This lesson contains a series of activities you can use to familiarize yourself with the Explore Performance Task, how it is scored, and some example tasks provided by the College Board.
Students review the Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines for the Explore PT. Subsequently they review three example scored Explore PT submissions with commentary to better understand how the Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines are used together. In a wrap up conversation they identify a piece of advice, a "gotcha," and a remaining question they have about the Explore PT.
Note: Most the exemplar task, scores, and commentary on scoring shared in this lesson come directly from the College Board. Code.org's commentary is noted where applicable.
Students will be able to:
- Describe the major components of the Explore Performance Task(PT)
- Describe how the Explore Performance Task Scoring Guidelines will be used to assess the task
- Identify remaining questions about the Explore Performance Task
The Explore PT is in many ways straightforward: you perform research on a computing innovation and present your findings. As you dig into the details of the task, however, you quickly come across some of the nuances of individual components of the task and how they're scored. This lesson is designed to introduce what these nuances are, and begin to provide some answers to the questions that will inevitably arise. Keep in mind that the next lesson provides a more structured set of responses to those questions, and so today students are just diving in to what the task looks like.
College Board Handouts
College Board Explore PT Samples
Annotated Explore PT Samples
- Annotated Explore Sample Task C, PDF
- Annotated Explore Sample Task C, Word
- Annotated Explore Sample Task D, PDF
- Annotated Explore Sample Task D, Word
- Annotated Explore Sample Task E, PDF
- Annotated Explore Sample Task E, Word
(optional) Digital Portfolio Setup
Today the students are going to start looking more deeply at the Explore PT, focusing specifically on understanding
- The different components of the Explore PT
- How the task will be scored
Reassure the students that they already have much of the knowledge and skills they need to do well on this task. The hardest part might be just understanding what is required of them.
Review Explore PT Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines
Starting with the "AP CSP Performance Task Directions" handout in the Resources section, ask the students to read the following:
- the "Submission Requirements" section on pages 5-6
- the scoring guidelines on pages 22-23
For the scoring guidelines the class can focus only on the first 3 columns for now: "Reporting Category," "Task," "Scoring Criteria." We'll dive into the decision rules later. Just get familiar with these documents.
After reading, ask the students to discuss with a partner the following:
- What will you actually be turning in to the College Board?
- What are you hoping will become more clear after looking at example projects?
Here are some of the key points that the students should remember:
They will need to submit:
- A computational artifact (though you may be wondering what this means)
- Responses to a few written responses
- Citations to sources for these two items.
Also note that the Scoring Guidelines provide specific guidance on how each part of the task will be graded
Activity: Explore PT Sample Response C
Ask the students to read the Explore PT Sample Response C. This is a raw student submission - exactly what the student uploaded for their computational artifact and written responses. Ask the students to spend a few minutes with a partner reviewing this exemplar. Be ready to share out the following answers.
- Did anything surprise you in looking at this exemplar?
- Do you think this scored well based on what you know about the scoring guidelines?
This sample actually received a perfect 8/8 score. Ask the students to look at the sample response C side-by-side with the scoring guidelines and the actual AP scorer's notes (given in the annotated Sample C document) to see why. Try an answer these questions with a partner:
- How does scorer differentiate between a harmful effect and a data security concern?
- What characteristics of this response made it score well?
- What questions do you still have about the Scoring Guidelines or Task Description?
Ask the students to share their responses after discussing with a partner. Where possible call out ways that the discussion is answering questions raised earlier in the class about the Submission Requirements or Scoring Guidelines.
Difference between "harmful effect" and "data security concern."
- As called out in the scorer's notes, a "harmful effect" is one that comes from using the innovation as intended, which in this case is the result of overuse (or over-reliance) on GPS. A good way to think of "harmful effect" is the unintended consequences of using the innovation as designed, which this response does.
- A data security concern often comes from misuse of the innovation, or using it in a way that was not originally intended. The effects or risks from spying, hacking, or even accidental exposure of sensitive information or invasions of privacy are common things listed here.
Activity: Explore Performance Task Annotated Samples D (5/8) and E (2/8)
Now, ask the students to look at some examples that did not earn a perfect score. Provide pairs of students copies of the Annotated Explore PT Samples D and E. The students can pick which one they want to look at first. As they review this task with a partner, please ask them to answer these questions:
- Where and how specifically did this fall short?
- Was there one major problem that caused ripple effects through the scoring?
- Or were there several smaller issues?
