Welcome to the Orientation to Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)/Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for ESL and FSL teachers, administrators and program developers! On this site you will find:
- an introduction to the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens,
- writing and speaking examples to demonstrate what a learner can do at Benchmarks 1 through 10; and,
- a glossary that explains some of the terms used in these online resources.
CLB and NCLC are the national standards for ESL and FSL. They describe stages of proficiency of language learners. They can be used as a basis for developing language tests or curriculum materials.
Before the CLB was developed in 1996 and NCLC in 2006 ESL and FSL teachers didn’t have a common language to describe proficiency.
Even now there are many ways of describing a learner’s language proficiency. For example, we may say someone is at beginner or intermediate, A or B, or 1 or 2 levels; however CLB/NCLC provide standards that can be used and understood consistently throughout Canada by learners, teachers, employers and assessors.
There are 12 benchmarks in three stages in both English and French. Each of the stages looks at four proficiency levels in four different skill areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing). The CLB/NCLC are built on the following assumptions:
- communication tasks are progressively more difficult,
- communication content is progressively more demanding,
- expectations of communication effectiveness and quality increase over levels.
There are some very useful checklists for CLB/NCLC levels 1 through 10, at www.language.ca.
CLB and NCLC
- let a learner to speak to an employer or employment specialist about language proficiency in terms both understand;
- make it easier for teachersto meet the training needs of learners or clients;
- provide teachers with clear information about what a learner knows (language competencies) and what they still need to learn;
- give colleges and other academic programs an indication of the probable success of a learner prior to registration, and the learner the information needed for planning their academic pathway;
- provide employers with a way of measuring the language competency of a prospective employee using a common language of understanding; and
- allow workplace trainers to customize content in a training curriculum
CLB and NCLC are useful in assessment and curriculum design, but they are also being used with a wide variety of academic, workplace and language training contexts.