[Edu-sig] Could there be a new test, call it AP something else?

Litvin litvin at skylit.com
Mon Jan 25 03:40:44 CET 2010

At 04:12 AM 1/24/2010, kirby urner wrote:
>Some of us have been hoping to interest local community colleges in 
>serving as venues for these teacher training programs that in some 
>cases equip math teachers already in the field with some of these 
>new skills.  The idea, as I've posted about already, was laid out 
>during a workshop last summer:  lets add a new high school course 
>that satisfies a math requirement, isn't an elective.
>As such, this course wouldn't be on the CS AP track.  Trying to 
>prepare students to pass some AP CS test would just take too much 
>time away from the math we want to study.
>Or could there be a new test, call it AP something else?

Several years ago, Maria (Litvin) asked a high-ranking College Board 
person whether AP Discrete Mathematics was a possibility.  The answer 
was absolutely no.  The main reason was that the College Board was 
looking for ways to reduce gender imbalance and minorities 
participation, and another math course wouldn't help.  Hence AP Human 
Geography...  When the College Board abruptly cancelled the AP CS AB 
exam, part of the rationale given, again, was that cancelling this 
exam wouldn't hurt the gender balance and minorities 
participation.  What they meant was they could afford to cancel this 
small and unprofitable exam.  (They also cancelled AP Italian -- no 
gender imbalance there).

Interestingly, recently the College Board has established a 
commission to explore a new AP CS course.  Its name, I hope 
tentative, is "AP Computer Science - Principles" -- see 
Apparently, the current CS exam doesn't test any principles.

What might this new exam be like?  CS with no programming and no 
math?  We'll see.  My guess is, if it eventually comes about, it will 
be a no-specific-programming-language exam, which will simply replace 
the current AP CS exam in Java.  I believe two AP CS exams will be untenable.

Gary Litvin

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