University requires CLAST for graduation

The College-Level Academic Skills Test is a mandatory test college students must take to graduate.

“The CLAST is not only for the students in General Studies, but the CLAST is administered to students throughout the university,” said Dorothy Henderson, dean of general studies.

According to the CLAST question and answers pamphlet, the CLAST is an achievement test that measures selected communication and mathematics skills adopted by the Florida Department of Education. It includes four subtests: essay, English language skills, reading and mathematics. The mathematics, reading and English language skills subtests are multiple-choice. The essay requires written composition on one of two provided topics.

The registrar’s office will place students on a CLAST hold, disabling them from registering for the upcoming semester if the CLAST requirement is not met.

Henderson said after students have taken 30 credit hours, those needing to take the CLAST are placed on hold until they are able to speak with Michelle Jones, the institutional test administrator.

Jones was unavailable for comment

According to the CLAST question and answers pamphlet, the CLAST determines whether a student will receive an associate in arts degree from a community college or state university, admission to upper-division status in a state university and or a baccalaureate degree from a state university.

However, many students exempt themselves from the CLAST during their first year of college in their English and math classes.

“There are ways that students can be exempt from the CLAST, and those ways are to earn a 2.5 average in freshmen English courses and 2.5 in Gordon rule math courses,” Henderson said.

Since the CLAST is a state-mandated test, students can retake the test until they pass.

The CLAST pamphlet stated students may retake as many subtests as necessary to meet the CLAST requirement. Students may retake an examination no sooner than the 31st day after any previous administration date, regardless of whether the previous administration was a regular administration, a special administration or a computer-adaptive administration.

There are math and English labs that help students with CLAST preparation.

“Those students (who) have to take and pass the CLAST, my suggestion to them is to go the English and math labs so they can refresh themselves of the skills that are tested in the CLAST,” Henderson said.

“We are not successful in getting students to take advantage of the lab to prepare them for the CLAST,” Henderson said. “We think that many of the students go in and sit and take the test with no preparation.”

The university does try to inform first-time college students of the CLAST so they have knowledge of the test and its requirements.

“Generally most students should know about the CLAST. Some indicate at times that they have not heard about the CLAST, but students who enter the university as freshmen are introduced to the CLAST in their English and math,” Henderson said.

The CLAST pamphlet stated that students must register for the CLAST at an institution that can determine their eligibility to take the test. Registration must be completed by the established deadline. Late registration, stand-by registration or walk-ins to the test are not permitted.

“If there are students who do not know about the CLAST, I certainly would suggest that they go to the CLAST office, which is location 201GEC-A,” Henderson said.

Krystal Knight, 22, a senior from Pensacola, said she printed practice tests off the Internet.

“I am going over those problems once a week so that I will pass,” said Knight, who takes the test in January.