Florida Universities Now Accept This Controversial SAT Alternative

The standardized test has only been around since 2015. Florida Universities Now Accept This Controversial SAT Alternative Shutterstock

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Some prestigious universities have already made SAT and ACT results optional when applying for admission. Nevertheless, these standardized tests still carry a lot of weight for admissions boards at many of the nation’s colleges.

And high school graduates planning to attend college in Florida now have another option to consider.

The Classic Learning Test

A newcomer in the standardized testing world, the CLT was first introduced in 2015. Supporters — including Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — say it focuses on the fundamentals and classical texts while eschewing the social and cultural issues that have gained a foothold in modern education.

On the other hand, critics claim it’s part of a conservative ploy to redefine higher education — and its board does include folks like right-wing activist Christopher Rufo.

The CLT is officially described as a way to provide a “more rigorous and comprehensive measure” of college aptitude than either the SAT or ACT. A practice test shows references to Plato, Cicero, and other classic thinkers, which seems to back up the arguments of its proponents.

But it’s about an hour shorter than the other standardized tests, and the College Board, which is responsible for the SAT, said that some math concepts were not included in the practice exam.

A statewide debate continues

Although the Florida university system officially approved the acceptance of the CLT, not everyone was on board. As the ACT explained, there hasn’t been a study comparing the two tests so it’s unclear exactly how they stack up against each other.

Amanda Phalin serves on the state university system’s governing board and said that she’s not opposed to using the CLT in the future but noted that “we do not have the empirical evidence to show that this assessment is in the same quality as the ACT and the SAT.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee September 11th, 2023
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