Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a Second Language for Adults


(ISSN 978-1-100-20772-8)

This document remains the property of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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

The Canadian Language Benchmarks are: 

  • a set of descriptive statements about successive levels on the continuum of language ability. 
  • a description of communicative competencies and performance tasks through which learners demonstrate application of language knowledge (i.e., competence) and skill (i.e., ability). 
  • a national standard for planning curricula for language instruction in a variety of contexts. 
  • a framework of reference for learning, teaching, programming and assessing adult ESL in Canada.

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