Year-Round School

June 5, 1963

Report Outline
Changes in College Term Schedules
Pressure for Longer Academic Year
Opposition to Change in Lower Schools

Changes in College Term Schedules

A trend toward year-round schooling, with a one-month rather than a three-month summer vacation, appears to be shaping up in higher education. Dozens of colleges and universities have revised their academic calendars to permit students to carry a full schedule of courses for 11 months a year—or to attend the usual number of weeks and take the long vacation in autumn, winter or spring instead of only summer. The country's elementary and secondary schools have not gone so far, but interest in their year-round operation is increasing and a growing number of high schools have expanded traditional summer programs. All levels of American education are affected by the same pressures: rising enrollments, limitation of funds for expansion, and popular clamor for more education in less time.

Spread of Four Quarters and Trimester Plans

The academic year in most colleges has been composed of two semesters of 17 or 18 weeks each, including holidays. Some colleges, including many of the larger institutions, have divided the school year into three terms, commonly called quarters, of 11 or 12 weeks each; a survey by the American Council on Education, Jan. 1, 1960, showed that 147 of the 1,058 colleges and universities then regionally accredited had adopted the three quarters plan. Under either the semester or the three quarters system, the academic year extends from September to June.

Recent extensions of the academic year to 11 months have taken two principal forms: One adds a fourth, summer quarter to the familiar three quarters; the other—newer but gaining favor—reorganizes the academic year into three so-called trimesters of approximately 14 or 15 weeks each. The University of Denver has a typical calendar of four quarters, scheduled in the academic year 1962–63 as follows: Sept. 16-Dec. 7; Jan. 2-March 15; March 25–June 7; June 17–Aug. 16. The University of Pittsburgh's current calendar is typical of the trimester plan: Sept. 5-Dec. 20; Jan. 3-April 20; April 29–Aug. 9.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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May 17, 2019  School Safety
Feb. 02, 2018  Bullying and Cyberbullying
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
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Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
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Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
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Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
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Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
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Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
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Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
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Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
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Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
Undergraduate and Graduate Education