Assessment for Unit 1 Lessons 1-7 (Chapter 1)


I was looking at the assessment for Unit 1 Lessons 1-7 (Chapter 1) and feel like there are several problems that address content that wasn’t explicitly covered in the lessons.

Number 1 asks students why computers are based on binary.

Number 5 requires that they be able to convert from hexadecimal.

Number 7 requires them to know what bandwidth and latency are.

Unit 1 Chapter 1 Test Questions
AP CSP Unit 1 Chapter 2 Assessment

I have the same concerns. I gave this assessment yesterday and my students were discouraged because we had not covered some of this content. One student wants to drop the class because she feels as though there is no where for her to go to look over and review the content. For AP students, the lack of a textbook is concerning to them. They feel like they have no reference. Quite frankly, I thought this concern was valid and I wasn’t sure where to direct her.

I would appreciate any suggestions on this. Thanks.


Hi @ajocox1and @wbarnum,

Thanks for feedback about the assessments. These are brand new assessments so its good to work out some of the bugs. We are looking into issues with them and will be making updates in the next couple days.

I’m sorry to hear that this has caused some anxiety for some of your students. Our goal with providing assessments is not to cause students to want to drop the class. In fact students dropping the class goes against the goal of AP CSP as a whole which is broadening participation in computer science. With that goal in mind it might be good for the first unit to make these tests lower stakes and help students come to see themselves as successful computer scientist and capable AP students before putting a higher stakes test in front of them.

In terms of the textbook - I’m not sure if there is any textbook out there meant specifically for CSP yet. We don’t have one that goes with the course. The first place I would send students to review is the Student Facing Lesson Plans. Those are the first level on Code Studio for each lesson. They give an overview of that class, vocab words students should know and resources from the lesson. This could be a starting place for a review guide but it might be helpful to make one as a class. I don’t know if any of our pilot teachers have review guides they have made already that they could share. (@kaitie_obryan @bhatnagars @terence.stone25 @anmrobnott any resources or thoughts to share?)



@wbarnum @ajocox1 @dani Found this great video ( that overviews number systems. I showed it to my students as part of Lesson 5. I’m also having my students maintain a Vocabulary List and every time they hear a new word, they add it to the list. The vocab words bandwidth and latency appear in one of the videos but are not in the lesson plans. I had my students write them down when watching the video.


Hey @dani , how did you know I was just thinking on this very issue? Blown to Bits is a great supplement but it is not what comes to mind for a course textbook.

@ajocox1 and @wbarnum,
In my opinion, feel free to remove or not count questions from the assessments that do not match the needs of the students in front of you. Use them as teachable moments or extra credit. As we all go through the materials, there will be many adjustments along the way. I let students know that they are pioneers and that there will be some bumps in the road that we will work out together. This includes the lack of print supporting materials. I know this will be challenging for students who are used to having choices of which reference materials to use for their other AP courses. Hopefully, I can reduce the anxiety of some students by being very transparent about the process.

Last year, I did not have students make review guides or even take many notes. This year, I plan on having students maintain a notebook for reference with a specific focus on vocabulary. I just haven’t figured out whether it will be electronic or paper. You may want to visit abstractingcs for ideas.



@dani @ajocox1 and @wbarnum

I know I have run into that same issue on a test that I don’t preview enough before test day. I usually just apologize (make sure Ss know that I am not out to “get” them or trick them) and adjust scores as necessary. On the AP test there might be questions Ss aren’t prepared for, so it might be a good time to discuss strategies for that.

As far as the textbook goes, this year I am hoping on doing an interactive notebook for students. The plan is each week we will add pages to the notebook based on what we learned that week. I am hoping it will give students something concrete to look back to at the end of the unit/year. I haven’t started school yet - I think MN has one of the latest start dates after Labor day! I will certainly share what I do though. Math = love does a lot with interactive notebooks and when I have done them with my math students they are so focused and attentive - I actually have students saying “can we do more of this?!”. I am really just tricking them into taking notes though… so it is a win-win.


I think it would be nice for us as teachers that each question in the assessment has a link back to the lesson it came from, so that we may review with them or create a review for them before they take a test. (Suggestion). My students did horrible 70 and lower… so I went to pull up the questions and was going to try and go back and show them where we would of covered that material… and couldn’t really find some of them.


Hi @dhuff

Thanks for the feedback. Which questions did you feel like you couldn’t make the connections for?



It seems that this assessment contains several questions which are quite a stretch beyond the material covered in the Stages before. I felt the same way about the number of hexadecimal questions in the Chapter 1 assessment, but these are even a bigger jump for the students. I don’t know what the thinking is here, but I won’t be able to use this assessment.

Could you create an alternate assessment that is more of a review of the material rather than introduction of new concepts?


Hello NicholsonI - Here is an youtube link I found that was helpful for my students to understand this complex thinking.


Thanks for sharing.I’m going to show this video to the students as I finish up Unit 1. Good summary!


Hi Mr Nick,

Totally understandable. Two things:

  1. The hex questions in the unit 1 assessments are a mistake/oversight from an older version of the unit (when we taught hex a little earlier). Very sorry about this. Those questions are being moved out and replaced with similar questions that don’t rely on hex knowledge.

  2. On making assessments that are more a review of the material…I think we just need to communicate our intention a little bit more.

