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University Trimesters  

This is a literature review for universities considering or implementing a trimester schedule.
Last Updated: Aug 13, 2014 URL: http://guides.lib.purdue.edu/trimesters Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Purdue News

  • Purdue trimester plan will accelerate time-to-degree, enhance educational opportunities
    INDIANAPOLIS - Purdue University is rolling out the first initiative of its decadal funding plan with the announcement on Wednesday (Jan. 11) that it will proceed with the first steps toward a balanced trimester. The trimester is an effort designed to enhance students' academic opportunities as well as help them move more quickly toward graduation.
  • New associate vice provost to focus on trimester initiative
    Frank Dooley, professor of agricultural economics, has been named associate vice provost of undergraduate academic affairs effective today (Aug. 13).

    The position was created this summer to further implementation of a balanced trimester system. Dooley will retain his academic appointment while acting in his new capacity.
  • Senate presentations, discussion focus on trimester initiative
    The University Senate devoted its Oct. 15 meeting to a discussion of Purdue's trimester initiative and presentations on its history, financial models and implications.
 

Suggestions...

This is the beginning of a literature review on university calendars and trimester systems.  Please email me if you have suggestions or additions @ kirkwood@purdue.edu

Trimesters - Popular Press

  • You say semesters, I say trimesters
    Deciding which system works best for your university can be complicated, but let’s not call the whole discussion off, urge two professors. 2010
  • College Calendar is Changing.
    A trend toward adoption of the early-semester calendar, which runs from August to May with exams before Christmas vacation is discussed, along with other changes in college scheduling for curriculum development, increased efficiency, student job scheduling, student retention, and decreased paperwork. 1985.
  • Trimester's Tribulations.
    The article discusses the implementation of the trimester system in the academic terms of universities in the U.S. It notes that the adoption of the trimester by the state of Florida was discontinued after the request of Governor Haydon Burns and a series of professorial complaints of heavier loads and pressure. The outcomes of applying the trimester system to universities such as the University of Pittsburgh, State University of New York, and University of Michigan are also reviewed. 1966.
  • Pittsburgh Proves That College Needn't Take Four Years.
    Saturday Evening Post; 1/14/1961, Vol. 234 Issue 2, p10-10, 2/9p
    Editorial. Comments on key issues pertaining to proposals for the shuffling of schedules for college students in the U.S. to make better use of teachers and the facilities. Implementation of a trimester calendar for undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Educational laws and legislation.

Trimesters - Reports

  • A YEAR-ROUND COLLEGE CALENDAR: ADVANTAGES AND IMPEDIMENTS:
    HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OF THE
    COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS UNITED
    STATES SENATE, ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION ON
    EXAMINING ADVANTAGES AND IMPEDIMENTS IN RELATION TO A YEAR ROUND
    COLLEGE CALENDAR, FOCUSING ON THE COSTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION, FINANCIAL
    AID, PELL GRANTS, AND STAFFORD LOANS, MARCH 9, 2004
  • Academic Calendar Systems: A Cross-Institutional Analysis. Institutional Report No. 83-21.
    The calendar systems used at 3,387 colleges and universities in 1982 were identified. Comparisons to the systems used in 1978 and 1981 also were made. It was found that the predominant calendar type in use has been and continues to be the semester. From 1978 to 1981, there was a 2 percent increase in the use of the semester system nationwide, with increases in areas of the Mideast, Southeast, the Great Lakes, and the Plains. The types of calendars used in 1982 and the percentage of colleges using each type were as follows: semester (57 percent), quarter system (23 percent), trimester (4 percent), 4-1-4 system (8 percent), and other (8 percent). Institutions with a semester system tended to have liberal arts, teacher preparation, or professional programs, as well as stricter admission requirements. Colleges and universities that were single sex, with larger enrollments, or in large population areas, also tended to have a semester system. (1983)
  • Abstracts and Reviews of Research in Higher Education. College and University Calendars - A Second Review. Number 18.
    The articles reviewed in this paper are a supplement to a previous publication on college and university calendars. This new data tends to strongly reinforce the crucial point made in the previous study that indicated that college and university administrators have advocated one system, then another, without adequate empirical follow-up of the effects of various systems. The result, in some cases, has been the failure of calendars to meet the demands of their proponents. The latest data indicates that semester calendars are giving way to modified semester calendars and the 4-1-4 calendars. The articles abstracted come under the various categories of calendars in general, modular calendars, the 4-1-4 calendar, and the trimester calendar. (1972)
  • Abstracts and Reviews of Research in Higher Education, College and University Calendars. Number 15.
    This report presents highlights of and summarizes 17 articles and papers on college calendars that were published between 1959 and 1970. The calendars discussed include the 2 semester calendar that operates on a 10-month year; the year-round calendar that adds 1 or 2 summer sessions to the 2 semester year; the interim-term calendar often designated as a 4-1-4 or 4-4-2, indicating that a short term can occur between semesters or after them; the trimester plan; and the quarter plan. In addition to reviewing the various calendars, some of the articles are concerned with the inefficiency of calendar planning. Only 1 article deals with the relationship of students' academic performance and a particular plan. (1971)
  • A Comparison Of The Trimester and Four-Quarter Calendar Calendars for Year-round Operation of Public Higher Education in California.
    THE REPORT IS CONFINED TO THE QUESTION OF THE PREFERABLE CALENDAR FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AND CALIFORNIA STATE COLLEGES, AND IS NOT SPECIFICALLY CONCERNED WITH THE UNDERLYING REASONS FOR INSTITUTION OF YEAR-ROUND OPERATIONS, SUCH AS POSSIBLE LONG-TERM SAVINGS IN COSTS AND BENEFITS TO STUDENTS. THE FOUR-QUARTER CALENDAR IS SUGGESTED OVER THE TRIMESTER BECAUSE OF ITS GREATER FLEXIBILITY AND BETTER ARTICULATION WITH OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. FOR GRADUATES OF JUNIOR COLLEGES, THE PROBLEMS OF ARTICULATION ARE ABOUT THE SAME AS FOR GRADUATES OF HIGH SCHOOLS. PRESIDENTS OF JUNIOR COLLEGES INDICATE A 4-QUARTER CALENDAR WOULD BEST ARTICULATE WITH THEIR PRESENT SYSTEM. BEST RESULTS, THOUGH, WILL BE OBTAINED IF THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM, THE STATE COLLEGES, AND THE PUBLIC JUNIOR COLLEGES HAVE THE SAME SYSTEM WIDE BASIC CALENDAR. (1968)

Trimesters - Journals

Student Learning

  • Retention of Economics Principles by Undergraduates on Alternative Curricular Structures
    The authors investigated whether the curricular structure of an economics course (semester, trimester, or compressed block schedule) has an effect on an undergraduate’s subsequent retention of course material, while controlling for other relevant differences. They tested separately for theoretical or process comprehension and for graphical construction or interpretation, while separating microeconomics from macroeconomics content as well. They used an instrument to address the no-stakes testing problem, and their Heckman two-stage estimations present some interesting results for educators and institutional policymakers alike. (2011)
  • College Student Characteristics and Attitudes About University Summer School Programs.
    Eighty-four students at a regional southeastern university completed an anonymous 24-item questionnaire which was developed and designed to assess attitudes and general reasons that students enrolled in summer school at the university. The data showed where students learned about summer school, why they enrolled, if they would enroll in the future and other general summer school related attributes. The data also revealed student attitude about summer school. Demographic data is also included. The results could aid higher education summer school programs achieve goals in regard to enrollment and other university objectives. Implications and further study of the data are suggested. (2010)
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