AP Computer Science A


Online for the 2023-2024 School Year

Teacher: Rebekah Lang

Email: rclang1@gmail.com

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"Leading up to the exam, we had several weeks dedicated entirely to practice tests and review, which definitely helped me earn a 5. At the actual exam, there was no question that tested a concept I wasn't familiar with."

— Emilia D. (AP® CSA student, 2021-2022 school year)

Course Description

For high school students considering careers in STEM, learning computer science is essential. And AP® Computer Science A is equivalent to an introductory, college-level computer science course. Even if you are not seeking a STEM degree, computer science is still an enjoyable subject for students who like math, creative problem-solving, and/or logic. Additionally, successful completion of a rigorous AP® class in high school has been shown to correlate with college success!

This course teaches students Java and prepares them for the AP® CSA exam (read The College Board's brief overview here). The class emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with a concentration on problem solving and algorithm development. This is a hands-on, project-based course. Students will learn to code by reading our textbook; watching videos; working with TAs and each other; and (most importantly) designing, coding, documenting, and testing Java programs. There will also be opportunities for students to exercise their creativity by crafting their own custom Java classes and making tutorial videos to cement their understanding of key concepts.

Students will interact with the teacher, their classmates, and the teacher's assistants (TAs) through Google Classroom, Discord, and email. The instructor will post weekly work introductory videos to assist with assignments and to give helpful test prep tips. Through Google Classroom, students will post any questions they may have about the software, reading material, or homework assignments; answer each other's questions; discuss computer science topics; and upload homework. Students will be able to work independently or collaboratively, asynchronously or live, depending on their availability.

One outstanding feature of this course is its TAs! Each TA has done amazing course work in the past and has also earned a 5 on the AP® CSA exam. They are students who know how to ace this course and the AP® exam and want to help others do so as well! They will run weekly office hours, check in with small groups, and maintain an "unofficial" Discord channel where students can pop in to post questions and code. They also create a sense of community in the class, so students not only have a teacher for support: they also have incredible TAs, or peer leaders, that they can work alongside!

Student Samples

To give prospective students a better idea of what they will accomplish in this course, here is a compilation of projects by former students:


All students must have completed Algebra II with a grade of B or better and have experience with problem solving. A student in the AP® Computer Science A course should be comfortable with functions and the concepts surrounding the uses of functional notation. Previous computer programming experience is not required, but is certainly helpful. Prospective students should be ready to commit 10 hours per week to working alone on the computer. Students without the necessary math prerequisite or those not planning on majoring in CS in college should consider AP® Computer Science Principles  instead. AP® CSA is more challenging than AP® CSP.

Texts Required

  • Textbook: CSAwesome by Dr. Barbara Ericson, Dr. Beryl Hoffman, and team. Available for free online through Runestone Academy.
  • Optional Test Prep: Barron’s AP® Computer Science A by Roselyn Teukolsky. Latest edition (announced in the spring). 
  • Supplemental sites: Google Classroom, CodingBat, Replit, myAP, Kjell's Programmed Lessons, CodeHS, Code.org (possibly), Discord (unofficially), YouTube

Technical Requirements

  • Computer with audio, high-speed internet access, and email.
  • We will use Replit.com for our integrated development environment (IDE). It is free and available online.

Grading Approach

The goal of this course is to help all students learn the classwork well enough to earn an A! Students are therefore graded based on what they know and what they can do rather than on their timeliness or compliance. Tests are meant to assess as well as prepare students for the AP exam. There are also project grades which comprise a large percentage of the overall course grade. Test corrections and late work are accepted, and all possible accommodations will be made to help every student succeed. Additionally, the grades of all students who score a 5 on the AP® exam will be updated to an A+.

Course Dates

Work will be posted each Monday and is due the following Monday. The schedule for weekly TA-led office hours will be published in August. Enrolled students and TAs will be surveyed to determine the best meeting times. This course will run approximately from September 11, 2023—May 16, 2024 (depending on the date of the AP exam), except for the following breaks:

  • Thanksgiving break (November 18 - 26)
  • Winter break (December 16 - January 1)
  • Spring break (March 30 - April 7)

If students need additional time off or flexibility with deadlines, it is their responsibility to email the instructor for adjustments.

Course Fee

  • Regular Tuition: $800
  • Audit: $400

*Note from the instructor: I am committed to helping all students learn computer science, so please contact me if you need help paying for the course.

Instructor Qualifications

This will be Ms. Rebekah's fourth year teaching AP® CSA for PA Homeschoolers. The 2023 PA Homeschoolers students who took the AP® Computer Science A exam had an average exam score of 4.16/5.0, compared with the global average of 3.21. Moreover, 92% of this course's students "passed" with a 3.0/5.0 or higher, with the global average being 67.9% of students receiving a score of 3.0+.

Ms. Rebekah has recently won an Educator Affiliate Award for NCWIT's Aspirations in Computing Program for her work with girls in computer science. Following her master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University, Ms. Rebekah has earned multiple educator certificates from various tech companies and from Penn State University Lehigh Valley for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs). She holds state teaching certifications in computer science as well as a broad variety of other subjects. She has participated in Cooperative Learning Research for Computer Science Principles, served as a CS for All Teachers Ambassador, and is currently a CS Awesome PD Facilitator. 

In addition to teaching AP® Computer Science A, Ms. Rebekah is the instructor for AP® Computer Science Principles and Honors Computer Science Discoveries for PA Homeschoolers. She also teaches AP® Computer Science A, Intro. to Java, Advanced Java, and Web Design in person for a local private school. Ms. Rebekah is a lifelong educator and learner who has taught middle and high school students—public, charter, private, and homeschooled—for the past 14 years. Having been homeschooled herself, Ms. Rebekah understands how diverse, independent, intelligent, and engaged homeschooled students are. She is excited to work with these unique students and aid them in their studies of computer science!



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