AP Computer Science A
Computer Science A emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with an emphasis on problem solving and algorithm development and is meant to be the equivalent of a first-semester course in computer science. It also includes the study of data structures and abstraction.
This course covers the following topics:
- Object-Oriented Program Design
The overall goal for designing a piece of software (a computer program) is to correctly solve the given problem. At the same time, this goal should encompass specifying and designing a program that is understandable, can be adapted to changing circumstances, and has the potential to be reused in whole or in part. The design process needs to be based on a thorough understanding of the problem to be solved.
- Program Design
- Class Design
- Program Implementation
The overall goals of program implementation parallel those of program design. Classes that fill common needs should be built so that they can be reused easily in other programs. Object-oriented design is an important part of program implementation.
- Implementation techniques
- Programming constructs
- Java library classes (included in the AP Java subset)
- Program Analysis
The analysis of programs includes examining and testing programs to determine whether they correctly meet their specifications. It also includes the analysis of programs or algorithms in order to understand their time and space requirements when applied to different data sets.
- Understand and modify existing code
- Extend existing code using inheritance
- Understand error handling
- Reason about programs
- Analysis of algorithms
- Numerical representations and limits
- Standard Data Structures
Data structures are used to represent information within a program. Abstraction is an important theme in the development and application of data structures.
- Simple data types (int, boolean, double)
- Standard Algorithms
Standard algorithms serve as examples of good solutions to standard problems. Many are intertwined with standard data structures. These algorithms provide examples for analysis of program efficiency.
- Operations on data structures previously listed
- Computing in Context
An awareness of the ethical and social implications of computing systems is necessary for the study of computer science. These topics need not be addressed in detail but should be considered throughout the course.
- System reliability
- Legal issues and intellectual property
- Social and ethical ramifications of computer use
For more detail on the course topics covered in Computer Science A, see the Course and Exam Description.
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