- Program Considerations
- Classroom Strategies
- Levels of ESL Literacy
Essentials › Program Considerations › Developing Learning Outcomes › Outcomes and the Canadian Language Benchmarks
Outcomes and the Canadian Language Benchmarks
In 2000, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, through the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) published two documents that provide a set of outcomes for ESL and ESL literacy learners in Canada:
- Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners
These are commonly referred to as ESL Literacy Benchmarks.
- Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: English as a Second Language for Adults
These are commonly referred to as ESL Benchmarks.
ESL literacy programs use both of these documents to set outcomes and measure the level and progress of ESL literacy learners.
ESL literacy learners receive an ESL Literacy Benchmark for reading, writing and numeracy and an ESL Benchmark for listening and speaking.
Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners
This CCLB document outlines the ESL Literacy Benchmarks. The ESL Literacy Benchmarks describe what ESL literacy learners are able to do at various stages of their development. The ESL Literacy Benchmarks are divided into four Phases:
- Foundation Phase
- Phase I
- Phase II
- Phase III
The ESL Literacy Benchmarks set language and literacy competencies or outcomes for each Phase in three different skill areas:
- Numeracy, except in the Foundation Phase
The Foundation Phase describes pre-reading and writing concepts and skills that students must develop before Phase I. The Foundation Phase of reading has been further divided into two stages, Initial and Developing, to reflect the development of concepts related to the printed page.
Phases I - III
Phases I - III include the skill areas of reading, writing and numeracy. The reading and writing skill areas are further divided into three stages:
The Numeracy Benchmarks are not divided into Initial, Developing and Adequate.
The CLB Literacy Document provides a list of conditions for each of the outcomes at the various Phases and stages. The conditions explain in what circumstances a learner will be able to complete an outcome and are just as critical as the outcomes themselves. Conditions may state, for example, how much support is provided and required from the instructor, how long a reading text should be, or how relevant and familiar a topic should be for writing.
The ESL Literacy Benchmarks are not a curriculum, nor are they a test. The ESL Literacy Benchmarks do not outline what an instructor does in the classroom to facilitate learning. However, they may be useful in the development of curriculum, materials or tests.
The ESL Literacy Benchmarks are primarily intended for instructors to help them determine the developmental level of their students and design appropriate teaching/learning activities.
Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: English as a Second Language for Adults
This CCLB document describes language development in twelve different levels, called Benchmarks. It sets outcomes for four different skill areas:
Listening and speaking Benchmarks from this resource can be used in both mainstream ESL and ESL literacy programs. The reading and writing outcomes in Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: English as a Second Language for Adults are not recommended for use in ESL literacy programs. A more appropriate resource is the Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: ESL for Literacy Learners.
Advantages of Using the CLB Documents
There are several clear advantages of using the CLB documents:
In Canada, the CCLB sets the national standard: If learners move to another program, city or province, their new instructors will understand their Benchmarks.
The CCLB recognizes the broad range of literacy: The CLB document recognizes that learners need continued literacy support beyond the lowest levels. Learners with many different kinds of literacy needs are recognized and included in the document.
They are an excellent source: Many years of work went into creating these outcomes and they are an excellent source when designing and implementing a program.
We recommend that instructors and program coordinators working in Alberta read and move toward using the CLB Literacy Benchmarks in their programs.