Carmiya Bady.

Evanston Township High School will eliminate end-of-semester exams next fall, but some students would rather see those high-pressure tests continue as they have in the past.

At Monday night’s District 202 Board of Education meeting, student board member Carmiya Bady, an ETHS senior, said fellow students have “mixed emotions” about the change in test policies. Bady said some students are afraid that they “will not be prepared for college” without such exams. She said student emotions may be based on what college they hope to attend.

ETHS principal Marcus Campbell explained that even though the week-long end-of-semester exams will be eliminated, teachers will still have the option of giving “multi-unit assessments” at the end of a semester during a class period. He said that should “speak to the college readiness concerns” that some students express.

He also said some teachers may prefer to have students do projects instead of take a final.

“We are giving instructional time back to the teachers,” he said, with the new exam policy, and with block scheduling, where classes are 85 minutes long, about double what’s been done for decades.

Bady said she likes block scheduling, “because there is more time to learn, and less homework” because of the additional time in class.

The District 202 board also approved the school calendar for next year. The first day of classes is Aug. 16. The last day will be May 27, 2022, except for seniors, who wrap up on May 12.

The District 65 board also met on Monday night, and reviewed a proposed calendar for the upcoming year. If approved by the board later this month, the elementary school students in the Evanston/Skokie district will start on Aug. 25, and end on June 6, 2022.

Winter and spring breaks will be the same for both districts.

District 65 had surveyed parents/guardians and staff about possible calendar changes, including an earlier start to the school year, elimination of days off on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday, Veterans Day, and Presidents Day, as well as a full week off for Thanksgiving.

More than 2,700 people responded. However, Communications Director Melissa Messinger said there was no overwhelming opinion one way or the other, so none of the surveyed options will be implemented.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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