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Florida becomes first state to accept 'Classic Learning Test' as SAT, ACT alternative

The "Classic Learning Test" is an exam popular among Christian schools and conservative political groups.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida education leaders on Friday approved the "Classic Learning Test" as an alternative to the SAT and ACT for public college admission — making Florida the first state in the country to accept the conservative-backed exam. 

Launched in 2015, the "Classic Learning Test" is an exam popular among Christian schools and conservative political groups. The program's curriculum focuses on a return to "core values" and the "centrality of the Western tradition," Axios reports. 

The exam is currently accepted by more than 200 colleges and universities and began making its way into Florida's higher education system earlier this year.

A bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May allows students to use CLT scores to qualify for Bright Futures scholarships. 

New College of Florida, which had its board replaced by DeSantis' appointees earlier this year, was the first public university to signal acceptance of the CLT for college admissions, pending board approval. New College has become the focal point of a campaign by DeSantis to rid higher education in the state of what he calls left-leaning “woke” indoctrination on campuses.

“As New College strives to become a world-class liberal arts educational institution, adding the CLT as an accepted testing option for admissions will ensure we are reaching and welcoming students from all walks of life," New College Interim President Richard Corcoran said.


This comes just weeks after Florida education leaders found themselves at odds with the College Board, the non-profit organization that administers the SAT.

In April, the College Board went back and forth with the Florida Department of Education after DeSantis called its AP African American Studies course "indoctrination, not education." Ultimately, the College Board made changes to the course to comply with Florida education standards — watering down curriculum on slavery reparations and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Showing regret in how it handled the AP African American Studies debate, the College Board recently took a more proactive approach in regard to its AP Psychology course being offered in Florida.

The organization said it would not change its AP Psychology course to comply with a Florida law that limits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. Instead, the College Board said it would not offer the course unless it could be taught in full. 

“We have learned from our mistakes in the recent rollout of AP African American Studies and know that we must be clear from the outset where we stand,” the non-profit said in June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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