Florida approves use of Classic Learning Test as college entrance exam alternative

by | Sep 11, 2023

  • Florida’s State University System Board of Governors (BOG) has formally adopted the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an alternative to the SAT and ACT for admission purposes.
  • The CLT is known for its conservative and Christian affiliations, emphasizing a “classical education” and critical thinking skills. Florida is the first state to integrate the CLT into its curriculum offerings.
  • This decision aligns with Governor Ron DeSantis’ educational reform efforts and opposition to what he calls “woke indoctrination” in schools, and it follows legislative measures in Florida that allow the use of CLT in school districts and for scholarship eligibility.

Florida’s State University System Board of Governors (BOG) on Friday formally adopted the Classic Learning Test as an alternative to the SAT and ACT for use in admission purposes.

The CLT, a standardized exam with conservative and Christian affiliations, is recognized for its emphasis on a “classical education.” The decision aligns with efforts undertaken by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has pushed for educational reforms and opposing what he calls “woke indoctrination” in schools. Florida is now the first state to integrate the test into its curriculum offerings.

“Because we reject the status quo, today’s decision means we are better serving students by giving them an opportunity to showcase their academic potential and paving the path to higher education,” said the BOG in a prepared statement. “As this assessment focuses on critical thinking skills, Florida will lead the way in filling our state and nation with bright and competitive students.”

Claiming to be more rigorous and comprehensive than both the SAT and ACT, the CLT places a focus on reading, writing, and critical thinking skills and is designed to align with a classical liberal arts curriculum.

“[The] Classic Learning Test exists to reconnect knowledge and virtue by providing meaningful assessments and connections to seekers of truth, goodness, and beauty,” says the organization that makes the test.

The BoE and BOG’s actions bring the state’s educational framework in line with measures passed by the Florida Legislature during the most recent Legislative Session.

House Bill 1537’s passage authorizes school districts to use the CLT for annual districtwide administration for certain students. The bill also allows students to earn a concordant score on the CLT, meeting the initial eligibility requirements for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.

“Beginning with this upcoming school year, in addition to passing statewide assessments, students will have an additional option through the CLT to meet assessment graduation requirements,” said Juan Copa, Deputy Commissioner of Accountability, Research, and Measurement at the Florida Department of Education, upon the test’s adoption.

The measure was initially passed by the Florida House of Representatives on April 26 but was subsequently amended in the Florida Senate on May 2 before being returned to the House for further consideration. On May 3 the House adopted the Senate’s amendments and approved the bill with the included changes, which honed in on specifications within the legislation.

Several religiously affiliated postsecondary institutions, including Ave Maria University and Palm Beach Atlantic University, previously accepted the CLT as a college entrance exam for several years, though New College of Florida and the University of South Florida became the first public colleges to preemptively adopt the exam earlier this year.


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