Published Online: August 26, 2014

Illinois high schools reworking exam schedules

BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — High schools in the Chicago suburbs are moving up final exams to before winter break to increase efficiency for teachers and students.

Barrington High School is making the change this school year, following relatively recent schedule shifts in Elgin and Carpentersville, the Daily Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1wwraRG ) reported. Students previously took tests in the middle of January after a two-week break for the holidays in late December.

"I never could really enjoy my winter break. I always had to put time away for studying," said Lily Moradi, a senior at Barrington High School. "Now kids can finally have a stress-free vacation."

Dave Beery, a Maine Township school district spokesman, said teachers won't have to reteach material before exams.

"We think teachers can be more efficient with instruction this way because they won't need January to reteach material that may have become a little hazy because of the two-week interruption that happens with winter break," Beery said.

Some schools are converting days such as Columbus Day and Veterans Day into class days to help balance the calendar.

The switch also comes with an earlier start to the school year. Starting earlier allows students to have more class days before standardized and Advanced Placement testing in the spring, Beery said.

This new schedule is more similar to start and end times at most colleges and universities with a two-semester system, according to Barrington High School Principal Stephen McWilliams.

"In the past, the last couple of days, the level of instruction would diminish because people were ready to go on break," said Elgin High School Principal Jerry Cook. "Now, you have rigorous instruction going on right up until break."

A survey conducted by Maine Township High School found more than 75 percent of students, 67 percent of staff and 73 percent of parents prefer final exams before winter break.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com


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