CSforALL Stories
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CSforALL Stories

Every AP Teacher Should be a Reader at Least Once

By Crystal Furman, Director AP Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

This year, AP Computer Science had a record number of test takers, more than 135,000. Along with the increase in student interest comes a need for readers to score student exams. This year, 323 AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) readers and 490 AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) readers were needed to score student work. While the AP CSA exam is scored on-site in Kansas City, the AP CSP exam has a mixture of some readers on-site while the majority scoring the exam from home.

The AP Reading is a long-standing tradition where high school and higher education faculty come together for a week of “reading” student papers. For those teachers who attend, they claim it is the best professional development opportunity they have ever had. This all-expenses paid opportunity provides teachers with insight into how students will be scored, while also providing them with a stipend for their time. Don’t take our word for it, here is what readers have to say about the Reading!

John Cigas, Chief Reader for AP CSA, Park University, MO:

“Aside from the scoring, it’s great to hang out with 300 people who are more or less just like you — passionate about teaching computer science. For those who are the only CS teacher at their schools, it’s a great opportunity to share teaching tips and network with others. High school teachers learn how the exam is scored and bring that experience back to their own classrooms. As a college professor, I’ve learned so many teaching techniques from my high school colleagues and also the detailed rubrics we use at the Reading have significantly influenced the rubrics I use on my own assignments.”

Princess Choi, AP CSP Distributed Reader, Perris High, CA:

“Except for the first two days during reader training and calibration of the rubric, the schedule for the AP CSP Distributed Reading is flexible. I saw from the comfort of my home how students did on the Explore task and still had the time to attend my son’s fifth grade promotion and visit the beach to take a break from reading. I logged in and read for about four hours, took a break, then logged back in later. Whether you read on-site or remotely, I really feel that becoming an AP reader is something all teachers should do at least once.”

Ria Galanos, AP CSA Reader and Question Leader, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, VA:

“As a veteran AP CSA teacher, you would think that I have scoring with a rubric down pat. While I am confident following AP rubrics when scoring my own students’ work, I still learn many things when I attend the Reading. From reminders about what students find difficult to discussions on strategies we use with students to introduce or enforce various topics, I learn from fellow high school teachers and college professors alike. The Reading is considered professional development, but I like to think more of like a summer camp. It’s a place where teachers of computer science come together for a common purpose (scoring the AP exams) but often learn new skills in a safe and nurturing environment, all the while making life-long friendships.”

Jill Westerlund &Mark Emry, 2 AP Readers

Jill Westerlund, AP CSP Assistant to the Chief, Hoover High School, AL:

“Friendships develop quickly and continue from year to year. The work, professional growth, and camaraderie begin to melt into one as clusters of friends share lesson plans, stories about home, and plans for dinner. It is a week where laughter comes from exhaustion yet from the deepest part of one’s belly at times. Many AP teachers participate in online communities through AP Central, various providers, and social media platforms and at the Reading we get to put names with faces and continue conversations from the other eleven months of the year. Readers do provide a service, yet I would argue that any reader gets back as much or more than he or she puts in during the seven days. What is received carries forward to the next school year making classroom instruction stronger and more focused.”

Adrienne Decker, AP CSA Reader and Question Leader, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY:

“Coming from teaching courses at a university and trying to manage scoring assignments and exams for my students, I was eager to see how it was done at a much larger scale. One of the hallmarks of the scoring at the Reading is consistency. Applying the rubric consistently for each student is a lesson that you are taught from the first moment of your Reading experience. To me, that was a fundamental principle in my own scoring and knowing that it was fundamental to this experience made me all the more excited to see how it all worked. What I have learned has allowed me to re-examine my own scoring and procedures and refine them to enable better training for my fellow scorers at my home institution and more consistency for the students.”

L to R: Trevor Packer (Sr. Vice President, AP & Instruction), Paul Tymann, and Terry Redican (Vice President, AP Program Delivery)

Paul Tymann, Chief Reader for AP CSP, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY:

“All indications are that the 2019 Reading will be bigger than ever, so there is a need for more readers. The 2019 AP CSP Reading will be a Distributed Reading so that you can opt to work from home if you are unable to travel to Kansas City. Personally, I cannot think of a better professional development opportunity than serving as a reader. As a reader you will learn how to interpret and apply the rubrics. You will have a chance to see submissions from students across the country and will quickly learn what it takes for a student to prepare a high scoring submission. The first round of invitations to serve as a reader, typically go out in January. So if you are interested in becoming a reader apply today, and with any luck, we will be working together on the 2019 Reading.”

For more information and to apply visit the College Board Reader Application website.




Thoughts & conversations on the movement to bring rigorous, inclusive and sustainable computer science to all US students.

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The national hub for the Computer Science for All movement, making high-quality computer science education an integral part of K-12 education in the US.

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