The Corner

Hillsdale Accepts Classic Learning Test

Hillsdale College has just announced that it will officially accept the Classic Learning Test (CLT) as an alternative standardized entrance test to the SAT and ACT for future student admissions. This is an important first step in what I hope will become a larger opening up of the market in educational testing. The ultimate goal must be to break the stranglehold of the College Board and the ACT over educational testing, thereby creating authentic curricular choice.

The Classic Learning Test is based on texts and ideas from Western Thought and the teaching of the Great Books. In important ways, it pushes back against what CLT’s founder Jeremy Tate believes to be both a political and secular bias in the SAT. CLT will especially appeal to students headed for religious liberal arts colleges or great books redoubts like Hillsdale and St. John’s. To a large extent, CLT is a defensive effort to preserve a liberal-arts educational alternative outside of the homogenizing political orientation and science-tech-engineering-math (STEM) focus favored by the Common Core. Essentially, SAT is now working to force students into the Common Core mold.

CLT is an important first step, but other companies testing on other areas are needed to truly break the stranglehold of the College Board on American education.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at


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