CanadianLanguageBenchmarksEnglish as a Second Language for Adults

October 2012 EditionFor information on the Canadian Language Benchmarks or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens visit: www.language.caCentre for Canadian Language Benchmarks294 Albert Street, Suite 400Ottawa, ON K1P 6E6 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2012Ci63-26/2012ISSN 978-1-100-20772-8C&I-1704-A

October 2012 Edition

Table of ContentsPreface . IAcknowledgements . IIIIntroduction.VStage I Listening . 1Stage II Listening . 13Stage III Listening . 25Stage I Speaking . 37Stage II Speaking . 49Stage III Speaking . 61Stage I Reading . 73Stage II Reading . 85Stage III Reading . 97Stage I Writing . 109Stage II Writing . 121Stage III Writing . 133Competency Tables . 145Glossary . 205Canadian Language Benchmarks

PrefaceThis Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) document represents a Canadian language standard established andreinforced through sustained research, application and consultation. The following history summarizes the work thathas been done over a 20-year period to bring this latest version of the standard to publication.The History of the Canadian Language BenchmarksIn 1992, the Government of Canada introduced a language policy to address the needs of adult immigrants. As a firststep, the ministry now called Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) funded a project to investigate the need forCanadian language standards. CIC held extensive consultations across Canada with field experts, instructors of Englishas a Second Language (ESL)1 and English as a Foreign Language (EFL), language program administrators and learners,immigrant-serving agencies, and government representatives. The consultations confirmed the need for a nationallyrecognized set of language standards.Canadian Language Benchmarks, Working Document (1996)As a result of the consultations, CIC established the National Working Group on Language Benchmarks (NWGLB) inMarch 1993. The task of the NWGLB was to guide the development of a set of benchmarks to describe languagedevelopment in the Canadian context. In 1996, CIC published the Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a SecondLanguage for Adults (Working Document).Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB)Soon after the introduction of the CLB in 1996, the need emerged for an institution outside government to takeresponsibility for CLB projects. Key federal and provincial funders and other stakeholders cooperated to establish theCentre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) and, in September 1997, the Board of Directors held its inauguralmeeting. In March 1998, the CCLB received its Charter as a non-profit corporation, and its doors officially opened inOttawa in June.Canadian Language Benchmarks (2000)When CIC introduced the CLB Working Document in 1996, the ministry made a commitment to revisit the document ona regular basis to ensure its ongoing integrity, relevance, and accessibility. Beginning in 1999, the CCLB undertook anational consultation with users of the CLB Working Document. The CCLB commissioned the principal writer of the 1996Working Document to make revisions, which CIC published as the Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Adults.2Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (2006)In 2002, the CCLB Board of Directors agreed to take responsibility for the French version of the CLB, which had beenfunded by CIC and was meant to inform the needs of French as a Second Language (FSL) training programs forimmigrants. The first version, Standards linguistiques canadiens 2002, was sent out to stakeholders and then revised in2005–2006. The second version, Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens 2006 : Français langue seconde pouradultes (NCLC), was released in 2006.National Consultation (2008–2010)In 2008, with funding support from the federal and some provincial governments, the CCLB embarked on a nationalconsultation to determine how the CLB and NCLC should evolve to meet the changing needs of stakeholders. More than1,300 people, representing multiple stakeholders, participated in the process. The findings of the consultation allowedthe CCLB to plan for revisions and future directions.Following this consultation, a preliminary analysis was summarized in a discussion paper, which formed the basis for anational forum of 40 individuals representing a broad range of stakeholders. Along with the CCLB Board of Directors,these individuals engaged in further analysis and validation of the findings of the consultations. Among the results ofthe analysis was a list of recommended changes.12In some parts of Canada, ESL may be replaced by English as an Additional Language (EAL).The Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners was also introduced.Canadian Language Benchmarks - I

Canadian Language Benchmarks (2010)A small working group met in December 2009 to discuss stakeholder recommendations and to determine a methodologyand priorities for revisions to the CLB 2000. Soon after, a small team of writers and expert advisors was assembled toimplement the revisions, which were based on the following broad goals: Improving the layout and presentation of information to make the document more user-friendly and accessible.Revising, refining and supplementing information to improve comprehensibility, clarity, consistency andrelevance, as well as reducing redundancy.Maintaining the integrity of the three stages of the CLB (basic, intermediate and advanced), the 12 levels (toensure the CLB reflect the full range of communicative competence) and the theoretical bases of the CLB.Using plain language throughout the document to facilitate the use of the CLB with a broad range of users.Including information critical for a common understanding of the CLB among the majority of users.The resulting draft document was reviewed by 10 external experts and three members of an advisory committeeformed by the CCLB. Their feedback was incorporated into the working document.ValidationIn early 2011, the CCLB undertook the first steps of the validation 3 by developing a common theoretical framework forthe CLB and NCLC (Phase I). This document draws upon widely accepted research in the field of language education,including key principles applicable to all languages and contributions from the ESL and FSL fields. The theoreticalframework underwent extensive independent review at each stage of its development. It was later compared with theCommon European Framework of Reference (CEFR), the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages(ACTFL) guidelines, and the Échelle québécoise. These comparisons showed that the theoretical framework wasconsistent not only with the theoretical concepts it articulated, but also with the key principles underlying otherlanguage frameworks.The CLB and NCLC were then validated against the theoretical framework to determine whether they accuratelyreflected the underlying theory (Phase II). Six independent experts mapped each descriptor in the standards documentsonto the theoretical framework to identify gaps where components of the theoretical models that served as afoundation for the documents were not adequately represented. The documents were further fine-tuned and both havebeen accepted as accurate reflections of the theoretical framework and consistent with widely accepted research.The next step in the process was an extensive field validation by the documents’ end users (Phase III). A keycomponent of this step was the development of exemplars to test the validity, clarity, and reliability of descriptors.Content experts developed Reading and Listening texts and tasks for the 12 levels, as well as prompts which were usedto collect exemplars of learner performance in Speaking and Writing. The tasks and exemplars were independentlybenchmarked by six experts, with inter-rater agreement confirming the validity and reliability of the descriptors. Then,along with the revised CLB and NCLC, they were field tested with more than 100 practitioners across Canada. Thesepractitioners fulfilled two key roles: first, they confirmed the level of the exemplars based on their experience withlearners at specific levels, and second, they provided feedback on the clarity, completeness, and accuracy of therepresentation of these levels. This step informed the final fine-tuning of the standards.In early 2012, the validation project leads and two independent validation experts confirmed that the revised andvalidated CLB and NCLC conform to the basic applicable standards for reliability and validity set out in the Standardsfor Educational and Psychological Testing,4 and that the validation process supports the use of CLB and NCLC asnational standards of English and French for living, working and studying in Canada and as valid, reliable standards foruse for a variety of purposes, including high-stakes ones, and in a variety of contexts, including community, workplaceand study settings.3A detailed validation report is available at Educational Research Association. (1999). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC:American Psychological Association.II - Canadian Language Benchmarks

AcknowledgementsCanadian Language Benchmarks: English as a Second Language for AdultsThe Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) would like to thank all of the funders who contributed to therenewal/revision of the CLB standard. The process, from the national consultation to the validation, was funded byCitizenship and Immigration Canada, National Headquarters; Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region; andthe governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.The CCLB would also like to thank the 1,300 participants in the 2008–2010 National Consultation on the CLB2000/NCLC 2006 who provided the information for this version of the Canadian Language Benchmarks and for therevised version of the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.Also, the CCLB would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of experts across Canada who developed themethodology to engineer changes to the CLB 2000 at the December 2009 working group meeting in Ottawa. The groupconsisted of Carol Derby, Anne Hajer, Karen Hammond, Linda Johansson, Joanne Pettis, Christina Stechishin, and GailStewart.Revision TeamProject Lead: Anne HajerRevisers/Writers: Anne Hajer, Anne-Marie KaskensExpert Advisors: Gail Stewart, Andrea StrachanContributing Writers: Peggy Irwin, Joanne Pettis, Anne Senior, Gail StewartPan-Canadian Expert Reviewers: Denise DeLong, Lucy Epp, Tara Holmes, Dr. Amelia K. Hope, Thomas Jiry,Marianne Kayed, Bernice Klassen, John Kostoff, Marisa Mazzulla, Jennifer McKay, Ellen Pilon, Anne Senior,Monica Waterhouse, Elizabeth WestCLB National Advisory Committee members: Anna DeLuca, Dr. Sheila Nicholas, June ShymkoProject Manager: Carmen ChamanValidation Team (Phase I and Phase II)Project Leads: Dr. Ross Barbour, Dr. Monique Bournot-TritesContributing Researcher/Writer: Dr. Monika JezakIndependent Experts: Dr. Natalia Dankova, Dr. Albert Dudley, Cheryl Howrigan, Dr. Enrica Piccardo,Dr. Shahrzad Saif, Dr. Antonella ValeoProject Manager and Contributing Researcher/Writer: Daphné Blouin CarbonneauValidation Team (Phase III)Project Lead: Dr. Nicholas ElsonCLB Expert Validation Panel: Lorene Anderson, Judith Bond, Wendy Ilott, Adriana Ionescu-Parau,Dr. Seonaigh MacPherson, Lisa PetitIndependent Validation Experts: Dr. Philip Nagy, Dr. David WattProject Manager: Daphné Blouin CarbonneauCanadian Language Benchmarks - III

Acknowledgements for the CLB 2000 and CLB 1996Canadian Language Benchmarks (2000)Writer: Grazyna Pawlikowska-SmithAdvisory Committee: Dr. Tracy Derwing, Dr. Elizabeth Gatbonton, Ann Gray-Elton, Marian RossiterCanadian Language Benchmarks, Working Document (1996)Writers of the Primary Draft of CLB: Elizabeth Ackermann and Cathryn ColpRevisions to the Draft: Grazyna Pawlikowska-WalentynowiczNational Working Group on Language Benchmarks: Jamie Baird, Joan Baril, Bita Bateni, Elza Bruk,Raminder Dosanjih, Catarina Garcia, Maureen Gross, Artur Gudowski, Sutrisna Iswandi, Mary Keane, Grant Lovelock,Lynne McBeath, Pat Parnall, D’Arcy Phillips, Eleanor Rogers, Peggie Shek, Elizabeth Taborek, Martha Trahey,Shailja VermaIV - Canadian Language Benchmarks

IntroductionThe Canadian Language Benchmarks: General DescriptionThe Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard is a descriptive scale of language ability in English as a SecondLanguage (ESL) written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLBstandard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced abilityamong adult