Lesson 1: Create PT - Review the Task


This lesson contains a series of activities you can use to help students familiarize themselves with Create Performance Task, how it is scored, and some example tasks provided by the College Board.

Students review the Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines for the Create PT. Subsequently they review three example scored Create PT submissions with commentary to better understand how the Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines are used together. In a wrap-up conversation they identify a piece of advice, a "gotcha", and a remaining question they have about the Create PT.

Note: Much the sample tasks, scores, and commentary on scoring shared in this lesson come directly from the College Board. Code.org's commentary is noted where applicable.


The Create PT is in many ways straightforward: you complete a self-directed programming project and respond to prompts about your program and process. As you dig into the details of the task, however, you quickly come across some of the nuances of individual components of the task and how they're scored. This lesson is designed to introduce what these nuances are, and begin to provide some answers to the questions that will inevitably arise. Keep in mind that the next lesson provides a more structured set of responses to those questions, and so today students are just diving in to what the task looks like.


Review the Task

Review Scoring Guidelines and Sample Tasks

Wrap Up

(Optional) AP Digital Portfolio Setup

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Describe the major components of the Create PT
  • Describe how the Create PT Scoring Guidelines will be used to assess the task
  • Evaluate sample Create PT submissions by applying the scoring guidelines
  • Identify remaining questions about the Create PT



Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.

For the Teacher

For the Students

Teaching Guide

Review the Task

Introduce the Create PT


Today we're going to start looking more deeply at the Create PT, focusing specifically on understanding:

  • The different components of the Create PT
  • How the task will be scored

Don't worry, you already have much of the knowledge and skills you need to do well on this task. The hardest part might be just understanding what is required of you.

First, we'll quickly read the task description and look a some examples and how they were scored.

Review Create PT Submission Requirements and Scoring Guidelines

Students can find links for all these activities in Code Studio. Here is what they can see:

Teaching Tip

Understanding the Prompts: While not provided to students, the documents below let you see how each written response was graded in all 10 sample submissions provided by the College Board. These may help you better understand expectations for each question and answer student questions.

Write Questions on the Document: If students have printed copies of the AP CSP Performance Task Directions for Students - Resource you may wish to encourage them to underline, circle, or otherwise mark the questions they have in the following prompts.

Distribute: Students should each get printed or digital copies of AP CSP Performance Task Directions for Students - Resource and the Create PT - Scoring Guidelines 2019 - College Board Doc

Discussion Goal

Goal: Aim to keep this discussion relatively short. Assure students you're intending to log their questions and they will be addressed through the lesson.

Students should leave this discussion knowing they will submit:

  • video of their code running
  • written responses
  • PDF of program code

They should also know the Scoring Guidelines:

  • contains 8 rows, each worth 1 point
  • sometimes several rows apply to one written response to pick out specific aspects

Students are not, however, expected to fully understand the nuances of the task or scoring.

Prompt: Read and then discuss with a partner (1) the "Submission Requirements" section on pages 10-11, and (2) the Scoring Guidelines. For the Scoring Guidelines you can focus only on the first 3 columns for now: "Reporting Category", "Task", "Scoring Criteria". We'll dive into the decision rules later. Just get familiar with these documents.

After reading discuss with a partner:

  • What will you actually be turning in to the College Board?
  • What are you hoping will become more clear after looking at example projects?

Discuss: Give students time to read the pages, in pairs or individually, and then discuss both questions with one another. The first one is more important for now.


Hopefully in your reading you concluded that for the Create PT you'll need to submit:

  • Video showing your program running
  • A PDF of your program code
  • Written responses

You should also have noticed:

  • The Scoring Guidelines provide specific guidance on how each part of the task will be graded

I'm sure that right now you have a lot of questions about what this task will look like and how it will be scored. Before we answer them, let's look at some examples first.

Review Scoring Guidelines and Sample Tasks

Student Samples

The student samples used in this activity come directly from the AP Central website which shows in separate documents: student samples, scoring guidelines, and scoring notes. You can direct students there to find the samples, or look at others if you like.

Later in the activity we provide "annotated" versions that merge all three of these things together into one side-by-side view.

