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December 1, 2014

Inside Language - La langue en coulisse


Download the PDF version of our December Newsletter here.

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From the Executive Director

I am happy to report that our projects, described in this issue of Inside Language, are going well.

Since our last newsletter in September, we have been busy not only with projects, but with attending and presenting at a number of conferences – in particular TESL Ontario – and with assisting with our Board’s agenda.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee met to review and endorse our new Risk Management Plan and assess our financial health. The Nominating and Board Evaluation Committee met to review the upcoming vacancies on the Board and to discuss a succession strategy. We are now preparing for the upcoming Board meeting, December 9.

In our September newsletter we announced that we had selected the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad (CEHPEA) to manage the CELBAN nursing language test. We’re happy to report that new testing sessions are now up and running with hundreds of test-takers expected to take CELBAN over the next few months. Starting in January 2015 CEHPEA will become Touchstone Institute, a name and identity they feel will reflect their view to a progressive future. It is a change in name only as no existing agreements will be impacted in any way, including CELBAN.

On the staffing side, there have been no recent changes.

We are looking forward to a busy winter and spring.

May I take this occasion to wish you a Merry Holiday Season!


-François Bélisle


Public Holidays

Please note that our offices will be closed starting December 24th 2014 at noon until January 1st 2015 inclusively, as well as February 16th 2015 for Ontario Family Day.


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Post TESL Certificate Training (PTCT): Classroom-Based Planning and Assessment Incorporation the CLB 10-week online course

In January 2015 CCLB will continue to host the online course, Classroom-Based Planning and Assessment Incorporating the CLB, on our e-learning site. This course is designed for ESL teachers who want to increase their classroom planning and assessment skills in programs using the CLB. It is only one of the courses offered by TESL Ontario as part of the PTCT program. This program offers ESL instructors an opportunity to further their knowledge and skills in specialized content areas. 

CCLB’s ten-week online course consists of a three-part assignment designed to pilot a module plan and two assessment tasks, customized to the participant’s classroom context. The course also provides a strong foundation for those preparing to use Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA). The course is open to any teacher who meets the pre-requisites for entry, with priority given to instructors from Ontario. This will be the third time the course has been offered. Ten people are currently enrolled in the fall session. The dates of the course are January 12 to March 16, 2015. For information and registration please contact Kathy Hughes at [email protected].  

Here’s a testimonial from one of our former students:

“Preparing the Module from this CLB-referenced template has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I realize now that I really didn’t know how to use the new CLB manual….. instead of sitting on the shelf to be pulled out when assessment reports are due, it will be part of my regular lesson planning strategy!”

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CCLB continues to work with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) and Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) centres in Ontario to meet CLBPT training and refresher needs. In November, twelve CLARS assessors attended a CLBPT refresher training session at the annual assessors meeting in Mississauga.

Outside of CLARS centres in Ontario, fee-for-service CLBPT training sessions were requested and set up in Alberta and British Columbia. This resulted in five people from Alberta, one person from Yukon, one person from the Northwest Territories, and ten people from British Columbia being trained. Certification for these participants is now underway. In addition, fee-for-service calibration sessions for current CLBPT assessors were held in Ontario for six participants and in Saskatchewan for eleven participants.

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Literacy Placement Tool (LPT)

Training on the Literacy Placement Tool continued in the fall with forty participants from the YMCA Greater Toronto area trained in October. In November, an additional fifteen participants from various CLARS sites were trained during the annual assessors meeting in Mississauga. CCLB also trained two more lead trainers to deliver the tool. To date, sixty-five individuals in Ontario have participated in the revised training, with favorable feedback.

Outside of Ontario, training sessions were held in Edmonton and Calgary, resulting in forty-one participants being trained from various regions in Alberta.

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CLB/NCLC Boot Camp Online Modules

Work on the CLB/NCLC Boot Camp Online Modules continued throughout the fall. At the TESL Ontario conference held in October, an information session was delivered to thirty-four delegates, featuring an overview of the new modules. It was clear from the group discussion in the session, as well as the discussion with people in the exhibitor hall, that the updated boot camp is highly anticipated and will be a valuable resource for instructors and other staff seeking a more detailed understanding of the CLB. It is expected to be available in winter 2015.

Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) has provided funding for CCLB to update the online CLB Boot Camp, CLB Lesson Planning, and Integrating Assessment into the CLB Classroom modules to reflect content in the current CLB. 

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Milestones is a high-stakes assessment of English proficiency developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). 

During the fall, final listening pilots were held in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, with language learners from various types of programs, including LINC, Enhanced Language Training (ELT), bridging programs, and occupation-specific and academic programs at several universities and colleges. As a result, over 2,160 ESL learners, representing a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, all at the targeted benchmarks, participated in the piloting of the newly developed content. Scoring and validation of content is now in process, and based on the findings from the validation, final versions of the listening forms will be developed. Reading, writing and speaking forms are also in the final stages of development.

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Classroom Assessment Workshop: SAM, Integrating Assessment, Exit Taks and CLB/NCLC Support Kit Training

Through the support of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT), CCLB is able to offer online and in-person workshops and provide training for English as a Second Language (ESL) and French as Second Language (FSL) instructors delivering ESL/FSL courses in MCIIT’s Adult Non-credit Language Training Programs in participating Ontario district school boards.

CCLB has been establishing contact with site administrators and maintaining a list of requests to determine training needs for School Board instructors. As requests are received, CCLB works with MCIIT to set up sessions. To date, twenty-seven instructors have been trained on CLB and Support Kit, seventeen on SAM, seventeen on Exit Tasks and 148 on Integrating Assessment. Additional sessions are being set up for winter 2015.  

Outside of Ontario, training sessions can also be scheduled on a fee-for-service basis. In September, CCLB held an EXIT Tasks Training Session for twelve instructors at the request of a site in Surrey, BC. We have also held two training sessions on the Can Do Statements, with approximately ninety people in attendance.

For a list of CLB workshops and training that CCLB offers, please visit our website, Inquires related to training can be directed to [email protected].

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WLA Pre-Screener

The WLA Pre-Screening Tool is a thirty-minute tool that supports decisions made by counselors on pathways for Internationally Trained Individuals (ITIs). Its development was funded by MCI (now MCIIT) to support counselors in Ontario who need to determine whether their clients are ready for pathways requiring levels of English higher than Canadian Language Benchmark 6. The tool is based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)/les niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) national standards of English/French as a second language for adults for living, working and studying in Canada.

CCLB is pleased to announce a training project to assist Employment Ontario counselors in working with newcomer clients. The project is funded by the Government of Ontario and will offer a one-day training session that teaches counselors how to use the WLA Pre-Screener Tool, builds knowledge of the CLB/NCLC themselves, and provides information on pathways and resources to inform dialogue with clients.

 This training will be offered to employment counselors during 2015 and CCLB will soon connect with sites across Ontario to determine training needs. Up to eight hundred employment counselors will be trained in the WLA Pre-Screener.

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WLA Training for CLARS Assessment Centres

CCLB is working with Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) to set up various two-day training sessions on the Workplace Language Assessment (WLA) tool for up to forty assessors in CLARS centres. As dates are finalized, CLARS centres will be notified.

 The WLA tool is designed to assess English language proficiency at Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 7 to 10 for placement into workplace-training programs or bridging programs. It is the funders’ goal that there be at least one assessor at each CLARS centre capable of administering the WLA. In some communities, there may be several CLARS assessors certified to administer the assessment, depending on demand expected for those centres.

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Anne Senior and Elissa Beaulieu attended the Ontario provincial consultations, funded by CIC, on settlement and language. Anne has continued to attend Newcomer Language Advisory Body meetings to provide input to CIC policy regarding language.

CCLB presented at TESL Ontario. Anne Senior was part of a symposium with Yves Saint-Germain of CIC and Mourad Mardikian of MCIIT on “Directions Forward in Government-Funded Language Training Programs”. Anne also presented the Can Do Statements and, with Ron Lavoie, co-presented on the revised Literacy Benchmarks.

Anne has presented the Can Do Statements at several PD days in the Ottawa area. She will also present on CLB tools and resources at the CESBA conference in early December.

