CLAST is student initiated venture for diploma

Did you know in order to graduate that you must either pass or be exempt from taking the College Level Academic Skills Test?

The CLAST is a statewide achievement test that assesses selected communication and mathematics skills.

As of Jan. 1, 1996, all college students in Florida have had to pass or be considered exempt from the test.

“The test does not determine your intellect,” said Akilah Bell, 22, a pharmacy student from Tampa.

“You have to analyze passages, instead of identifying the main idea. It is important to use context clues though, because the test has a lot of words that are not familiar.”

Students are responsible for finding out about the CLAST and applying on time to take the test.

“Nobody’s responsible for telling students about the CLAST,” said Bernice Strawter, CLAST Office Manager.

“It is their responsibility to check and see if they are exempt from the test.”

Burke Hamilton, 24, a public relations student from Ocho Rios, Jamaica, said his freshman English teacher told him about the test.

“I do believe it is up to the teachers to inform students about the test. My English 1101 teacher told me to check with the CLAST office to see if I was exempt from the test,” Hamilton said.

“And to my luck, I was exempt because of my SAT scores.”

Students can gain exemption by earning an average of at least 2.5 in 6 credit hours of both math and English; an SAT score of 500-math and 500-verbal; or higher or earning an ACT score of 21-math, 21-English, and 22-reading or higher.

Students also need a minimum of 18 credit hours in order to take the CLAST. The test begins at 7:45 a.m. on each testing days.

The CLAST will be offered on Feb. 16th and June 2nd.

The registration deadline for February ended Jan. 18 and the registration deadline for June 2 is May 4.

Students who have missed this semester’s deadline are still able to take the test. FSU offers a computerized version of the CLAST three days a week.

Unlike FAMU’s free testing, FSU charges a $30 fee for FAMU students.

“Students have to get permission to take the test at FSU from Dorothy F. Henderson,” said Strawter. Henderson is the CLAST Institutional Test Administrator and can be reached at 599-3259.

The test takes about five hours. The CLAST is made of four subtests including an essay, English language skills, reading, and mathematics.

The time allotted for each subtest is 60 minutes for the essay; 80 minutes for the English language skills and reading subtests and 90 minutes for the mathematics subtest.

Students who are retaking the test are allowed twice the time for each subtest.

Tutoring labs are also offered for the test, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

George Wiggins, math tutor, is located in GEC, Unit A, Room 102 and Kenya Thompkins, the writing and essay instructor, holds lab in Tucker Hall Room 100.