Help on Create PT?

My TEALS volunteers and I have a question as to exactly what we can help the students with while they work on their Create PT in class.

We know we can’t do the code for them, can’t debug the program, test the program, etc. If a student is having an issue with their code, can we say, “You may want to look at the if-else statement you have on line 20.” Can we make suggestions? Say…“have you thought about maybe putting a while statement in there to make your program do ______?” Or can we direct them to one of the lessons in the Units that might help?

We agreed that we can probably do an overview on a specific area with the entire class if we see many students having the same issue with the topic. For example, quite a few students are having problems with arrays. We stop the class and talk to them as a whole about arrays and how they work.

This is the first year I’ve taught this class. Can I get a little guidance from our community experts?

Thank you!

@dbeckwith great questions! I would suggest asking on the AP CSP teacher community on the college board website. There you can get official answers from the college board directly. I have done this when I needed clarification on “math” for the create.

Looking at page numbers 82 and 83 on the purple book, to me, your “suggestions” that you wrote above sounds a lot like helping students debug code. I would say that’s a “no”. BUT I would suggest students help each other debug code. It seems ok to say “Ask Jamie, about how she would approach your problem” to encourage collaboration. That seems entirely fair and in the spirit of the course.

To your second point, based on the fact that the college board says that “teachers may…”

I think your “overview” could be seen as whole class teaching of course content and skills.

Again, I think for the clearest and most definitive answers, I would go to the college board website and ask there. Based on the purple book, this is my interpretation.

@dbeckwith I second @kaitie_o_bryan’s response. I treat the Create PT as an actual exam once the students have started. So when Questions arise such as “What do you think is wrong with my program or do you think this is a good direction?” I respond as a test administrator and not their teacher. I would encourage your students to look at previous programs where they have had success to help them solve current problems. Have them brainstorm with their classmates about problems they experience. They will have an opportunity on the written response questions to document how they solved problems and made improvements.

When in doubt, look at the purple book page 83 “Teachers may not…” and be a test administrator.