AP STEM Changes
- Help students develop conceptual understanding.
Students will spend more time learning to think like scientists, developing their skills and abilities to engage in scientific inquiry and reasoning, through the redesigned AP science courses’ new emphasis on the science practices. AP Calculus students will have well-defined learning objectives with a new emphasis on the Mathematical Practices for AP Calculus (MPACs).
- Encourage in-depth teaching of concepts and skills.
The curriculum frameworks enable teachers to explore concepts in depth—for instance, through the use of hands-on, inquiry-based instructional strategies that cultivate reasoning skills, in the redesigned AP science courses. These strategies promote enduring understandings that form a solid foundation that students can build upon through subsequent science course work in college.
- Reflect college expectations.
The College Board collaborates with subject-matter experts, specialists in learning and assessment, and STEM educators from the nation's leading colleges, universities, and secondary schools to ensure that courses and exams reflect rigorous college standards. Rigorous course requirements prepare students not only for the AP Exams but also for future STEM courses in college.
- Provide science standards that align vertically with the redesigned AP science courses.
Science: College Board Standards for College Success (.pdf/4.42MB) describes the knowledge and practices students should demonstrate before enrolling in an AP science course. These standards can help states, school districts, and schools develop a challenging Pre-AP® curriculum and prepare students for the demands of college coursework.
AP lab investigations align with best practices described in America's Lab Report. They promote a self-directed, guided-inquiry design, focused on enhancing student outcomes and developing positive attitudes toward science. By engaging in the science practices, students gain an authentic understanding of the nature of science and scientific reasoning. Schools will incur few, if any, expenses to implement guided-inquiry labs.
A New AP Computer Science Course
The new AP Computer Science Principles course and assessment take a broader approach in the study of introductory computer science to include the fundamentals of computing, the creative aspects of programming, and help students see how relevant computing skills are to their college and career plans. Together with the current AP Computer Science A course, students can experience a rich computer science program that will prepare a more diverse student population for the demanding skills in STEM and computing fields of study.
Other STEM Subjects
In the coming years, all AP subjects will undergo review for possible redesign or revisions. Course and exam changes will be announced and supporting resources will be posted on this website two years before launch. To learn more about the other AP STEM subjects, visit AP Central: