As we closed out one of the weirder weeks in Florida public education, where the governor did some backpedaling over the censorship his 2022 laws imposed upon public school libraries and classrooms, doubled down on his feud with the College Board, and readied legislation to take control of the nonprofit association that regulates high school sports, we got this, a report that education officials had spent the week hashing out their alternative to the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test, depending upon the era in which you encountered it.)

So THAT’S why the Florida Department of Education didn’t release December testing results to parents and schools until Friday even though they had sent the results to school districts last week.

They were busy examining the CLT and creating witty tweets like these:

Senior Chancellor of Florida’s Department of Education

The CLT began as a pitch to parents that it would help their home school, private school, or charter school children highlight their strengths better than the established SAT, ACT, and PSAT.

Here’s their comparison of their test vs. the SAT:

There doesn’t seem to be much difference except perhaps the additional fees for score reports that College Board charges after the first four reports/score sends that the College Board includes in the exam cost.

Looking at the sample exam available on their website, it doesn’t appear to be different from the SAT except in its choice of excerpts in the reading test (Anna Bronte’s 1847 Anna Grey, Naureen Ghani’s 2017 blog post about octopi, John Paul II’s 1984 essay on Christian suffering, and Aristotle’s treatise on government vs. the College Board’s offerings, which can be seen through practice exams it makes available on its website, that might include excerpts from other places.)

It’s the same for the writing test. There is no difference in the math tests.

One difference is that someone working through a practice SAT can score their work at the end to see how they might do on an actual exam, but the CLT sample test does not offer an answer key for self-scoring.

Why would this be more advantageous for home-schooled, private (Christian) schooled or charter-schooled (as in Classical Academies pushed by Hillsdale College)? Could it be that the CLT chooses texts that those students would be more familiar with as they are not exposed to other writings from cultures other than Western ones, including the Greco-Roman writings that formed the foundation of European thought?

But the CLT puts students at a great disadvantage. For one thing, if Governor DeSantis ditches all College Board products, Florida’s 11th-grade students will no longer take the PSAT/NMSQT that is used to award scholarships to the highest-scoring students. For another thing, few colleges accept this alternative and among those that do, none are Florida public universities although that is subject to change if the Governor decides to force Florida’s university system to accept CLT scores and perhaps no others.

No major or minor university or college accepts the CLT except for these, mostly private and/or Christian schools. Find the list here.

But the CLT comes with its own technical report as proof of its worthiness as an SAT or ACT alternative. It begins thusly:

That’s a marketing pitch, not a report on validity and reliability.

That’s a dated claim. The SAT is moving online next year with less time needed for the test and much faster reporting of scores.

Not defending the College Board, but providing evidence for SAT changes.

The technical report continues:

From the disguised shot at the Common Core standards, now anathema to all but its most dedicated proponents (yes, you’re thinking of David Coleman, CEO of the College Board,) to the dismissal of contemporary sources, this paragraph reads like something J.K. Rowling would put into the mouth of her character Dolores Umbridge.

There’s a lot more in the report, graphs, explanations for those unused to test lingo from testing experts known as psychometricians, and yes, we could have a lot of fun with that word, but they are serious people who try to make sure that standardized tests are good ones. The entire purpose is to get here:

And that is more than enough for Ron DeSantis to hang his hat on.

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