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CLBPT - Remote Testing

The CLBPT remote project is moving forward. CCLB/CNCLC has been involved in delivering CLB/NCLC-based assessments for placement purposes for many years. With an identified need to be able to deliver assessments remotely becoming a priority, funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is allowing CCLB to build on a previous remote assessment pilot project from 2012 and implement a new pilot project to deliver the CLBPT/BTC remotely. CCLB received funding from CIC to develop and field-test a model for online assessments using the CLBPT. The approach may be used to assess clients in some remote areas. CCLB is in the process of finalizing the online components of the test and has been working to find a few assessment sites across Canada having the need to conduct remote assessments. Typically, these sites offer itinerant assessments in remote areas, at considerable cost. CCLB is collaborating on this pilot with these assessment centres to help identify the proctors needed at the remote location. Trial assessments using the remote model developed will begin in January.

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Training for CN

In the summer, CCLB was approached by CN to see how the Canadian Language Benchmarks could assist recruiters to identify whether or not applicants meet the language requirements to work as conductors and to succeed in the conductor training program. CCLB is currently engaged in discussions with CN on ways of achieving this end. In the meantime, Anne Senior has presented training on the CLB, benchmarking, tests and screening tools to CN recruiters in Montreal, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

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Raccourcissement de la BTC-NCLC

Le CNCLC vient de terminer le raccourcissement de la BTC-NCLC et offre maintenant une version réduite d’environ 30 %. Au cours de ce trimestre, nous avons revu l’expression écrite (EÉ) et l’expression orale (EO). Les tâches de ces deux composantes du test n’ont pas beaucoup changé, mais nous avons amélioré le manuel de formation des évaluateurs pour la correction de ces deux habiletés. Nous sommes passés en studio d’enregistrement pour les tâches de la compréhension de l’oral. Le test comprendra donc maintenant une version raccourcie et de qualité supérieure quant au son et à la clarté de l’image.

 Finalement, tout le contenu de la formation a également été révisé. Le cahier de formation et le guide ont été combinés en un document qui sera plus concis et plus pratique pour les évaluateurs.

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Élaboration de la Batterie de tests de rendement (BTR)

Le test de français langue seconde à enjeux élevés, développé grâce au financement de CIC, est en phase de validation.

 Durant ces trois derniers mois, l’équipe du projet s’est concentrée à préparer la validation des quatre composantes du test. Présentement, nous sommes en pleine validation. Après Winnipeg, Toronto et Ottawa, la prochaine session de testing est prévue au Nouveau-Brunswick au début du mois de décembre.

 Le Centre tient à remercier sincèrement l’Université de Saint-Boniface à Winnipeg, le Collège Boréal à Toronto, le Toronto Catholic District School Board ainsi que La Cité collégiale, le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario et l’Éducation permanente du Conseil catholique du Centre-Est  à Ottawa pour leur précieuse collaboration lors des mises à l’essai du test.

 Nous poursuivrons les analyses et la validation du test au cours des prochains mois. Si votre établissement désire participer à cette validation, n’hésitez pas à communiquer avec Marie Kagaju, [email protected].

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Lignes directrices de l'ontario pour le program ontarien de formation linguistique pour adultes ne donnant pas droit à des crédits

Le projet des Lignes directrices de l’Ontario pour le programme ontarien de formation linguistique pour adultes ne donnant pas droit à des crédits, un projet financé par le ministère des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international de l’Ontario (MACICI)  est dans sa phase de validation.  En effet, la version anglaise de l’outil interactif Quartz est actuellement soumise à un contrôle de la qualité.  Les deux équipes ayant développé le contenu, le Centre des niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (CNCLC) et le Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) s’assurent que les diverses composantes de l’outil répondront aux besoins des utilisateurs : les administrateurs et les instructeurs de FLS et d’ALS.

 Dès que les derniers ajustements auront été faits à la version anglaise, le contenu francophone sera intégré. En 2015, une formation sur Quartz sera offerte à tous les utilisateurs.

 Quartz permettra, entre autres, de guider les utilisateurs dans leur planification de cours, d’unités, de leçons et d’évaluation et répondra à un besoin d’harmonisation de la formation linguistique pour adultes ne donnant pas droit à des crédits.

