STAP Claim

LTC Heffington claimed, as in the first post of this series, that

STAP (Summer Term Academic Program) is also now an accepted summer detail assignment, so retaking a course during the summer translates into even more summer leave for the deficient cadet.

This (“also now an accepted…”) implies that it has become commonplace where before it was not.

From my time at the Academy, STAP was something you wanted to avoid, because it meant you weren’t doing well at an academic class and needed help to be able to graduate.

What do the data say?


The x-axis is the class year. The Y axis represents percentage of cadets. The orange field visually represents the percentage of STAP attendees in the class.

In 2007, the percentage of cadets in STAP started climbing rapidly, to the point where up to 44% of cadets were flagged as participating in STAP, and regularly over 30% since. Keep in mind that 2018, ’19, and ’20 hadn’t graduated when this data was assembled, so those numbers will continue to climb.

This does seem to validate Heffington’s claim of normalizing summer academic programs. If it is still remedial, then the Academy has a big problem; if it’s make-work for cadets, then that’s (presumably) a choice to put cadets in classrooms instead of the field for training.

The Sup, LTG Caslen, did say

We have shifted our approach from an ‘attritional’ model to a ‘developmental’ model without compromising our standards.

but does not explain why or what for the increase in summer academics is meant to accomplish, if indeed summer academics is still a remedial action. Clarity on this point would be welcome.

The data bears the charge out.





Thoughtful criticism and factual corrections are welcome.

2 thoughts on “STAP Claim”

  1. I cannot speak to its historical use and availability; however, I can say that many current cadets enter into STAP voluntarily in order to lighten their academic load in future semesters. I am not sure if this was clearly acknowledged in your analysis, nor whether accounting for voluntary STAP participation rates would show a different result.

    • Thanks; we didn’t know it had become voluntary. It’s unclear from the data how much is voluntary and how much is remedial, but that would help scope current academic standards.


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