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Glossary of Terms

This glossary contains terms found in Commission publications, on this website, and in the education community. Several subsets of this glossary are available; click on the description in the menu to view them.

Definitions of Calendar Systems

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4 - 1 - 4

Academic year consisting of:
  • Four courses taken for four months
  • One course taken for one month
  • Four courses taken for four months
(Data Element Dictionary)

Academic Year

An academic year is the period of time K-12, colleges and universities use to measure a quantity of study. Academic years vary from school to school. Typically, the length of an academic year runs August/September through May/June. The academic year usually equates to two semesters, two trimesters, three quarters, or the period covered by a 4-1-4 calendar system. The Commission has standardized its data around an academic year starting with the Summer term or session and ending with the Spring term or session. For example, the 2004-05 academic year consists of the Summer 2004, Fall 2004, Winter 2005, and Spring 2005 terms.

Quarter

Refers to three 12-week sessions that comprise the academic year. The range may be from 10 to 15 weeks. There may be an additional quarter in the summer. (Data Element Dictionary)

Semester

Refers to two 15-week sessions that make up the academic year.

Trimester

An academic year consisting of three terms of about 15 weeks each. (Data Element Dictionary)

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