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Catholic Homeschooling and the CLT (Classic Learning Test)

Dealing with college entrance exams is a fact of life if you are trying to prepare your homeschooled child for higher education. Until relatively recently, the SAT and ACT were the only games in town when it came to college aptitude tests. Nowadays, however, the field of such tests is broadening with the addition of more admission tests. One of these is the Classic Learning Test (CLT).

The Founding of the CLT

The genesis of the CLT test goes back to Jeremy Wayne Tate and a program called the Classic Learning Initiatives. Founded in 2015, the Classic Learning Initiatives project aimed to provide high school students with new standardized tests grounded in the western literary tradition while taking advantage of all the benefits of modern technology. The result was the CLT—Classic Learning Test—a series of assessments across various disciplines drawing on the great books to provide a reliable measure of reasoning, aptitude, and academic formation.

The CLT’s founder, Mr. Tate, was once a tutor who prepared students for the ACT and the SAT. In his work preparing teens for these assessments, Mr. Tate observed that the sample passages used by these tests were, in his words, “painfully boring and meaningless.” Many veterans of these assessments would probably agree! Not only this, but tests were often politically biased as well. For example, two of the most powerful companies in mainstream educational curricula development—College Board and Pearson—censor the Christian intellectual tradition out of their tests entirely. Mr. Tate found it absurd that the intellectual tradition that birthed universities themselves was systematically excised from all major tests, providing a lopsided view of history by excluding the most influential thought-tradition in the west. Meanwhile, in the College Board SAT of 2019, students were given excerpts from Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Philosophy of the CLT

The educational philosophy of the CLT is that assessments should not avoid traditional texts. Rather, assessments should dig down into the fertile soil of western tradition and make liberal use of these sources. Students should be reading Augustine, Shakespeare, Flannery O’Conner, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and other classic authors. The CLT thus avoids hot button political issues by putting students in front of timeless authors. It is an ideal test for homeschoolers and it pairs well with the curricula of many Catholic homeschool families and programs such as Kolbe Academy, Homeschool Connections, and others. The CLT partners with all the major Catholic institutions of higher learning (Christendom, Franciscan, Wyoming Catholic, University of Dallas, Benedictine, etc.). This year, it is estimated that 40-50,000 students are taking the CLT in lieu of the secular college placement tests with that number predicted to grow in the future.

The CLT not only provides an alternative to the traditional ACT/SAT, but to the PSAT as well, both for 9/10th grade and 7/8th grade. These tests can be administered at home and still qualify your student for CLT national award recognition and a $2,500 scholarship.

Learn More

If you want to hear Jeremy Wayne Tate discuss the CLT with our own Lisa Mladinich, check out this episode of the Homeschooling Saints Podcast. Mr. Tate covers some of the same points we discussed in this article and also shares the vision behind the CLT.

NOTE: Homeschool Connections students receive a discount on the CLT. Please email us for details at [email protected].

You can learn more about the CLT on the website www.CLTexam.com


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