For Language Assessors

CLB Placement Test (CLBPT)

The Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT) is a streamlined assessment instrument that is an adaptable, efficient means to place adult learners in ESL programs. It is task-based, assesses four language skills (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking), and is aligned with the Canadian Language Benchmarks levels 1 – 8. There are four parallel versions of the CLBPT.

Disclaimer: The Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT) is a low-stakes assessment developed for placement into a federally or provincially funded LINC, ESL or other training program that has a language component. With a margin of error of plus or minus one benchmark, any assessment outside the scope of the tool and the license cannot be endorsed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB). CCLB, licensed CLBPT assessment centres and certified CLBPT language assessors are not liable when results are used for purposes outside the scope of the tool.

Currently the CLBPT is available only to assessment centres and to all government-funded adult ESL programs throughout the country which meet the CLBPT policy requirements. In some regions, additional restrictions may apply.

CLBPT licensed sites may order CLBPT test materials using the following form:

Please download the National Placement and Progression Guidelines.

CLBPT Licensed Sites

Site licensing and assessor training

CCLB does not train individuals on the placement tests; it only provides training to approved assessor candidates for licensed sites as it is a placement tool used by licensed assessment providers for publicly funded organizations.

In order to be trained as a CLBPT assessor, CCLB must receive a request from a licensed organization for you to complete the training. If a program would like to become licensed to use the CLBPT to place students into the proper ESL level according to the Canadian Language Benchmarks, then the coordinator of the program would have to contact CCLB directly to apply to become a licensed site. If a program is eligible then CCLB can move forward with the process.

The requirements to become a CLBPT licensed site are:

  • have the ability to administer the CLBPT test securely
  • have employed staff with the credentials and experience to become assessors
  • are a publicly funded language training program for newcomers / immigrants

Only organizations that would use the test for placement into LINC/ESL programs (or even bridging programs) would qualify to become a CLBPT site.

As part of the license agreement process, CCLB requires either:

  • A letter from the funder to warrant a site has been designated an assessment site and for what purpose. Preferably, it would be someone above the level of your project officer OR
  • A copy of a contribution agreement, showing that the statement of work includes assessment services and for what purpose.
CLBPT Assessors

For staff to become qualified assessors they need to have:

  • A recognized University degree in English, linguistics/languages or similar field
  • TESL training recognized by TESL Canada or Provincial teaching credentials
  • Taught at least 300 hours of ESL to adults (should be in Canada)
  • Knowledge of CLB demonstrated through use of and/or participation in CLB workshops

Sessions are set on an as requested basis. If a licensed site requests a training from CCLB, then CCLB will work with the site to set up a session including costs. Training is a 1 day session followed by a 3 month certification period that requires the candidate to conduct 10 real assessments and submit 3 to the trainer for certification.

 Understanding your CLBPT Assessment Report

Workplace Language Assessment (WLA)

Workplace Language Assessment (WLA) – based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks.

The WLA provides a communicative assessment of language proficiency for internationally-educated newcomers whose first language is not English. It is designed for placement of candidates into bridge to employment programs where the national standard (CLB 7 – 10) is used to help determine eligibility.

The WLA may also be used for higher-level language training programs which have, as their focus, preparing newcomers for the Canadian workforce. In 2009, the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia supported the launch of the WLA in their respective provinces.

WLA Licensed Sites


Bow Valley College
ESL Department North Campus Address
332 – 6 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB  T2G 4S6
Tel: 403-410-3400

Immigrant Language and Vocational
Assessment-Referral Centre (ILVARC)
910 -7th Avenue South West, Room 1401
Calgary, AB  T2P 3N8
Tel: (403) 262-2656

Language Assessment Referral and Counseling Centre (LARCC)
10709 – 105th Street
Edmonton, AB  T5H 2X3
Tel: (780) 424-3545

Norquest College, Main Campus
10215 – 108 Street
Edmonton, AB  T5J 1L6
Tel: 780-644-5916

British Columbia

Vancouver Community College
VCC Broadway Campus Assessment Centre
1155 East Broadway
Vancouver, BC  V5T 4V5
Tel: 604-871-7093

Camosun College, Assessment Centre
Lansdowne Campus
3100 Foul Bay Road
Victoria BC  V8P 5J2
Tel: 250–370–3597


Algonquin College, Language Institute
1385 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa, ON  K2G 1V8
Tel: (613) 727-4723 ext. 5700

Who can use the WLA tool?

Assessors using the WLA should:     

  • have previous training and experience in use of the CLBPT and /or the CLBA, or
  • an equivalency determined by the CCLB.

WLA Assessor Training

The CCLB endeavours to offer cost-efficient training sessions to assessors in each region.

Training Requests: Training requests for WLA assessor training are handled on a case-by-case basis. The cost of training will be determined by the number of trainees attending the session, the location of the session, and the availability of a WLA regional trainer.

If you would like to get your name on the waiting list for training and to find out if your organization qualifies to become a WLA licensed site, please contact

National Placement and Progression Guidelines

Please see Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new National Placement and Progression Guidelines for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a CLBPT assessor?

You can only be trained as a CLBPT assessor if you already work for a licensed CLBPT site. The administrator of the site will contact CCLB on your behalf and request training. Once you are approved for training, we will organize the session with your administrator.


What are the guidelines for storing clients’ test results?

Following the guidelines found in the licensing agreement your site has with CCLB, your organization must keep physical copies of a client’s test result for a period of two (2) years in the most secure way possible. Electronic copies of the test results should be kept indefinitely.


Assessors find descriptors such as “adequate” “good” and “very good” vague especially when trying to determine between 2 levels (e.g., whether a client is 3 or 4).

We recommend going back to the CLB descriptors to help you find some subtle differences. For example, in the table below the last bullet helps (the assessor asks himself “Do I understand what I am reading fairly easily?):








If a test taker has achieved 70% of the requirements in a writing band for a given task, does this mean they have achieved that level?

Following the National Language Placement and Progression Guidelines: As a general rule, the benchmarks assigned to a learner at the time of placement assessment, summative in-class assessment, or high-stakes language test, mean that the learner has achieved, and demonstrated the level of communicative ability associated with most or all (traditionally, 70 to 100%) of the descriptors for the benchmarks assigned in each of the four skills. A learner who has been assigned a given benchmark is said to have completed that benchmark for the given language skill.


If the writing of a test taker is illegible, what should I do?

If you can’t read your client’s writing, then you cannot give a score; but we would advise to consider whether the client has literacy needs. Make notes/comments in the “comment” section of the Assessment Report.