• AP CS Principles

    Syllabus

    Mr. Zendt - Lab Room C133
    Email: jzendt@alvinisd.net
    Tutoring: Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:00 & Thursday 3:00pm – 4:00 or by appointment.

     

    Welcome!
    To be successful in my (and any) class, students must be able to:
    • Complete all work (even if not collected for a grade).
    • Study outside of class.
    • Ask for help when stuck.
    • Bring an open mind and try new things.
    • Work independently and in groups.
    • Participate in all Classroom Activities

     

    Course Materials
    Each student is required to bring:
    Flash Drive with one gigabyte (1 GB) free.  USB 2.0 or 3.0 (3.0 is preferred).
    Pencils or Mechanical Pencils for Notes and Written Assignments.
    100 Page Composition Notebook: We will be creating an interactive notebook during the year.
    3 Different Color Writing Utensils: pens, markers, highlighters, or pencils, etc.

     

    The Interactive Notebook
    We will be taking notes with a variety of things such as foldables, manuiplatives, and other structured items.  This will be part of the course homework grade to keep up with it.  I am planning for it to have about 120-180 single pages worth of content, so a 80 page or 100 page composition book should work well for this.

     

    Curriculum:
    AP Syllabus
    Topics in Depth

     

    Useful Links:
    AP Classroom (Signup and Official Submissions): https://myap.collegeboard.org
    Snap: https://snap.berkeley.edu/

     

    Assignments
    All programming assignments will be turned in via assignment upload on Google Classroom.

    Some homework assignments (programming labs) will REQUIRE the use of a computer at home.  All software used in this class is compatible with both PC and MAC, is completely free to use, and is clean of any malware.  Only download from the links that I have provided.  Don't download from sites that are not the primary source, avoid rehosted files.

    Remember students have access to the Internet and a printer through the Manvel High School library, and I have enough tutorial hours that it would be possible to complete all homework labs at school during tutorials.

     

    Grades
    It will be very difficult to get an A in this class without being able to pass (get a 3) the AP exam.  Grading is based on the District AP Level 70% Major / 30% Daily grading weights.  Late work can be turned in for a maximum of an 80, and will be accepted until one week before the end of the nine weeks.  Quizzes and tests can be retested for up to a maximum of 80, which also must be completed one week before the end of the nine weeks.  Retests are often more challenging than the original test and can be entirely FRQ-based.

    Homework/Classwork (Minor): Worksheets and Minor Programming Assignments (labs without rubrics and CodingBat assignments) fall into this category.

    Quizzes (Minor, 2x Weight): We will have one or two quizzes per unit.  These could be standard content quizzes, or a single graded AP Free Response Question.  Quizzes are meant to provide graded feedback to students about where they stand in a unit and not to punish their grade.

    Labs (Minor or Major): There are usually one to two major Labs per unit.  These are Labs that might span from 2-4 days of class and have a scoring rubric.

    Tests (Major, 2x Weight): This category includes major tests structured like AP exams, and may contain multiple choice questions and free response questions. This category also includes larger programming projects that span multiple weeks.

    A note about assistance from peers: you may ask others for help on an assignment, but copying of another student's program (or small sections of) is NOT allowed and will be considered cheating/plagiarism. Changing variable names does not count as original work. Ask HOW they solved the problem, not WHAT is the solution. If you are helped by another student, please include them as a "with help from" in your program header!

     

    AP Exam
    The Exam will be given on Thursday, May 13, 2020 in the morning. (Second week of AP Testing)
    You must arrive 30 minutes early. The exam lasts 2 hours.

    The test is entirely pencil and paper. In other words, no computers are available. AP tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 with 3 considered passing. The test is difficult but is doable if you have learned how to program.

    Additionally during the year there are two performance tasks that students MUST DO ON THEIR OWN WITH NO INPUT FROM THE TEACHER.  The first, the Create Task, will involve designing a small program with 3 algorithms and then completing a short written analysis of it.  The second, the Explore Task, will require the creation of a digitial item (picture, video, etc) that explores a computing innovate, and then completing a short written analysis of it.  The writing portion is significantly more important part of the grade for both tasks.  We will practice both tasks, but I cannot assist in any way during the work on the real performance task except for helping with technical support issues, checking that it is submitted correctly, and ensuring it does not violate any school rules or laws.

     

    Studying for the AP Exam
    Although we will prepare in class, I have found that students who studied outside of class have significantly out-preformed those who did not. AP Computer Science Principles is a class that rewards deep conceptual understanding rather than pure programming skill.  There's a lot to read and understand, making the test almost feel a bit like a history or science test than a programming test. That means I highly recommend that students who want to get a 4 or 5 to purchase a study guide and practice outside of class. Students will learn everything they need in class, but due to time constraints we don't get the amount of practice I would like everybody to have.


    There are many good practice books now on the market (Barron's, Princeton Review, 5 Steps to a 5). Please pick one up as soon as possible and start reviewing on your own.  I will not require you to study from the AP Review Book, but the students who score 5s have studied some outside of class. I will host after school and Saturday AP cram sessions in April to help the dedicated get ready!

     

    Google Classroom
    I will use Google Classroom as the primary means of assignment submission and grading. Please use your school account and join my class. I will check Google Classroom during most evenings, so if you ever have any trouble with an assignment, post a question and myself or another student will try to answer. I will stop checking around 8pm-9pm, so don't post at midnight expecting an answer!