CLT approved as alternative college exam but some question bias

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

An alternative to the ACT and SAT college exams has been approved but not without controversy over some questions.

The Board of Governors for Florida’s state university system approved the Classic Learning Test for undergrad admissions last week.

Students applying to any of the 12 state universities in Florida can now submit exam scores from the classic learning test or CLT.

President of the Florida Education Association Andrew Spar said he does not believe there’s enough evidence that the CLT is a viable option to the ACT or SAT.

“Biggest thing is there’s just not a lot known about it,” said Spar, “The second thing to consider with this test is that it is a test that seems to rely heavily on religion, specifically Christianity.”

Some state lawmakers worry the CLT’s emphasis on Western culture and religion could give some students advantages over others.

An example from the sample exam, under philosophy and religion, says, “This passage is adopted from John Paul II’s on the Christian meaning of human suffering, first published in 1984.”

The CLT website says it is “not religiously or politically affiliated” and “students do not need prior knowledge of these texts to succeed.”

Kevin Daly, president of the Lee County Teachers Association, does not agree with the CLT.

“If it’s a Christian focus test, I think we need to think about. Does that lead to kind of a religious slant on what we’re teaching kids in public schools, which doesn’t belong? Politics and religion simply don’t belong in public schools,” said Daly.

The people behind the CLT published a report in April comparing its test to the SAT and concluded both tests cover similar content that measures similar skills.

The College Board, which created and runs the SAT, issued its own report in July. It concluded 25% of the questions on the CLT were below high school grade level.

WINK News reached out to all 12 Florida public universities for a reaction to accepting the CLT. A representative from the University of West Florida responded with the following email:

Email from the University of West Florida representative (CREDIT: University of West Florida)

Click here to view an example CLT test exam.

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