Create PT Sample Response C 2017

Distribute: Provide pairs of students copies of Create Sample C from the 2017 sample set (links available on student page for this lesson).

Prompt: This is a raw student submission - exactly what the student uploaded for their computational artifact and written responses. Read it to yourself first. Then with your partner spend a few minutes reviewing it. Be ready to share out the following answers.

  • Did anything surprise you in looking at this sample?
  • Do you think this scored well based on what you know about the scoring guidelines?

Discuss: Ask partners to spend a couple of minutes specifically discussing the prompts above. Then have the whole class quickly share the results of their discussion.

Create PT Annotated Sample C 2017 (score: 7/8)

Discussion Goal

Goal: Students should understand from this example that the Scoring Guidelines are in many ways as important as the task description. The responses in this sample not only match the task description but address the particular "gotchas" of the scoring guidelines.

This response didn't earn Row 6 even though they wrote a fairly complex set of algorithms. Call out that the very specific algorithm requirements are something that will be covered in detail in the next lesson.

Students may still have questions about the individual prompts or scoring guidelines. Encourage them that you'll look at more examples which may help clarify.


Sample C actually received a 7/8 score. Let's look at the student response side-by-side with the scoring guidelines and the actual AP scorer's notes to see why.

Distribute: The Create PT Annotated Sample C 2017 (7/8) (links available on student page).

Prompt: With your partner look over this annotated version of the sample to see how each row of the scoring guidelines was applied. You should be reading specifically to answer any of the questions you had about the task earlier. After looking it over we will discuss:

  • What characteristics of this response made it score well?
  • Why specifically did this submission not earn Row 6?
  • What questions do you still have about the Scoring Guidelines or Task description?

Discuss: Ask partners to spend a couple of minutes specifically discussing the prompts above. Then have the whole class share the results of their discussion.

  • Where possible call out ways that the discussion is answering questions raised earlier in the class about the Submission Requirements or Scoring Guidelines.

    • The specific algorithm requirements are fairly nuanced. It's very possible to write a good complex algorithm that doesn't actually feature the selected algorithm with two included algorithms.
    • The rest of the responses are very precise in their language. They use the language of the prompts and make it very easy to find the information the prompts are asking for.

Discussion Goal

Goal: Students should be gaining comfort with the structure of the task and scoring guidelines at this point. Since each of the sample tasks provided missed some points it provides a good opportunity to dive into those components of the scoring guidelines.

Here are some key ideas to take from each of the samples.

Sample F:

  • For Row 2 the response only focuses on two problems and their solutions. This does not meet the incremental (step by step) development process requirement. The response also does not explain if the problems were solved using an iterative development process related to feedback, testing, or reflection.
  • For Rows 4 and 5 the response does get the point for the selected algorithm (Row 4) but neglects to get the point for Row 5 because the response does not define how the algorithm relates to the program as a whole.
  • For Row 6 the response does not define the included algorithms. As a reminder, there should be three total algorithms explained (selected algorithm and two included algorithms).

Sample I:

  • For Row 2 the response does not receive credit for similar reasons to Sample F.
  • Row 3 is a little tricky. At first glance it appears that two problems are defined and solutions given. However, one problem is not from the program development process, but instead a problem in the design process. For example, discussing how difficult it was to set up the layout of an app is not a good choice for this prompt because that's a design challenge. Discussing the difficulties in debugging a score-setting function would be an appropriate choice.
  • For Rows 4 and 5 the response earns the points because the selected algorithm is an algorithm that uses math and logic and the response explains the purpose of the algorithm in the context of the program.
  • However for Row 6 the response failed because to receive this point, the selected algorithm must be clearly defined along with two included algorithms that can function independently. There must be at least three distinct algorithms defined and explained within the response.
  • For Rows 7 and 8 the code segment is not an example of an abstraction such as a function or a list. The student selected two lines of code and explained how they worked. The student did not explain how the abstraction managed complexity.

