About CLT

Restoring the Foundations of Education

For thousands of years, education was understood as forming and equipping the whole human person–intellectually, emotionally, and ethically–to live a happy and fulfilling life. Classic Learning Test (CLT) aims to help restore this vision for education.

Our Mission

Classic Learning Test (CLT) exists to reconnect knowledge and virtue by providing meaningful assessments and connections to seekers of truth, goodness, and beauty.

What do we mean by “knowledge” and “virtue”? As far back as Plato, the goal of education was understood as developing both intellect and character in students. Its purpose was to help students become better human beings.

Standardized tests should reflect that same goal. They should leave students feeling inspired and enriched while equipping them to pursue their goals. That’s why our tests feature beautiful and meaningful content in addition to assessing timeless academic skills.

Our Story

In 2015, Jeremy Tate embarked on a mission to provide alternative standardized tests rooted in tradition while taking advantage of modern technologies.

It all began when Jeremy questioned how American education had come to be so utilitarian. He was working as an evening high school English teacher–and realizing transcendent, moral, and ethical ideas had been gutted from the classroom. He came to the conclusion that high-stakes testing was partially to blame.

High-stakes testing drives secondary school curriculum. David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, has stated publicly that “teachers will teach towards the test. There is no force on this earth strong enough to prevent that.”

If teaching to the test is an inescapable reality, then shouldn’t those tests engage students with the thinkers and writings that have most meaningfully shaped our culture for the past two millennia?

CLT hopes that by offering a new standard for assessments, we can be a catalyst for renewal in education nationwide.

A Letter From Our CEO: CLT Is Informed By The Classroom

In 2013, I was teaching evening high school to eleventh grade students who had failed their English classes. These were students who had experienced years of boredom in school—and I was supposed to re-teach the same material that had failed to gain their attention the first time. Looking through the textbook, I flipped through page after page of fragmented passages, meaningless activities, and bland stories that had no chance of rousing these kids from their indifference.

So I did something radical: I chucked it. Then I sat the students down and made a deal with them: no homework, no tests, no quizzes, no busywork, and no textbook. I then spent my own money on copies of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. The game plan for class would be simple— each evening, we would form a circle, read out loud, and stop to discuss when anyone felt the urge.

It was the most successful semester I ever had. Students that were previously checked out became obsessed with the shocking nature of O’Connor’s writing. These were students who had gone through an education system that neglected any consideration of religion, philosophy, ethics, or the nature of good and evil. They were starving for truth, and O’Connor finally gave them a taste.

This amazing experience helped me to form a vision for CLT. The work we are doing puts the very best texts in front of students. When you remove every transcendental idea from education, students are right to be bored out of their minds. Give them something that deserves their attention, and they will respond. It’s human nature.

Chief Executive Officer, Classic Learning Test

“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton