Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Assessments Presented by Elena Durette, Kerry Louw and Bonnie Nicholas EDPY 593 March 3, 2008 L2 Assessment in Canada before the CLBA At our school, if students know the past tense, we put them in an intermediate class. I have a student who just moved from Ontario. He was in an intermediate class there, but here he’s a high beginner. What are the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)? 1991: Immigration Canada report to Parliament 1992: Consultation workshops 1993: National Working Group on Language Benchmarks 1995: Draft CLB document field-tested 2000: CLB 2000 published Ongoing: CLB are used for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, Stage I, Benchmarks 1 through 4 Stages II and III are used at higher levels Schematic Structure of the Canadian Language Benchmarks 12 benchmarks, divided into three proficiency stages The benchmarks are . . . a descriptive scale of communicative proficiency a framework of reference a national standard competency-based criterion-referenced learner-centred on a continuum task-based subjective analytical The competency-based approach Focuses on ‘what’ learners should be able to do Is concerned with attainment of specific standards criterion-referenced not norm-referenced Was first adopted in vocationally-oriented education and later accepted by policymakers and leaders in curriculum development as a “state-of-the-art” approach to ESL A CLB competency statement contains a task and a number of of ‘how well’ or standard statements (example of Writing Benchmark 3) Task: Write a short text about a personal or familiar situation. Performance Indicators: Conveys the message, reader can follow, uses appropriate language and content, describes time and location with precision, makes few errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling Source: Integrating CLB Assessment into your ESL Classroom (2005). Development of the CLB Assessment Tools 1995: Peel Board of Education (Ontario) contracted to develop assessment instruments (Pierce and Stewart) 1996: CLBA kit developed 1998: Federal funding for the CCLB 1998 - present: ongoing development of new assessment tools by CCLB 2002: CLBPT developed Now: free online assessment PD offered from CCLB CLB Tests and Assessment Tools for Adult ESL CCLB Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks CLBPT (Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test) LPT (Literacy Placement Tool) CLB Classroom Assessment CLB Summative Assessment (SAM) WLA (Workplace Language Assessment) CELBAN (Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses) Centre for Education and Training (CET) CanTEST Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees CLBA (Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment) CLBLA (Canadian Language Benchmarks Literacy Assessment) CLB Assessment in Edmonton LARCC (Language Assessment, Referral and Counseling Centre) at Catholic Social Services Pre-screening by intake workers Less than 6 years of education in home country (L1) Literacy Placement Tool LPT (LINC; low-stakes) Source: Annette Kreider, Catholic Social Services More than 6 years of education in home country (L1) CLB Placement Test CLBPT (LINC; low-stakes) CLBA (non-LINC client; higher stakes) An example of the streaming process Source: www.sait.ca CLBA was designed to be: Accountable to stakeholders User-friendly (efficient, reliable, cost-effective) CLB-compatible Able to place learners on a continuum Culturally accessible (not culture-free) Sources: Norton Pierce, B. & Stewart, G. (1997). The Development of the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment. TESL Canada Journal, 14, 2. Norton, B. & Stewart, G. (1999). Accountability in Language Assessment of Adult Immigrants in Canada. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 56, 2, 223-244 What is the CLBA? “a task-based assessment instrument assesses English proficiency from Benchmark 1 to Benchmark 8 tests English Listening / Speaking through one-onone interview tests Reading by means of passage and response to short answer / multiple choice questions tests Writing by means of authentic, life-applicable tasks The CLBA is recognized by language and adult training providers cross Canada and has attracted international interest.” Source: http://www.tcet.com/clba/about.aspx CLBA materials •CLBA kit is task-based •Tests all four skills in three separate instruments •Administered individually (writing component can be done in a group) •Can take up to 4 hours to complete •No cost to client at federally-funded centres CLBPT streamlined placement test; maximum 80 min can be administered in a group setting used to place adult learners in ESL programs 4 parallel versions task-based has been “validated to the CLBA scores” The CLBLA and the LPT Assessment tools for literacy learners Both