- Try to point out specific aspects of the Scoring Guidelines or Submission Requirements.
Ask partners to spend a couple minutes specifically discussing the prompt above. Then have the whole class share the results of their discussion. Where possible call out ways that the discussion is answering questions raised earlier in the class about the Submission Requirements or Scoring Guidelines.
The students should be gaining comfort with the structure of the task and scoring guidelines at this point. Since these task missed some points they provide a good opportunity to dive into those components of the Scoring Guidelines.
Sample D falls short by:
- Failed to make a few small connections.
- The harmful effect didn't come from intended use, and wasn't specific enough on who the harm would come to.
Sample E falls short by:
- Fails to identify a computing innovation - this fact alone was the source of many lost points, even though the sample itself comes close in many ways.
- Failed to list citations inline.
Ask the students to take a few minutes to write (1) one piece of advice that they have from the Explore PT, (2) their bigest "gotcha," and (3) a question they still have. Share these with a partner, or the entire group.
The next lesson is designed to address these three specific prompts. The students will have time to dive deep on what counts as a computing innovation, and how to choose one wisely. They will be given a checklist of "gotchas" next to each part of the task to use.
(Optional) AP Digital Portfolio Setup
At some point students need to setup their AP Digital Portfolio to officially submit your performance tasks and to sign up for the exam. Doing that setup and navigating around the digital portfolio will take a little bit of time.
Note: Pick the right time to do this tech setup. Use the "AP Digital Portfolio Student Guide" linked in the resources section.
Making PDFs for Written Responses
The students are required to make a PDF of their written responses to prompts. It's recommended that they use the College Board templates for filling out their responses. At some point they will have their written responses in a word processing document such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Pages.
How to make a PDF, a guide copied from "AP Digital Portfolio Student Guide"
How to make a PDF
- Recent versions of applications like: Word, PowerPoint, Pages, and Google Docs, have built-in features that allow you to save or export your file as a PDF. Instructions are provided below.
- If your software does not have a PDF option, visit the Adobe site and learn more about whether Acrobat from Adobe Systems can convert your document to PDF.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your file is properly formatted and readable. After you have created your PDF, be sure to check it by opening and reviewing your PDF in Adobe Reader, a free application that can be downloaded from the Adobe site.
Making PDF using Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint)
- In Word, Powerpoint, and other Microsoft Office programs you will "Save as PDF." Visit the Microsoft Office support page for more information about "Save as PDF." To save a Word or Powerpoint document as PDF:
- Open your Word or Powerpoint document.
- From the top menu select "File," and select "Save As"
- In the dialog window, go to the drop-down menu for "Save as type," and select "PDF."
- Click "Save."
Making PDF using Google Docs
- In Google Docs, you will "Download as" PDF. Visit the Google support page for more information on "Download a file." To download a Google Doc as a PDF:
- Open your Google doc
- From the top menu select "File," and select "Download as," and select "PDF Document (.pdf)"
Making PDF using Pages
- In Pages, you will "Export to" PDF. Visit the Apple support page for more information or follow the steps below:
- Open your Pages document.
- From the top menu select "File," and select "Export to," and select "PDF."
- In the dialogue window select "Best," image quality.
- Choose a destination for the export and click "Export."
Making PDF of Program Code (for the Create PT)
Students will need to make a PDF of their code and they also draw an oval and rectangle onto the PDF to highlight certain parts. There are a few options for this.
Using CodePrint to Annotate and Make PDF
- Go on the CodePrint site
- Copy and paste the code into the text box
- Draw 1 rectangle and 1 oval using the cursor on the "prettified" code
- Click on the "Hide/Show Controls" button
- Print to PDF from the browser
Using a Word Processor (Google docs or MS Word) to Make PDF and Annotate: This option is fine but the students won't get line numbers next to their code which can be inconvenient.
- Copy and paste the code onto a word processor
- Save as PDF from the word processor
- To annotate the PDF if using a Mac: use the preinstalled program "Preview" to do annotations
- To annotate the PDF if using a Windows machine: install Adobe Acrobat (see the AP guide for students), open the PDF in Acrobat and add annotations
Making a video screen capture
If you are using Mac or Windows machine, code.org recommends the students to use the screen capture service provided by "Screencast-o-Matic".
- Computer Science Principles: 1.1.1 (A, B)
- Computer Science Principles: 1.2.1 (A, B, C, D, E)
- Computer Science Principles: 7.5.1 (C)