New College of Florida, a public liberal arts school recently reformed by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, will start to accept the Classic Learning Test, a standardized college entrance exam meant for students with classical and Christian educations.
DeSantis recently appointed six conservative activists and academics to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees, a move intended to purge the left-wing culture at the institution and reverse plummeting enrollment trends. The Classic Learning Test, an alternative to conventional standardized exams such as the SAT and ACT, seeks to more accurately measure intellectual capacity and centers on historic material from the Western canon.
“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 of Florida Interim President Richard Corcoran said in a statement. “Not only is this a tremendous opportunity for New College, but with the growing popularity of the CLT among Florida homeschoolers and classically educated students, we believe this is an exciting step for educational choice and freedom in our state as well.”
Classic Learning Test CEO Jeremy Tate said in an interview with The Daily Wire that the exam, which has grammar, literature, and mathematics components, can potentially “increase the likelihood” that students with classical educations attend New College of Florida.
“Homeschooled and classically educated students are some of the brightest minds in the next generation and can choose to attend almost any university,” he said. “A university needs to show that it wants and values these bright young minds on their campus. Accepting the CLT is a way to convey the mission of a school and offer a warm welcome to these students.”
One recent analysis of Classic Learning Test outcomes conducted by Houston Christian University professor Lisa Treleaven found that homeschooled students who took the exam surpassed private school, charter school, and public school counterparts. Homeschool students especially excelled on the verbal and writing portions of the Classic Learning Test while scoring at parity with private school and charter school students on the mathematics segment.
New College of Florida is the first public university in the state to accept the Classic Learning Test.
The reforms at the liberal arts school occur as DeSantis forwards additional legislation to remove the tenets of critical race theory from the state’s education system. Among the appointees to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees were Christopher Rufo, a fellow with the Manhattan Institute and a conservative activist who has vocally opposed critical race theory, as well as Matthew Spalding, a constitutional government professor at Hillsdale College.
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DeSantis also required public university administrators earlier this year to provide a detailed account of expenditures related to DEI initiatives as members of the Florida legislature considered budget proposals. The request asked administrators to include a brief description of each program, the total funding used to support the program, and the portion of the funding that came from taxpayer dollars. He contended that “DEI bureaucracies” are “hostile to academic freedom” and “constitute a drain on resources.”