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Information for Rising 9th Grade Students
All TJ students are required to complete one year of computer science (CS) before the beginning of junior year.
Most students satisfy this requirement by taking Foundations of Computer Science in 9th grade or during the summer following 9th grade. A few students take the course in 10th grade. The Foundations of Computer Science class is for students with little or no previous knowledge of programming.
Foundations of Computer Science Accelerated is for students who have completed a year of programming experience before TJ, but are not yet ready for AP Computer Science A plus Data Structures. The course is taught in Python with some preparation in Java towards the end of the course. The course is a computationally intensive application of topics in computer science, including object-oriented programming, algorithms, data processing, and simulation.
How can rising 9th grade students decide which course to take?
You should consider both your programming knowledge and your personality. In general, students who program on their own, as a hobby, perhaps helped by family members who know programming, will do well in the accelerated course. On the other hand, students who have only been to a summer camp, or who have only done robotics in middle school, or who prefer learning directed by a teacher, usually do not have the skills needed to do well in the fast-paced accelerated course.
Rising 9th grade students who are considering the accelerated course must go to www.codingbat.com, create an account, and complete a dozen of the harder exercises, either in Java or Python. If you do not understand the vocabulary or the directions and do not know how to begin, it is strongly suggested that you sign up for Foundations of Computer Science.
If you still have doubts about whether to sign up for Foundations of Computer Science or Accelerated Foundations of Computer Science, please sign up for Foundations of Computer Science. After school begins, it is easier to transfer to the accelerated course than to Foundations of Computer Science.
Rising 9th grade students who are interested in going straight to AP Computer Science A plus Data Structures must:
- have A’s in all high school level math courses taken, even those taken in middle school
- score at least 90% on the APCS placement test, which is given the last Wednesday before the teacher planning week in August.
- be prepared to show their teacher their completed CodingBat exercises on the first day of school.