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Frequently asked questions

Questions about the Canadian Language Benchmarks

1. What are the Canadian Language Benchmarks?

 The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the standard used in Canada to teach and to test language learning in adult ESL programs. The CLB describe what people who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL) can do in daily life.

These are things that people at different benchmark levels can do.

  • Can you make an appointment with a doctor?
  • Can you fill out a job application?
  • Can you understand what you hear on radio and T.V.?
  • Can you write a letter to your employer?

Use the "Can Do" checklists to help you understand your benchmark levels. Click here How well do you use English?

2. Do you know your Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)?

Assessment centres and adult English as a Second Language (ESL) schools can assess your level of English now. After the assessment, you will receive a Canadian Language Benchmarks report. This information will help you find a class that is best for you.

3. How many benchmarks are there?

In total there are twelve benchmarks for:

  • Listening 1 - 12
  • Speaking 1 - 12
  • Reading 1 - 12
  • Writing 1 - 12

It is common for ESL students to have different benchmarks in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

An ESL student at Benchmark 1 has little or no English. A person at Benchmark 11 or Benchmark 12 in speaking, can speak English like a native speaker. Students who are at Benchmark 8 or Benchmark 9 or higher usually have enough English to begin a college or university program.

4. Do you know someone who cannot read or write in their first language?

There are different benchmarks for English as a Second Language students who have trouble with reading and writing.

To find out more click here CLB 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners

5. Why are benchmarks important to you?

  • Benchmarks are used in most adult ESL schools in Canada to plan teaching programs for adults.
  • Benchmarks can help you to plan for the future as you learn English.
  • Benchmarks can help an employer to know if you have the level of English needed to do the job.
  • Benchmark reports can help you to move from school to school or from city to city.
  • Benchmarks can help you to plan for study or work in the future.

6. Are you looking for an ESL class?

If you are looking for an ESL class to help you or a friend improve English language skills, go to an assessment centre or to an adult ESL school in your community. You can find an Assessment Centre in your area at this webpage Using Assessment Centres