  • Assessments that are more direct review of the material are typically found in the “blue bubbles” at the end of each lesson in code studio.

  • The “locked assessments” are intended to be more like a simulation of the AP exam in which questions (most likely) won’t relate directly to material in any lesson of any curriculum but will require some extrapolation and transfer of what you’ve learned, more than review.

These questions are meant to be challenging and an opportunity to practice for the AP exam. If you’re worried about students being discouraged, perhaps you could change the stakes for students, or tell them ahead of time that you will only count certain questions for credit and the others are ‘challenges’…something like that.

I hope this helps. And sorry for the frustration. Keep the feedback coming.




I just gave my students the Unit 1 Chapter 1 and 2 Assessments yesterday. Wow, I wish I had read this earlier in the week. I ended up having to change a lot of the grading, explaining hex in a hurry, not counting those questions, etc. It just seems like some of it is a big jump from what was taught in the lessons to what they need to extrapolate on the assessment questions. I guess I’ll be writing my own questions now but I worry about getting them prepared for the AP questions.


I had given this test to my students and they did really well on it. Some questions got them, but after I reviewed it with them, it made sense. I liked the fact there were hexadecimal questions because it allowed for me to understand who truly understands how number systems work. Lesson 5 and 6 are big on this idea. You can represent anything as long as you have rules to get from one number to the next. With most my students, it was their first introduction to hexadecimal, but they did fairly well because they understood the rules of the numbering system, which they got from lessons 5 and 6.

I liked this test and saw it as a valuable tool to see which students TRULY get it.


@joe_padon - thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear you enjoyed the assessments.

@mkaiser - Sorry to hear things didn’t go so great in your class. It might be helpful to check out Baker’s explanation above about assessments and the thoughts behind them. Also note that we will be removing the hex questions from Chapter 1. Thanks for sharing and keep the feedback coming!

CSP Team


I agree that they are good questions and that they stretch the knowledge that they gained in the lesson…but it seems like that stretch is a bit far for some. How do you grade something like this? Did you throw the questions out or still count them? You said they got it after you reviewed it with them, and I’m sure mine will too (I haven’t yet because we’ve had a few out absent and they are still in the process of making up the test).


I graded this first one as an assignment grade (weighted less than tests) because it was difficult and I wanted them to get a feel for how the assessments will look going forward. It was basically a practice run.

Questions 5 and 9 were about hexadecimal and I graded the test (assignment) out of 9, but gave all 10 questions. Meaning, I allowed for 1 error without counting against them. I probably could have even made it out of 8 and been fine. The question they struggled with the most wasn’t from hexadecimal, but rather the low bandwidth low latency question (#7). I didn’t think I covered this as much as needed to during the lessons for them to grasp that answer.

I liked the fact the first test was a challenge because it sets the tone that they need to really grasp the concepts as opposed to recite them. Of course, if my whole class bombs a test, I won’t count it against them but rather redo the lessons and alternate the questions for the next go-around. I will say the review of this test was invaluable and where concrete learning happened. It enforced what some thought they knew, and helped those who were struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a difficult test, I just felt that the hexadecimal questions tested understanding of numbering systems, which was a goal of mine to teach.


This is great! It also goes with the first chapter reading in the Blown to Bits book. Thank you for this!


I also found the Bianary Dog - It was a great tool for lesson 1 when students had a hard time creating their shakers - they didn’t know what and when to use it.


Hi all,

An update on the Unit 1 Chapter 1 assessment.

What we said we’d do: swap out the hex questions for others more directly related to material in lessons 1-7.

Why we’re not going to what we said:

Because some (many) students have already taken the test with the hex questions, and some (many) more teachers have visited or previewed the old version of the test, they are all effectively “locked in” to the old version.

While there are several way we could change the question under the hood, all lead to one or more nasty scenarios that we don’t have engineering solutions to mitigate for right now. For example:

  1. for students who have already taken the test it would suddenly appear to both their teacher and themselves that they have NOT have taken it, and have questions left blank.

  2. teachers who previewed the version with hex questions could not see the new versions of the questions under their normal teacher account, even though their students, upon visiting the test for the first time, would. This would lead to situations where students might see a different version of the test than the teacher previewed. And also no way for the teacher to know which question the student answered without individually inspecting each student.

  3. Multi-section classes in limbo between versions of the test.

  4. Etc.

So, we apologize for the confusion, and for having hex questions (accidentally) in there in the first place. Our solution for the time being has been to insert the following pre-amble prior to the hex questions.

The next question refers to hexadecimal which is a base-16 number system - a number 
system that uses one of 16 possible digits for each place value. You may not have 
explicitly covered hexadecimal in your class yet, that's okay. Consider this a 
challenge question and try your best using your intuition about what you already know.

The 16 digits used in hexadecimal are: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F. These 
represent the decimal values 0-15, respectively. Hex is just another number 
system so, for example the value "fourteen" can be represented in 
Decimal, Binary and Hexadecimal like so:

    Decimal: 14
     Binary: 1110
Hexadecimal: E

Hopefully, this mitigates things slightly and as teaching strategy you can investigate the answers with your students. Converting 0x56 to decimal for question 9 is a toughy, but fits the pattern of all number systems once you know place values. There is a 5 in the 16s place and 6 in the ones place so…

5x16 + 6x1 = 86