French Placement Test: BTC-NCLC
In March 2009 CCLB completed the development and validation of its first assessment tool for French as a second language intended for newcomers to Canada and other adult learners. The test, called Batterie de tests de classement aux Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (BTC-NCLC), evaluates NCLC levels 1 to 8 in listening, speaking, reading and writing. It provides language assessors, FSL teachers, counsellors and program coordinators with a valid, reliable, standardized tool to place adult learners in federally and provincially funded programs. The test uses a criterion-referenced approach and assesses language proficiency using authentic communication tasks.
CCLB is responsible for ensuring that every testing site meets CCLB’s requirements and signs a licensing agree-ment and that every assessor meets its criteria and at-tends a two-day training session. These steps help en-sure test security as well as the quality and consistency of the assessment process across Canada.
In 2009-2010, with funding from Citizenship and Immi-gration Canada, CCLB rolled out the test across Canada and undertook the following activities:
- Created a nationally-standardized licensing and certification process for assessment sites and for the assessors themselves.
- Designed a two-day training session and all related materials and content.
- Trained two professionals to deliver the training session.
- Delivered five training sessions across Canada which included a hands-on component in which assessors conducted interviews with FSL learners.
- Licensed 14 testing sites and trained 21 assessors.
- Developed and updated a database of sites and assessors.
- Created a glossary of assessment terms in French to ensure uniformity of the assessment process.
- Undertook the trademarking process for BTC-NCLC.
- Implemented its communication plan for the tool.
Further training and promotion of the tool will continue into the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
CCLB has been chosen by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop a CLB milestones test, which will pinpoint achievement at several key milestones of language proficiency. Work is underway to develop a standardized CLB-based assessment to serve the needs of newcomers and other ESL users wishing to have their language credentials recognized by educational institutions, employers and others. It is intended for use by students in CIC’s language training programs, as well as in other contexts, such as educational institutions and training programs, where communicative competence needs to be evaluated across the four language skill areas.
CCLB has assembled a highly skilled team of developers to work on this project, which began in March 2010 and will be finished in March 2011. The test will provide results at CLB levels 3 through 9, with particular emphasis on the “Milestone” Benchmarks 4, 7, 8 and 9.
On-Line French Self-Assessment
Since 2007 CCLB has been working in partnership with the Centre for Education and Training (CET) on the development, piloting, implementation and promotion of an on-line self-assessment tool for French as a second language based on the NCLC. This tool makes it possible for prospective immigrants and other speakers of French as a second language to assess their listening and reading level in French, which can inform their educational and professional plans.
In addition to the ongoing maintenance and promotion of the site, CCLB has conducted a pilot study with FSL learners across Canada and developed new forms and tasks which will allow second-time users to complete parallel tests to assess their progress. These new forms will be piloted with 400 test-takers in 2010.
This tool can be accessed at www.nclc-ael.ca.
Calibration for CLBPT Assessors
With funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Government of Alberta CCLB developed a new calibration workshop for CLBPT assessors which will be delivered in the spring of 2010. The development of this session included the design of new materials and the production of a DVD of authentic client interviews.
The goals of the CLBPT calibration include:
- Reassuring assessors on the accuracy of their assessment, especially in difficult cases.
- Ensuring consistency and standardization in assessments.
- Providing challenging, skill-sharpening professional development.
The new calibration workshop was first delivered to assessors in Mississauga and further calibration sessions will be held in the spring of 2010 throughout Canada.
Regional CLBPT Assessor Training
The CLBPT is used in LINC assessment centres throughout Canada to assess the language levels of newcomers to Canada for settlement and language training purposes. During 2009-2010, with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CCLB delivered seven training sessions on the CLBPT for 29 new LINC assessors and provided support to LINC assessors going through the certification process.
Calibration of Ontario School Board Assessors on CLBPT
The CLBPT is used by many Ontario school boards to place ESL students into non-credit language programs. With funding from the Government of Ontario CCLB coordinated and delivered six calibration sessions throughout Ontario in 2009-2010 to 72 assessors from 15 boards, using the materials developed in 2007.
CLBPT assessors from Ontario school board ESL programs benefitted from the calibration process to ensure that their skills are current, consistent and reliable.
New CLBPT Flyer and Survey
A client information flyer was developed and reviewed by several CLB experts. It will provide information on CLB levels related to the CLBPT tasks. The printed flyer will be distributed to LINC assessment centres throughout Canada, and will also be available on-line for download.
A survey for CLBPT assessors was developed to collect information on best practices, training and professional development needs, as well as information on usage of the CLBPT.
These new resources were developed with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
WLA implementation in Alberta and British Columbia
The Workplace Language Assessment (WLA) provides a communicative English language assessment for inter-nationally educated individuals at CLB levels 7-10. It is designed for placement of candidates into bridge-to-employment programs where the national standard is used to determine eligibility. The WLA may also be used for advanced language training programs which focus on preparing newcomers for the Canadian workforce.
In 2009 the Government of Alberta funded the enhancement of the testing and training materials. The governments of Alberta and British Columbia supported the launch of the WLA in their respective provinces by supporting pilots of the launch, as well as training and certification of assessors. Twenty-one assessors were trained in these two provinces.
WLA Trainer Capacity in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario
In March CCLB organized a two-day training session to prepare a team of trainers with previous WLA experience who will provide WLA assessor training in their respective regions. These sessions were funded by the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
New Screening Tools for Citizenship Judges and Officers
CCLB is working in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to support Citizenship Judges and Officers in understanding the language levels of immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship.
CCLB has reviewed current materials and developed new screening tools for Judges and Officers to use. This project will continue into the next fiscal year, when CCLB will develop and deliver a training workshop based on the CLB and the tools created.
Assessment for Statistics Canada
In 2009 CCLB worked in partnership with Statistics Canada to adapt four versions of an English-language language assessment tool into French.