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March 1, 2015

Inside Language - La langue en coulisse


Download the PDF version of our March Newsletter here.

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From the Executive Director

Since our last newsletter in December 2014, other than the Board of Directors meeting of December 9 and a heavy load of ongoing project work, there have been relatively few highlights.

We are now in the last stretch of the fiscal year. We continue to work diligently on our projects and thank our funders, in particular Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, for their continued support. As many project deliverables are due March 31, it will be a very busy next few weeks — as always at this time of year. We are also preparing for our comprehensive external annual audit.

We are working on our funding base for fiscal year
2015-2016. Several project proposals submitted to our funders over the past year are being discussed.

We recently sent out an invitation to all of our stakeholders to apply for positions on the Centre’s Board of Directors. At the Annual General Meeting this coming June, four seats are up for election or re-election. Many expressions of interest and applications have been received (deadline is March 15), and the selection process promises to be arduous.

There are a few staffing news of note. Rana Ashkar is leaving the Centre on maternity leave. Marie Kagaju will also be leaving the Centre soon, when the projects on which she has been working expire. We wish Rana and Marie the best of luck in their respective endeavours. Kathy Hughes has accepted a contract extension until fall.

We appreciate your interest in the Centre’s work.

-François Bélisle


Message du directeur général

Depuis notre dernier numéro de La langue en coulisse, publié en décembre 2014, outre la réunion de notre Conseil d’administration du 9 décembre ainsi qu’une lourde charge de projets, il y a relativement peu de nouvelles importantes à communiquer.

Nous sommes dans la dernière ligne droite de notre exercice financier. Nous continuons à travailler fort à nos projets et remercions nos bailleurs de fonds, en particulier Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada ainsi que par le ministère des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international de l’Ontario, pour leur appui continu. Puisque l’échéance de nombreux livrables est le 31 mars, les prochaines semaines seront très occupées, comme c’est généralement le cas à cette période de l’année. Nous nous préparons également pour la vérification externe annuelle.

Nous travaillons également à augmenter notre financement pour 2015-2016. Plusieurs des propositions que nous avons soumises à nos bailleurs de fonds au cours de la dernière année sont en discussion.

Nous avons récemment lancé une invitation à tous nos intervenants pour combler des postes au Conseil d’administration du Centre. Jusqu’à quatre administrateurs seront élus ou réélus à l’Assemblée générale annuelle qui aura lieu en juin. De nombreuses personnes ont démontré leur intérêt de siéger au C.A. du Centre (date butoir pour postuler : le 15 mars). Le processus de sélection s’annonce difficile.

Il y a eu récemment quelques changements de personnel. Rana Ashkar est désormais en congé de maternité. Marie Kagaju est sur le point de nous quitter puisque les projets auxquels elle travaille prendront bientôt fin. Kathy Hughes a accepté une prolongation de son contrat jusqu’à l’automne.

Merci de l’intérêt que vous portez aux activités du Centre.

-François Bélisle


Public Holidays

Please note that our offices will be closed April 3 for Good Friday, April 6 for Easter Monday and May 18th for Victoria Day.

Jours fériés

Veuillez noter que nos bureaux seront fermés le 3 avril pour le Vendredi saint, le 6 avril pour le lundi de Pâques et le 18 mai pour la fête de la Reine.

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Revised Literacy Document

CCLB is pleased to announce the publication of Canadian Language Benchmarks:  ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL). This is an updated, comprehensive document to support program administrators, curriculum developers and teachers in the instruction of English as a Second Language (ESL) to adult learners with limited or no literacy skills — as well as ESL learners who are literate in a non-Roman alphabet. The development of the document was funded by the Government of Manitoba and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The document is available for download at: If you would like to purchase printed copies, please email [email protected].

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WLA Pre-Screener

In December 2014, CCLB sent a letter to Employment Ontario sites in the western, central, northern and eastern regions, notifying them of the WLA Pre-Screening Tool project funded by the Government of

Outlining its purpose as a 30-minute tool that supports counsellors who need to determine whether their clients are ready for pathways requiring levels of English higher than Canadian Language Benchmark 6, CCLB invited sites to indicate their interest and training needs for their staff and began documenting responses. To date, we have received a number of training requests and have begun to review them and start the process for setting sessions in spring 2015. 

