Data from the Institutional Research Office shows Texas State students tend to excel academically during the summer semesters, earning more A’s and fewer failing grades.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, 34.2 percent of students enrolled at Texas State made A’s in the fall and 34.5 percent made A’s in the spring. Comparatively, 42.9 percent of students enrolled in Summer I and 39.6 percent enrolled in Summer II earned A’s. During the same year 5.4 percent of students in the fall and spring earned failing grades. Only 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent earned failing grades during the Summer I and II semesters, respectively.
Joseph Meyer, director of the institutional research office, said students taking summer courses might be stronger and more dedicated academically, since for many students summer is an optional semester.
Jon Smith, English senior lecturer , said he finds grades tend to be higher in the summer courses he teaches.
Gary Zielinski, mathematics senior lecturer , said grades in his summer classes are not necessarily higher than the grades earned by students in his fall and spring classes. The number of A’s is a little lower in the summer semester than during the normal academic year.
Zielinski said it is possible students taking classes during the summer are coming out of remedial math classes and are now ready for college algebra. In the fall, more of his students are coming out of high school and are already above the remedial math level.
David Snyder, mathematics associate professor , said his experience is that grades in his classes have been lower in the summer semester. Snyder said sometimes he thinks students enroll summer semesters because of trouble in the fall and spring semesters. They want to take class in the summer to “get it out of the way.”
He said if students are weak during the regular academic year, they may not be ready for the more rigorous summer schedule.
Smith said it might be easier for students to “slack off” during the fall and spring semesters and then cram before midterms or finals because the coursework is spread out. He said students cannot do that during summer semesters, because if a student misses a class it is hard to recover from that missed instruction time.
Christina Henson, biology junior, said she has found it easier to make higher grades during the summer semesters. She said the compression of course material during summer sessions makes it easier to remember content for tests.
“What makes it harder is that you have so much information and you do it so fast,” Henson said. “But what makes it easier is that it’s only three weeks, so (the content) is still so fresh in your head.”
Quentin Delagarza, political science freshman, said it was easier for him to earn A’s during the summer. He appreciated that classes were held every day at a faster pace, and teachers knew him on a more personal level. Delagarza said it was easier to balance the workload because he was only taking six hours instead of the minimum 12 required for a regular school semester.