A new standardized test option

There are two well-known players in standardized college entrance testing - the SATs and the ACTs. The SATs have been keeping high school seniors on pins and needles since 1926, the ACTs since 1956.

Since December, a new college testing service, Classic Learning Initiatives, claims to be a more accurate and rigorous measure of college success.

Co-founder Jeffery Tate said the CLT is aimed at a targeted market.

"We'll be the test for smaller liberal arts colleges," he said.

Currently, nine colleges will accept the exam results including Christendom College in Front Royal. Tate said that more colleges are expected to sign on. He believes between 11 and 18 schools will come on board in the short term.

Tate said the move to this new standard is in response to parental concerns about the SATs and ACTs.

There is no preparation for the CLTs. The test measures proficiency in reading, natural science, literature, historical documents, writing and math. Quotes from the writings of C.S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, Plato and Martin Luther King Jr., will be presented, and students will be given questions on the meaning of specific passages.

"Existing standardized tests focus too narrowly on stripped, sterilized texts without allowing students to consider broader implications of decisions, ideas and discoveries, which are found in the rich and abundant history of sources ranging from St. Augustine to Kant," said Tate.

The CLT is taken online, with a proctor, and can be completed in two hours. Results are returned in minutes, and the test can be taken multiple times.

Christendom College Director of Admissions Sam Phillips said the school will use the CLT along with the SATs and the ACTs.

He said school representatives met with Tate and liked what they saw.

"It was a natural fit for us," he said.

Phillips said that parents wanted an alternative to the SATs and ACTS. Some were concerned with the influence of Common Core State Standards on current standardized tests. The cost of SAT and ACT preparation courses was also a concern, according to Phillips.

Registration for the June 11 exam opened April 1. The first test scores will be received by schools soon after.

Find out more

Go to cltexam.com, or contact info@cltexam.com or 551/258-3926.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016