Hopkinton High School Administration Chooses to Drop AP Computer Science

AP Computer Science will not be offered next year in order to create a more entry-level class.

Instead, AP Computer Science Principles will be offered, taught by Douglas Scott, and will be more focused on a beginners guide on how to code.

Many underclassmen are disappointed about the removal of AP Computer Science and said it will have a negative impact on those interested in pursuing computer science in the future. AP Computer Science is a very popular course among current seniors taking the class and underclassmen wishing to take it.

“I think it is a big mistake,” senior Austin Odell said. “Personally, being part of this class, it is a big help, and without it there is pretty much no option to learn about computer science. Also, (AP Computer Science teacher) Tim Joyce is a great teacher. Class is a great time especially for seniors.”

According to past AP scores, it has been proven that computer science is a very difficult course and requires a much different kind of thinking. Computer science helps with understanding other subjects, especially mathematics.

“It is just not okay,” senior Kenny Rhodes said. “Computer science is probably my favorite course, and it is a great time all around. The Mr. Joyce version is just the gold standard. I would consider it the best class around. I think that kids that want to do Java and general programming are going to be affected. Kids that do not want to do programming will suffer because it teaches them to think in a different way. Who it will help though are those who have no prior experience to programming.”

According to Joyce, AP Computer Science is not the typical math course where you get a single answer after doing a series of steps. The course requires students to think differently and solve a problem many ways.

“I think getting rid of AP Computer Science would be a downfall in the long run,” Joyce said. “The kids will miss the opportunity to learn how to think differently from a subject they have not learned yet. The whole thing is how to think correctly or differently about how to solve a problem. It does not matter about the language or anything else, it will help with anything they choose. Without having this opportunity now it will cost them later if they try to explore it. The concept is that since we do not have a prerequisite computer class so they chose a subset of the Java. That is why they went with the Principles class, which is lower class but a prerequisite for the Java class. The size of the class coming in is too large, and they do not have enough math teachers to keep both classes.”

According to the Fast Company website, now eight of the top 25 paying jobs are tech positions. In addition, the website also said that computer science has proven to positively impact every area of society.

According to Rasmussen College, computer science has helped with furthering education, improving communication, and streamlining philanthropy. It has also helped with solving problems, improving solutions, and protecting people.

“Personally, I am disappointed because I wanted to take that class next year, but I am happy that they are keeping some kind of alternative,” junior Dante Sivo said. “That class would have helped me extremely in college. The class that they are replacing it with will not really help me at all, but I am taking it just because it is interesting. I do not think it is going to discourage people from pursuing computer science because the majority of people who want to go into that field are pretty dedicated. They will keep doing it even if they can’t do it in high school. In regard to skill, people are going to spend more time studying in college now.”

Some students said AP Computer Science is too difficult of a class and maybe its removal will not hurt students as much.

Coding has such a major impact on society that most everyday activities need manual software programming. According to the Code Fellows website, coding plays a big part in everyday activities like running water, driving, riding the elevator, vacuuming, doing laundry, and paper manufacturing.

“Coding is important because it determines everything we do and more people know logical thinking on how to solve problems,” Joyce said.