Sample J:

  • Building a project using mostly event handlers (onEvents) can be a fun way to construct an interactive app. However, these types of apps will not satisfy the Create Performance Task requirements unless there are complex algorithms in addition to the onEvents.
  • For Rows 2 and 3 the response details how the game works and design challenges faced instead of explaining the process of creating the program for the app step by step (incremental development) and how parts were improved through testing, reflection, or feedback (iterative development).
  • For Row 4 in this case the AP Scorer is looking to see if an onEvent can count as an algorithm. A collection of onEvents does not count as a single algorithm. Each individual onEvent only contains a single instruction which disqualifies it as an algorithm. To receive the point for Row 4, the algorithm must contain sequencing (more than one step), selection (if-statement), or iteration (for loop).
  • For Row 5 the code segment is not an algorithm and does not use math or logic, so no point is awarded.
  • It is possible to receive a point for Row 6 even if Row 5 is not awarded a point. However in this case no point is awarded because the two included algorithms are not defined or explained.

Create PT Annotated Samples F 2018 (5/8), I 2018 (3/8), and J 2018 (1/8)


Let's now take a look at some other samples.

Distribute: Provide pairs of students copies of the Annotated Create PT Samples F, I, and J (student links on code studio)

Prompt: With your partner look at these samples - you can pick which to look at first. As you review this task with a partner ask yourself:

  • Where and how specifically did this fall short?
  • Was there one major problem that caused ripple effects through the scoring?
  • Or were there several smaller issues?
  • Try to point out specific aspects of the Scoring Guidelines or Submission Requirements.

Discuss: Ask partners to spend a couple minutes specifically discussing the prompt above. Then have the whole class share the results of their discussion. Where possible call out ways that the discussion is answering questions raised earlier in the class about the Submission Requirements or Scoring Guidelines.

Teaching Tip

Do Not Remix This Program: This exemplar should be useful for students to better understand what a Create PT submission might look like. That said, copying or remixing this project is likely to end up getting students flagged for plagiarism. Students should use this project for inspiration but should be reminded not to use or remix the code for use in their actual Create PT. If you need, remind students that both tens of thousands of students and the College Board have access to this program.

Optional - Review Grumpy Cat Exemplar Create PT

Review: The Code.org curriculum team felt students could benefit from seeing an exemplar Create PT project in which they could see and even edit the entirety of the program code. The links below are to an exemplar Create PT submission and program code we believe would earn full credit on the 2018 Create Performance Task.

Wrap Up

Create PT: Advice, Gotchas, Questions

Discussion Goal

Goal: The next lesson is designed to address these three specific prompts. Students will have time to dive deep on what counts as a computing innovation and how to choose one wisely. They will be provided a checklist of "gotchas" next to each part of the task to use while they complete. There is also time set aside to answer remaining questions. In other words, don't feel the need to respond to all of these prompts here. Use this conversation to synthesize what they saw and remind students that tomorrow you'll investigate all these questions more deeply.

Prompt: Based on the examples that you saw today write down on separate post-its / scratch piece of paper

  • The number one piece of advice you have for the Create PT
  • One "gotcha" to look out for
  • One question you'd still like answered about the Create PT

Discuss: Have students share their answers with a partner. Then have them place their responses on the board somewhere where they can be seen.

Once answers are on the board quickly report back to the group the patterns or trends that you're seeing in their responses.


Next time we meet we're going to look more deeply into the Create PT, using the three questions you just answered. We'll look closely at the algorithm and abstraction requirements and help you decide what kind of project to make. We'll also talk about strategies for avoiding many of the "gotchas" you identified in this lesson. Finally, we'll take time to address any remaining questions you have about the task.

(Optional) AP Digital Portfolio Setup

Tech Setup - AP Digital Portfolio, Making PDFs, and Videos

Teaching Tip

Pick the right time to do this tech setup. We've included the resources you need both in the AP Create prep lessons and the AP Explore prep. The purpose is to have a place to go for quick links to things like setup guides and other tools.

At some point students need to setup their AP Digital Portfolio to officially submit your performance tasks and to sign up for the exam.

Doing that setup and navigating around the digital portfolio will take a little bit of time.

The resource you need for that is primarily the: AP Digital Portfolio Student Guide - Resource There are also several tools you should be familiar with in order to create the necessary PDF documents and Video screen captures that you need to submit. We provide links and some other instructions around tech-related things in the second level for this lesson. 3rd party software will be required for the Video screen captures. We recommend investigating options that will work for your school's software requirements.

