Coding: Opportunities in High School

If you’re a high school student who hasn’t considered taking a computer class, the College Board wants you to reconsider—and they’ve got an Advanced Placement course designed just for you.

AP Computer Science Principles is especially for high school students who may not have looked at a technology career before. The course offers real-world problem solving, and you don’t need any previous coding experience. Students learn the broad principles of computing, as well as how to write programs, use the internet and devices, and solve problems using technology.

By taking AP courses and earning at least a “3” on AP exams, students can earn college credit, advanced placement or both–saving students time and money. In 2018, 63 percent of the AP Computer Science Principles examinees in Kentucky earned a 3, 4 or 5 on the exam.

It’s all the fruit of a three-year project that began in 2016 to expand access to the course across the state.

In the 2017-2018 school year, AP Computer Science Principles was offered in 88 Kentucky high schools, doubling the number from the previous year. For 2018-2019, 40 more teachers from 39 schools were trained to teach the course.

From 2017 to 2018, female participation in Kentucky grew by 101 percent, low-income student participation increased by 81 percent, and rural student participation increased by 206 percent.

Expansion of the course in Kentucky was partly funded by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The project is a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education and the College Board,, and Advance Kentucky.

To earn college credit for AP Computer Science Principles, students must complete two projects during the course, and an end-of year exam with multiple-choice questions.

AP Computer Science Principles is one of two AP computer science courses. The other course is AP Computer Science A, which focuses on computing skills related to programming in Java and has one end-of-year exam with multiple-choice and free-response questions.

According to, a total of 1,337 exams were taken in AP Computer Science by high school students in Kentucky in 2018—369 students took AP Computer Science A and 968 students took AP Computer Science Principles.

To find out what your school offers, talk to your guidance counselor.


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