Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Towards a New AP Course in Computer Science

July 19th, 2010 / in conference reports, pipeline / by Ran Libeskind-Hadas

Today at the biennial Snowbird Conference, Jan Cuny (NSF), Owen Astrachan (Duke University), and Larry Snyder (U. Washington) gave an inspiring talk about a new advanced placement  course in computer science that is being developed by a group sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the College Board.
The new “AP Computer Science: Principles” course is designed to expose students to computer science as a creative and intellectually rich endeavor that has an impact on society.

The Principles course comes in response to the observation that the current offerings at most high schools are not appealing to many students.  These courses are either on computing literacy (e.g. using word processors and spreadsheets) or are traditional computer programming courses.  The former is largely vocational and the latter is perceived by many students as being dry, irrelevant, and requiring previous background.

In 2008, approximately 15,000 high school students took the AP Computer Science whereas approximately 7 times as many students took AP Statistics, 10 times as many took AP Biology, and 15 times as many took AP Calculus AB.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of students arriving at college and indicating an intention to major in a computing discipline is only a few percent and only 0.3% for women.

One aspect of this initiative is to add 10,000 new computer science high school teachers in 10,000 schools in the United States by 2015.

To learn more about the rationale, design, and implementation of the new course
go to  To participate in the online community for this initiative go to

Towards a New AP Course in Computer Science
  • shrodger

    Owen Astrachan is at Duke University.