  • Create PT - Review - Student Links
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  • (click tabs to see student view)
View on Code Studio

Teaching Tip

Students can find all the links they need on this page. (If you are viewing this from within the lesson plan click Student Overview to see the student view of the page).

Warning: We have included links on this student page to the the scoring commentary for the sample tasks. If you you want students to try applying the scoring guidelines to tasks without knowing ahead of time you'll have to invoke some kind of honor system or strategy to have them hold off looking.

Deprecated - old content from this page

On Dec. 13, 2017 we updated this page with new resources and links. If you're looking for the old stuff, it is copied below, but should be considered out of date.


Review the Create performance task, scoring guidelines, and sample tasks.


  • Review the Create Performance Task.
  • Review Create PT Samples Tasks and Scoring Guidelines


College Board Documents

Other Resources

  • Create Performance Task - Guidelines Before Starting (PDF | DOCX)

Student Instructions

Unit 6: Lesson 1 - Create PT Prep - Reviewing the Task


This lesson contains a series of activities you can use to help students familiarize themselves with Create Performance Task, how it is scored, and some example tasks provided by the College Board.


College Board Documents

College Board Create PT Samples

Annotated Create PT Samples

Code.org Create PT Exemplar

(optional) Digital Portfolio Setup AP Digital Portfolio Student Guide - College Board Handout AP Digital Portfolio Access - College Board Site


  • Reminder: Tech Setup - AP Digital Portfolio, Making PDFs, and Videos
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  • (click tabs to see student view)
View on Code Studio

Teaching Tip

For the Teacher

Student Instructions

Tech Setup and Tools for the AP Performance Tasks


You need to setup your AP Digital Portfolio to officially submit your performance tasks and to sign up for the exam. There are also several tools you should be familiar with in order to create the necessary PDF documents and Video screen captures that you need to submit.

More Details -- Table of contents

AP Digital Portfolio Setup

Goal: Students should be aware of the Digital Portfolio and how to access it. They should know what's there and be familiar with the basic mechanics of uploading and submitting their projects.

If your students have not done this yet, they will need to register themselves with AP digital portfolio in order to upload their projects.

Follow College Board Instructions to Setup Portfolio

The digital portfolio and guide contains a few helpful other things students should know about such as:

  • Guidance about how to create a PDF
  • Templates for the written prompts
  • Ways to save drafts of written responses on the site and come back to it

Making PDFs for Written Responses

You are required to make a PDF of your written responses to prompts. It's recommended that you use the College Board templates for filling out your responses. At some point you will have your written responses in a word processing document such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Pages.

What follows is copied from the AP Student Guide for the digital portfolio

How to make a PDF

  • Recent versions of applications like: Word, PowerPoint, Pages, and Google Docs, have built-in features that allow you to save or export your file as a PDF. Instructions are provided below.
  • If your software does not have a PDF option, visit the Adobe site and learn more about whether Acrobat from Adobe Systems can convert your document to PDF.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that your file is properly formatted and readable. After you have created your PDF, be sure to check it by opening and reviewing your PDF in Adobe Reader, a free application that can be downloaded from the Adobe site.

Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint)

    • In Word, Powerpoint, and other Microsoft Office programs you will "Save as PDF." Visit the Microsoft Office support page for more information about "Save as PDF." To save a Word or Powerpoint document as PDF:
    • Open your Word or Powerpoint document.
    • From the top menu select "File," and select "Save As."
    • In the dialog window, go to the drop-down menu for "Save as type," and select "PDF."
    • Click "Save."

Google Docs

  • In Google Docs, you will "Download as" PDF. Visit the Google support page for more information on "Download a file." To download a Google Doc as a PDF:
  • Open your Google doc
    • From the top menu select "File," and select "Download as," and select "PDF Document (.pdf)"


  • In Pages, you will "Export to" PDF. Visit the Apple support page for more information or follow the steps below:

  • Open your Pages document.

  • From the top menu select "File," and select "Export to," and select "PDF."
  • In the dialogue window select "Best," image quality.
  • Choose a destination for the export and click "Export."