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Curriculum Guidelines for the Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program

The Curriculum Guidelines for the Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program project, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT), is in the validation phase. The English version of Quartz, the interactive tool, is currently undergoing quality control. Both teams that have developed the content, the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), are working together to ensure that all the components of the tool will meet the needs of users, namely FSL and ESL instructors and administrators.

 As soon as the final adjustments are made to the English version, the French content will be integrated. Training on Quartz is planned for 2015 and will be offered to all users.

Quartz aims to assist FSL and ESL instructors in planning courses, lessons, units and assessments based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. It will address the need for harmonization in adult non-credit language training.

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Outils de présélection pour évaluer les competences linguistiques en milieu de travail

L’outil anglais Workplace Language Assessment Pre-Screening Tool a été adapté pour le français langue seconde, avec le financement du ministère des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international (MACICI) de l’Ontario. L'objectif de l'outil de présélection pour évaluer les compétences linguistiques dans le milieu de travail est d’aider les intervenants à mieux comprendre les compétences linguistiques d'une personne formée à l'étranger.

 Cet outil de présélection n’est pas un test de langue comme tel, mais il permet aux conseillers en emploi d’orienter les personnes formées à l’étranger vers le parcours le plus approprié parmi les suivants :

 ¨ L'évaluation complète des compétences linguistiques

¨ Les programmes d'insertion professionnelle

¨ L'éducation postsecondaire

¨ Le soutien pour passer les examens d'accréditation

 La formation à l’usage de cet outil sera offerte aux conseillers en emploi qui en feront la demande, partout en Ontario.

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Outils de classement en alphabetisation (OCA)

Le CNCLC a terminé l'élaboration de la formation à l’OCA et est maintenant prêt à l’offrir aux évaluateurs des centres du SCÉLA ou encore à des instructeurs de français langue seconde (FLS). L’OCA permet d’évaluer et d’orienter des candidats qui présentent des faiblesses du point de vue de l’alphabétisation. Ce projet est financé par le ministère des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international (MACICI) de l’Ontario.

 Le Centre des niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (CNCLC) a élaboré l’Outil de classement en alphabétisation afin de promouvoir et d’aider à l’évaluation juste et fiable des immigrants adultes en FLS. Cet outil de classement est conforme aux normes décrites dans le document Alphabétisation pour immigrants adultes en français langue seconde.

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Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) Project

Fall has been extremely busy for the PBLA project. Lead Teachers who trained in the first cohort were able to have face-to-face meetings with their Regional Coaches in September and early October. Meetings were held in Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces. These gatherings were all full-day meetings, giving Regional Coaches, Lead Teachers, and Administrators the opportunity to go over training strategies to introduce their colleagues to PBLA.

The PBLA Project team also launched another twelve weeks of PBLA online Lead Teacher training. There are eight groups training under Citizenship and Immigration Canada – five from British Columbia and three from Ontario. In addition, four groups are training under the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) in Ontario. These groups of Lead Teachers have been training online with their Regional Coaches. Some had the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with their Regional Coach in mid-September, while other groups were able to meet “virtually” with their Regional Coach. This second cohort is about to complete the twelfth week of the Foundation Phase, and will move into the Application Phase of training in January. CCLB held two webinars in November for Administrators in this cohort to update them on the achievements and expectations for the Lead Teacher training. The webinars can be found in the PBLA Administrator group in 

In October, PBLA workshops were offered at a number of conferences, including TESL ON, ATESL, and CAPLA. The workshops that were provided were specifically aimed to support Administrators and Lead Teachers who have started their journey in PBLA, and to give an overview of what PBLA is to those who have been hearing about it, but have not begun training. 

The PBLA team will be very busy in December, as we are preparing to launch a third cohort in early January. This cohort will consist primarily of lead teachers training from the province of Manitoba. In preparation for the increase in training, CCLB has also added a Regional Coach from Manitoba to the team. Welcome to the PBLA Team!

CCLB would also like to congratulate one of our certified PBLA Lead Teachers, Suma Balagopal who was recognized as the winner of the TESL Ontario Sparks of Excellence award for her exemplary work.

Congratulations, Suma!

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