A Different Kind of Grade: Semesters or Quarters?

by Margaret Wang ‘25

Source: Lifewire

Published Feb. 10th, 2022

After conducting research within the freshmen community at Montgomery and reading on the topic of semester/quarter grading systems in universities, there appears to be a large preference towards semester grading. 

In general, universities and high schools use semesters because of the general preference of their students. According to Best Colleges, such a grading system allows for pupils to “build a rapport with professors,” as well as “[offer] ample flexibility and smaller course loads.” Best Colleges proceeds to say that this system provides students with “more time to study and digest new material,” and tends to “accommodate most college students’ attention spans,” as “class periods on the semester system are usually shorter than those on the quarter system, lasting around 50-75 minutes”

Many educators and school administrators believe that quarters have a plethora of disadvantages. According to University of the People: The Education Revolution, students who seek internships during their time at a university struggle because “many internships align with semester systems.” According to The Stanford Daily, in schools with quarters that use the same curriculums as schools with semesters, “professors have to work through the same amount of class material in a short span of time.”

The freshmen of Montgomery appear to have similar opinions. About 70% of a sampling of 30 freshmen prefer the semester system, while the other 30% prefer the quarter system. The general opinion in favor of the semester system is that semester grading can mitigate student stress, as if a student makes a mistake, they have more chances to redeem themselves before they receive a final grade for that course.

Despite our general stress when it comes to grades, we can rejoice in the opportunities we have with our semester grading system.

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