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Monday, November 01, 2010

ESL Teacher Blog: A New Tool To Assess Canadian English

While at the TESL Ontario Conference this past weekend, I came across a flyer introducing a new online tool that allows to test English language skills based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs). I logged on to the website developed with the support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and even took a test!

It seems that the system is only built to test reading and listening (no speaking and writing components could be seen), and the listening test was unavailable due to upgrading (at the time I checked it out).

For those of us who teach non-credit ESL adult classes where assessment is done quite informally, it could be of some help to determine students’ current levels based on CLBs. The test could be done at school or home; and can be stopped and resumed at any time.
After an initial sign-up (some general personal information is collected), the test-takers are directed to the reading/listening sections of the test. The reading part consists of 12 tasks to be completed in an hour.

At the end of the test, an approximate CLB level is suggested, and although it cannot be used as an official assessment document, it can be of a general indication of where to place a student and whether to promote him/her to the next level.

This new tool does offer some relief to the instructors and can validate their decisions on student level placement, if necessary.
It’s worth printing out (the screen shot of the home page) and posting on the school bulletin board or referring students for their own self-assessment purposes.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 6:18 PM
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