Florida students could have new college admission testing option other than SAT, ACT

Florida students will soon have a new option other than the well-known SAT and ACT exams. The Florida University System is expected to approve the Classic Learning Test (CLT) soon as acceptable for admission to state schools

With its multiple choice bubble sheets, reading comprehension and z-intercept geometry questions, the makers of the CLT aren't promising students unbridled joy, though.

"I am not going to romanticize it," said Soren Schwab, the vice president for the CLT. "It's still a standardized test, right?"

READ: US colleges want to 'ChatGPT-proof' all assignments to stop cheating

But, they do say the test takes less time than the SAT, is less-focused on test-taking techniques, doesn't allow a calculator and can be taken online. There are often passages based on religion.

"I would argue our content is just a little bit more engaging, a little bit more interesting, less focused on can you game the test," Schwab said.

So far, the CLT is accepted by 250 mostly small, religious and private schools. The overwhelming majority of students are homeschooled or at private high schools or charter schools. 

Florida's University System is set to begin considering the results of the test for admission. But, those opposed to the idea say it fits with Governor Ron DeSantis' push against the College Board's AP courses and his backing of conservative activists on public school boards.

MORE: Over 200 New College of Florida students move into local hotels due to air quality concerns on-campus dorms

"We're continuing to put forward things that are being promoted by special interest groups rather than actual educators," said Jessica Wright, the director of the Florida Freedom to Read Project.

And, they say because the CLT isn't recognized by other educational governing bodies, its acceptance here risks the reputation of our public colleges.

"By accepting fields for admission and in place of safety or act, we're now watering down our educational expectations," said Wright.

The makers of the CLT insist the test is not necessarily oriented towards certain lines of Christian thought, but rather, that it offers students seeking a "classic" perspective of education a more palatable option.

"Ultimately having school choice also means having assessment choice," said Schwab. "And that's what we're trying to do. Not everyone is going to do CLT. Not everyone is going to love and be successful in CLT."

The Florida University system is expected to approve the CLT for statewide acceptance on Friday. The chancellor of the Florida University System said they're always seeking ways to improve, and the CLT opens doors to higher education in the state.