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CLB Bootcamp Online Modules

Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) funded CCLB to update the online CLB Bootcamp to reflect content in the current CLB. The online bootcamp is a 10-hour self-study course broken into three modules:


1. CLB Basics provides an introduction to the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), including the theoretical framework, the revised CLB document and the CLB for Literacy Learners document.

2. Planning and the CLB covers needs assessment, a task-based approach to planning, module planning and lesson planning.

3. Assessment and the CLB deals with ongoing learner assessment as well as providing an introduction to PBLA.


In December and January, beta-testers were granted access to go through the modules and offer feedback. After taking the suggestions received into consideration and making some revisions, it has now been shared with MCIIT for review. 

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CCLB continues to work with both the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) and Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) centres in Ontario regarding CLBPT training needs. In January, CLBPT training sessions were held in Ottawa and Toronto, resulting in ten CLBA assessors being trained on the CLBPT. CCLB has also been working on updating its assessor webpage which will provide assessors with additional support and opportunities to share feedback, questions and advice on various CLB assessment tools.


Outside of CLARS centres in Ontario, the 17 participants who attended fee-for-service CLBPT training sessions in the fall have either completed certification or are in the final stages. In February, one CLBPT training session was held in Calgary, resulting in five participants being trained, with certification now underway. In addition, fee-for-service calibration and CLBLPT sessions were held in Saskatoon. Twelve current CLBPT assessors attended the calibration session, and nine participants attended the CLBLPT training session. 


With a number of participants now trained on the CLBLPT tool, feedback across sessions has shown a consistent request that the training be longer. As a result, MCIIT agreed that CCLB should extend the training from a 3-hour session to a 5-hour session, allowing participants more opportunity to engage with the topics in the training. As well, a pre-training assignment has been developed to accompany training materials that participants receive prior to the session. This assignment is now being provided to all trainees in order to give them a more thorough overview of the documents and to alert them to important considerations while using the CLBLPT.

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WLA Training for CLARS Assessment Centres

It’s been a busy time for WLA Training. Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) provided CCLB with the proposed number of assessors per CLARS centre to be trained on the WLA. In December, CCLB began connecting with each CLARS site to notify them of the upcoming training so they could identify the assessor(s) they would like trained. We have also reconnected with our WLA trainers and held meetings in January to review all training materials prior to session delivery. In February, the first WLA training session was held in Toronto for thirteen participants from the YMCA GTA. The three remaining sessions have been scheduled, for March in Ottawa and Oakville and April in Hamilton. 

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. MCIIT has funded this two-day training session in Ontario for up to 40 CLARS assessors with a 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 local volume and needs.

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Classroom Assessment Workshops: SAM, Integrating CLB Assessment Into Your ESL Classroom, Exit Task for CLB 5-10 and Orientation to the Revised CLB and Support Kit Training, and CLB/NCLC Support Kit Training

Through 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 continues to respond to training requests. In January, two Integrating Assessment sessions were delivered with approximately 45 instructors in attendance. In February, one SAM session was offered to approximately 26 instructors; four CLB and Support Kit sessions for approximately 120 instructors; and one Integrating Assessment session for approximately 25 instructors. Additional sessions are being set up for spring 2015.  

Training sessions can also be scheduled on a fee-for-service basis. In December, CCLB held an Orientation to the CLB and Support Kit for 15 participants at the request of a site in Victoria, BC. In February, it held the same session for 73 participants in Windsor, ON.

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

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The past few months have been very busy for the Milestones project, which came to a close in February 2015. With the validation of content complete, the last few months were focused on finalizing deliverables related to the additional Milestones test components for CIC. This test development project has resulted in the production of four validated versions of the Milestones test for each of the language skills. 

Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Milestones is an assessment of English as a Second Language (ESL) originally developed in 2011 by CCLB for each language skill - Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

The test development project in 2011 resulted in the production of two valid prototype assessment versions for each of the language skills. CIC determined that there should be additional content to support the test material in existence, which resulted in the development of additional reading texts and items, listening scripts, speaking topics and writing prompts. These were developed between 2012 and 2014. Throughout 2013-14, the newly developed content was piloted across Canada with language learners from various types of programs, including LINC, Enhanced Language Training (ELT), bridging programs, occupation-specific programs, and academic programs at several universities and colleges.  The data from the pilots was then compiled, analyzed and validated in order to create four parallel versions of the test.

The Milestones Test is a highly secure, valid and reliable standardized tool with the flexibility to evolve based on future goals and needs.

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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 is funded by the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT). The English version of the interactive tool, Quartz, is now completed. The Toronto Catholic District School Board team presented the tool during their Pedagogical Day on February 13th. Comments on the tool were positive and the team is now preparing to offer a first phase of training for ESL instructors and administrators of the province. Meanwhile, the French version is taking shape. Soshal, the media firm, is currently working on the integration of French content with CCLB. The tool should be completed in April. FLS instructors and administrators will also receive training from CCLB by the end of June 2015.

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CLBPT - Remote Testing 

Through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), CCLB received funding to develop and field test a model for online assessments using the CLBPT. CCLB was able to finalize the online platform for the pilot assessments in January, ensuring assessments could be conducted smoothly and without technical challenges. Working closely with our remote partners, CCLB has recently been able to begin remote pilot assessments across the country to field test the platform. Both English and French assessments are being conducted remotely, where sites typically offer itinerant assessment. Assessors will provide CCLB with feedback on these trial assessments, so that this approach will be studied by the funder and may be used in future in some remote locations.

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

In April 2015 CCLB will offer 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. Ten participants completed the course in December and another ten are set to complete at the end of March. It is only one of the courses offered by TESL Ontario as part of the PTCT program. This TESL Ontario program offers ESL instructors an opportunity to further their knowledge and skills in specialized content areas. As of 2015, supply instructors in LINC, ELT and OSLT programs are also eligible for reimbursement; for further information go to

CCLB’s 10-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. Participants are required to have a TESL Certificate or TESL Ontario Accreditation, experience with the CLB, and 200 to 300 hours of teaching experience at a government institution is recommended. Due to the nature of the course, participants either need to have their own classroom or access to learners in order to pilot assignment assessment tasks. Previous participants have advised they spend approximately 10 hours a week on assignments, online posts and readings. It is a graded course and 70% is required for successful completion.

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Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) Project

CCLB continues to move forward with training lead teachers/instructors with the PBLA project. Lead Teachers/Instructors in the first cohort who are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have been busy introducing PBLA workshops with their colleagues since November. This first cohort will be starting to implement PBLA in all classrooms this April.

Lead Teachers/Instructors who are training in the second cohort with CIC, and Cohort A with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) have successfully completed the first phase of their training. They completed a rigorous 12-week online course in December, and starting January began to train in the second phase of their certification, the Application Phase. These lead teachers/instructors are now trying PBLA in their own classrooms, and will be submitting a final assignment in May which is the final process before they obtain certification from CCLB.   

In January, CCLB was happy to add a third cohort of lead teachers who are primarily from Manitoba. The training began in early January, and they will complete the 12-week online portion at the end of March. Two of the groups from Winnipeg service provider organizations met face-to-face on January 12, with their group of lead teachers and their Regional Coach. This meeting provided lead teachers the opportunity to get to know their Regional Coach and cover topics from the online course in detail. The third group was able to meet virtually on with their Regional Coach and discussed and covered topics from the online course during this meeting.  

CCLB will be presenting some PBLA workshops at the TESOL conference in Toronto this March as well as at the LINC PD Day in Ottawa. These workshops are designed to continue to support and provide resources to lead teachers in training. 