Making PDF of Program Code (for the Create PT)

You need to make a PDF of your code and you also draw an oval and rectangle onto the PDF to highlight certain parts. There are a few options for this.

  • Our recommendation: Use CodePrint - a tool for doing everything from the browser.
  • Option 2: Make a PDF of the Code, then Edit the PDF using a PDF editor to draw shapes
  • Option 3: Copy/Paste Code into a Word (or Google) document and add shapes there to produce PDF.

Details: how to make a pdf of your code

Step 1 - copy your code in App Lab

  • Switch App Lab into text mode
  • Select all the code(highlight all with your mouse or Ctrl+A)
  • Copy it (Edit -> Copy, or Ctrl+C)

Step 2 - paste the code into a page or doc for printing

  • If using CodePrint

    • This tool lets you draw rectangles and ovals over a pretty-ified version of the code (diagram at right)
    • If you can print a PDF from the browser, this should be all you need.
  • Other options

  • Option: Github Gist -- GitHub Gist is a tool designed to let you quickly share code. We can use it to quickly print as well.

    • Go to GitHub Gist
    • Paste your code into the code area (the large open area with line numbers)
    • Optional: In the filename box type .js -- this forces the box to recognize the code as javascript
    • Click "Create Secret Gist" - this will save the code to a new page anonymously
    • From your Browser choose "File -> Print" and use your computer's option to print to PDF.
  • Option: use a word processor Google docs or MS Word

    • This option is fine but you won't get line numbers next to your code which can be convenient.
    • If you choose this option you should add your annotations (rectangle and circle) here in the word processor.

How to add Ovals and Rectangles to a PDF

If not using CodePrint you'll need to add ovals and rectangles to the PDF of your code.


  • You need to install Adobe Acrobat (see the AP guide for students)
  • Open the PDF in Acrobat and add annotations


  • The built in Preview App allows you to add rectangles and ovals directly
  • With PDF open in Preview go to Tools -> Annotate -> Rectangle for example.

Making a Video Screen Capture

Students are required to make at least one video that is a "Screen capture" of themselves using the program they wrote for the Create PT.

How To Make a Screencast

If you have not made any screencapture videos in class to this point students may ask how to do it. You will need to use screen capture software. Here are two good options.

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

Computer Science Principles

1.1 - Creative development can be an essential process for creating computational artifacts.
1.1.1 - Apply a creative development process when creating computational artifacts. [P2]
  • 1.1.1B - Creating computational artifacts employs an iterative and often exploratory process to translate ideas into tangible form.
1.2 - Computing enables people to use creative development processes to create computational artifacts for creative expression or to solve a problem.
1.2.4 - Collaborate in the creation of computational artifacts. [P6]
  • 1.2.4A - A collaboratively created computational artifact reflects effort by more than one person.
  • 1.2.4B - Effective collaborative teams consider the use of online collaborative tools.
  • 1.2.4C - Effective collaborative teams practice interpersonal communication, consensus building, conflict resolution, and negotiation.
  • 1.2.4D - Effective collaboration strategies enhance performance.
  • 1.2.4E - Collaboration facilitates the application of multiple perspectives (including sociocultural perspectives) and diverse talents and skills in developing computational artifacts.
  • 1.2.4F - A collaboratively created computational artifact can reflect personal expressions of ideas.
5.1 - Programs can be developed for creative expression, to satisfy personal curiosity, to create new knowledge, or to solve problems (to help people, organizations, or society).
5.1.2 - Develop a correct program to solve problems. [P2]
  • 5.1.2A - An iterative process of program development helps in developing a correct program to solve problems.
5.1.3 - Collaborate to develop a program. [P6]
  • 5.1.3A - Collaboration can decrease the size and complexity of tasks required of individual programmers.
  • 5.1.3B - Collaboration facilitates multiple perspectives in developing ideas for solving problems by programming.
  • 5.1.3C - Collaboration in the iterative development of a program requires different skills than developing a program alone.
  • 5.1.3D - Collaboration can make it easier to find and correct errors when developing programs.
  • 5.1.3E - Collaboration facilitates developing program components independently.
  • 5.1.3F - Effective communication between participants is required for successful collaboration when developing programs.