Florida schools get rid of exam

As of July 1, students enrolled in any public Florida college or university will no longer have to take the College-Level Academic Skills Test.   

However, students must still meet the CLAST requirement of maintaining a 2.5 grade point average in both English and math courses.                                     

“The CLAST is a very costly test,” said Judith Bilsky, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success.

“It is a fairly expensive test for state to issue.”  Bilsky said that the Florida legislature would meet in September and October to find other options for the CLAST. There has not been a replacement test for the CLAST.                    

Florida legislatures made several budget cuts this school year, and the CLAST was also considered to be one of their major savings. According to Bilksy, the state will save $1 million removing the CLAST from Florida colleges.                                     

Some students said the government’s savings will hurt the pockets of some college students. A student must take the CLAST courses if they do not meet the GPA requirement out of high school.     

“The CLAST was a free exam offered every semester in most colleges,” Luis Sanchez, 22, a senior criminal justice student from Miami. “Now students will have to pay hundreds of dollars to retake a course if they don’t meet the (GPA) requirements.”                       

Community college students are also feeling the effects. To receive an associate’s degree, a student must pass the CLAST GPA requirements. Now, some may have to push graduation back because of the classes they need to retake to meet the required grade point averages.            

“I was set to graduate in the fall if I took the CLAST exam.  Now that the CLAST is canceled, I will have to retake two classes which will push my graduation back to spring 2010,” said Delroy Barton, 22, a senior communication student at Tallahassee Community College.               

Lynda Page, associate director of academic student affairs for the Florida Board of Governors, said some adjustments have to be made to the exam before issuing it again.    

“There is some technicality that needs to be worked out with the exam,” said Page.            

According to the Florida Department of Education’s website, CLAST was established in 1984 to ensure that college students meet academic requirements before moving from their general courses such as Math and English to their core courses in their major.                     

“The CLAST have not been updated or changed since 1984,” said Bilsky.           

Some students disagree with taking additional aptitude tests during their college years.   

“Students have been taking a variety of academic skills test all the way through high school,” said Ralph Lipsey, 22, a senior political science student from Miami. “I don’t believe that we need another test affecting us graduating college,” said Lipsey.

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