The ACT recently reported that last year’s test scores continued the downward trend for the sixth consecutive year: The average composite score on the exam was 19.5 out of 36, the lowest in more than thirty years.  A record proportion of test takers did not reach any of the organization’s benchmarks for college readiness. . . That means that their performance in English, reading, math and science suggested that they would not be able to earn Bs or Cs in entry-level college coursework.” These test takers were  ninth graders when the pandemic hit, so their poor performance probably reflects the unprecedented disruption to learning that they experienced. However, the ACT CEO said the scores are still helpful for placing students in the right college courses and preparing academic advisors to better support students. 

Eight years ago the Classic Learning Test (CLT) debuted as an alternative to the SAT and ACT. Based on the classical education model, it focuses on classical texts like Shakespeare and Aristotle. It has been characterized as “a conservative and Christian-backed alternative.” Consequently, it is most commonly taken by students who are in private schools or home-schooled.  Critics argue that the testplaces too much emphasis on traditional
Western thought.”

More than 200 colleges partner with the CLT, with no other test required.  And because most colleges are test optional, virtually all will accept it.  The online test includes three sections (similar to the other exams)— verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning(without calculator), and grammar/writing; it has an optional essay. The CLT has a scaled score range of 0 to 120. “A satisfactory score requires a combined score of 38 in the Verbal Reasoning and Grammar & Writing sections and a separate score of 16 in the Quantitative Reasoning section.” To view a sample CLT click the link below.

Florida is the first state to formally adopt this exam. Time will tell if other states will follow that lead.  

Laura Maniglia