Classic Learning Test? Yes, please! Interview with CLT Representative Brittany Higdon


Originally published on November 2, 2018

Last week, I was delighted to learn that one of our students had earned the highest score on the 2018 Classic Learning Test (CLT).

I knew this was a major accomplishment, however, I wanted to learn more about the test itself. I reached out to the CLT who happily agreed to answer a series of questions I had about their exam. What follows is my interview with CLT representative Brittany Higdon.

Kolbe Academy senior Meghan Rohatgi displays her top score

1) Can you give us a brief description of the CLT, its history and its goals?

Our founder, Jeremy Tate, was working as a college counselor at an all-girls’ Catholic school outside Baltimore and quickly realized how SAT and ACT were driving curriculum and pushing students toward certain colleges.  When he started searching for an SAT/ACT alternative, he found that there wasn’t one.  So, along with his long-time best friend created the CLT, a humanities-based standardized test that is currently being accepted at 130 colleges and universities (including many of the Newman Guide Schools), and growing.

2) Some homeschooling families don’t see the value in standardized testing. How is the CLT a more appealing option for such persons, as opposed to the ACT and SAT? In fact, are they opposed?

I would certainly say there is a major difference between the CLT and the SAT/ACT, and that is that CLT is not afraid of controversy.  In an effort to not offend anyone, SAT and ACT have essentially neutered their assessments to be as neutral, and dare I say boring, as possible.  On the CLT, you’ll see reading passages from everyone from Charles Dickens to Charles Darwin.  Why?  Because we believe students, especially homeschool students, are able to engage and reason at a deeper level, which is what we hope to exhibit through the CLT.

3) What are some of the scholarship opportunities offered to students who take the CLT?

A list of our scholarships can be found HERE.

4) What is the best way to prepare for the CLT?

The best way to prepare for the CLT is to read voraciously and practice your math skills WITHOUT a calculator.  Often students have lost the motivation to think and reason, and we hope through the CLT we can bring that back.  We also have several practice tests available on our website, which you can access by creating an account with us.

5) Is the CLT a viable option for the more scientifically inclined students–in other words, for those who are not going to major in the humanities?

Absolutely!  CLT assesses scientific reasoning and math reasoning in a much more in-depth manner than the SAT and ACT.  Colleges are often very impressed when a student excels on the CLT because we do not allow calculators, which is so rare anymore!

6) What is your role with the CLT?

I work with secondary schools, trying to expand knowledge about the CLT suite of assessments (we have tests for grades 7-12).  I also work with testing accommodation requests.  My background is in Literacy and Special Education (I have a Masters degree in each), worked in Catholic schools for several years before coming to CLT, and am a product of Catholic education myself.  So, when I heard about CLT, I thought it was a perfect fit.  We’re obviously not a test exclusively for Catholic/Christian education, but I think the CLT lends itself well to a Catholic worldview.

7) Where can people learn more about the exam?

Check out our website: Also, there was an amazing article written on us recently, which can be accessed HERE.

Blog Post written by:

Dr. Jordan Almanzar

Dr. Jordan Almanzar