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Élaboration de la Batterie de tests de rendement (BTR)

La Batterie de tests de rendement (BTR) est un test à enjeux élevés de français élaboré par le CNCLC pour Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada (CIC). Au cours de ce trimestre, les dernières sessions de validation de toutes les composantes du contenu nouvellement développé ont eu lieu à Toronto, au Nouveau-Brunswick et à Ottawa avec des participants provenant de différents milieux culturels et linguistiques.

Après la collecte des données faite à travers le pays tout au cours de la validation depuis cet automne, il a fallu procéder à la notation de productions écrites et orales des participants. L’équipe a ensuite finalisé la révision des textes, des questions et des consignes, et ce, en fonction des analyses métriques. L’analyse des données et la révision des items pour les quatre habiletés sont terminées. 

Les sessions de validation ont été un succès grâce à la précieuse collaboration de nos partenaires du Toronto Catholic District School Board, du Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB), de La Cité collégiale, du Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario et de l’Éducation permanente du Conseil catholique du Centre-Est à Ottawa.

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Raccourcissement de la BTC-NCLC et de la BTC-NCLC en ligne

Le CNCLC vient de terminer l’exercice de raccourcissement de la BTC-NCLC  afin de réduire la durée du processus de testing d’environ 30 %. Au cours de ce trimestre, l’équipe a finalisé la révision du guide d’administration par une revue des définitions opératoires selon les NCLC mis à jour. Par ailleurs, un DVD de formation des évaluateurs en EO a été produit. Aussi, nous avons eu recours à une équipe de production multimédia professionnelle afin d’optimiser la qualité visuelle et auditive du test. Pour assurer la qualité et la durée du test, une validation auprès d’une centaine de participants a permis de vérifier de façon empirique la démarche, les directives et le contenu du test auprès d’une clientèle cible la plus semblable possible à la clientèle à laquelle le test est destiné.

La BTC-NCLC, dans sa version raccourcie, a été mise en ligne et sera pilotée à Winnipeg, au Nouveau-Brunswick et à Ottawa, avec l’aide des centres d’évaluation.  La CO, CE et EE se font entièrement à l’ordinateur tandis que l’EO se fera par Skype. Ceci permettra aux apprenants de FLS d’avoir plus facilement accès au test de classement.

Le CNCLC mettra à la disposition des évaluateurs une vidéo pour les informer des changements.

Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce à l’appui financier de Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada.

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Lignes directrices de l'Ontario pour le programme 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 est financé par le Ministère des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international de l’Ontario (MACICI). La version anglophone de l’outil interactif Quartz est maintenant terminée. L’équipe du Toronto Catholic District School Board a d’ailleurs eu la chance de présenter l’outil dans le cadre de leur journée pédagogique du 13 février dernier. Les commentaires recueillis suite à cette présentation sont positifs et l’équipe se prépare maintenant à offrir une première phase de formation aux instructeurs et administrateurs d’ALS de la province. La version francophone, quant à elle, prend forme. La firme multimédia Soshal travaille présentement à l’intégration du contenu francophone de concert avec le CNCLC. L’outil devrait être complété au cours du mois d’avril. Des instructeurs et administrateurs de FLS recevront aussi une formation organisée par le CNCLC d’ici la fin du mois de juin 2015.

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Tournage de copies-type pour le WLA Pre-Screening Tool et d'une vidéo de présentation des NCLC

Le 7 février dernier avait lieu, à La Cité Collégiale, le tournage de copies-types pour l’Évaluation des compétences linguistiques requises en milieu de travail : outil de pré-sélection (le WLA Pre-Screening Tool), pour les conseillers en emploi. Plus d’une vingtaine d’entrevues en français et en anglais ont été filmées grâce à la participation d’apprenants de FLS et d’ALS. La firme multimédia Affinity, en charge du tournage, est présentement à faire le montage des capsules qui seront disponibles sous peu à des fins de formation.

Au cours de cette même journée, l’équipe francophone a tourné un court monologue présentant de manière ludique les NCLC. Le but de cette capsule est de mieux faire connaître les NCLC et leur utilisation. Elle  servira d’introduction lors des différentes formations offertes par le CNCLC et sera disponible sur notre site web.

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