanced Placement Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. during July 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and thought all the CS sessions and the plenary sessions were well done. The official website is To see the official listing, click on the large search icon at the right and choose Computer Science as the subject.

Results from the 2010 AP Computer Science Reading was presented by Laurie White (head of CSAP) and Tracy Ishman (on development committee). They are leaders in the AP CS program and it was good to hear directly from them. The AP process takes time, so no changes to the case study for at least four years. They are currently starting to write the 2012 exam. They presented preliminary data on the 2010 exams. There were over 19 thousand A exams, about 2500 more than previously. There were fewer total CS exams, though. The multiple choice sections averaged 48.8% and free response sections averaged 59.4% correct, with a total average 53.9%. They talked about the grading process. The score distributions 5 through 1 were 26.1%, 24.1%, 14.0%, 8%, and 27.1%. The most challenging free response question was 4, but that can vary. The first one is often the gentlest. It is good to have students familiar with the Quick Reference materials, which can be downloaded. Starting next year, all AP multiple choice sections will be graded one point per correct answer, with no penalty for incorrect answers.

Hands-On Learning in Computer Science was presented by Tracy Ishman ( She presented several ideas to facilitate concrete understanding of abstract concepts.

Games Programming in Pre-AP Computer Science, presented by Tim McMichael, was about his Game Design and Development (GDD) course.

Building Computer Science Communities, led by John Harrison (, gave us a chance to brainsttorm on what we would want a CS community to do for us, obstacles, and conferences and workshop resources.

The ending session was Games as a Broad Introduction to Computer Science, by Jam Jenkins who co-developed a web IDE, was very interesting. I was so intent on exploring his work that I forgot to save notes. Oops.

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