measure the degree of literacy in the learner's first language, and are used to place clients in literacy classes CLBLA is available in 26 languages Original use of the CLBA “. . . there has never been any suggested purpose for the CLBA other than ESL classroom placement.” Source: Stewart, G. & Cohen, C. (2001). A response to a “Critical Review of the CLBA”. Contact, Spring 2001, p. 24 Current uses of the CLBA The following are uses for the CLBA endorsed by the CCLB: to allow learners to understand their progress in learning ESL As a proficiency test for: eligibility determination for language training programs, needs assessment, referral to appropriate training; facilitating initial placement into programs or classes, development of programming to meet specific language skills needs; to provide teachers, program administrators and funders with a potential program effectiveness indicator (Note: applicable only if the program has a CLB-based curriculum or curriculum framework); to provide assistance to employers in the development of appropriate training programs for their ESL learner employees Source: http://www.tcet.com/clba/uses.aspx?sel=q2&cat=services Reliability and Validity Measures “The final (CLBA) tests are sufficiently reliable. . . In a low-stakes placement test, these findings were deemed satisfactory. If this had been a highstakes, gatekeeping test for college entrance. . . We could not have been complacent.” Source: Norton Pierce, B. & Stewart, G. (1997). The Development of the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment. TESL Canada Journal, 14, 2. Assessing the CLB Assessment Tools CLBA takes up to 4 hours and measures what a client can do CLBPT takes less time and measures what a client cannot do well¹ CLBPT is “not as reliable as the CLBA. It has not been sufficiently validated.”² CLBPT “is validated to be reliable within 1 benchmark 95% of the time” but “the study on the test is not a public document”. ³ ¹http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/resources/evaluation/linc/findings.asp ²http://www.sait.ab.ca/pages/cometosait/internationalstudents/pdf/CLBA1107.pdf ³private correspondence with Jennifer McKay, Project Manager, Assessment, CCLB CLB Assessor Qualifications Knowledge of second language acquisition: 300 hours ESL teaching experience and ongoing PD and formal training or professional portfolio Experience in adult ESL assessment Cultural sensitivity Interview skills Decision-making skills Proficiency in English Source: http://www.language.ca/display_page.asp?page_id=271 CLB Assessor Training CLBA certification requires 5 days of “intensive instruction, skill application and coaching” http://www.tcet.com/clba/training.aspx?sel=q2&cat=services CLBLA (Literacy Assessment) requires CLBA certification, and is an additional 1.5 days of training. CLBPT requires a one-day training workshop. Cost: $750 for a license and material for 1 assessor; $325 for each assessor Summative Assessment Manual for Teachers (SAM) at CLB 4 Measures student achievement only after exposure to thematical and functional instruction For ESL teachers with adult learners in publicly funded programs (LINC and non-LINC) Based on the CLB framework, standards and curricula Piloted for reliability, validity and practicality Easy to use and administer Learner and context-sensitive Photocopiable NOT TO BE USED FOR: literacy students, placement purposes or general proficiency testing, or for testing without prior instruction in the theme SAM is not for: Students with literacy needs in their first language ESL learners who are literate in a non-Roman alphabet/script (i.e. Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi) who are in the early stages of applying their literacy skills to English “Administering SAM to literacy learners is not a fair assessment practice.” They should be assessed separately with a literacy-oriented tool. p. 3 Key Concepts in SAM Assessment Reliable: designed to produce consistent results if all the teacher-assessors use the scoring criteria on the same tasks in the same way Valid: designed to measure what it claims to measure - the achievement of selected CLB standards demonstrated through familiar topics and discourse/text formats. SAM’s Security Considerations “Validity depends on the security of its formal (standardized) assessment tools.” All teachers must ensure the security. “Care must be taken that the test is not compromised by rote memorization.” Not to be viewed by unauthorized people Should be stored in designated locked units Integrity rests on a firm commitment of teachers to securely handling and disposing of task copies and to safe record-keeping. (BUT . . . if you have $100, you can purchase a copy from the CCLB.) Administering a formal SAM 5-task sequence Task 1: Speak-Listen – Student/teacher interview Task 2: Listen Task 3: Speak Task 4: Write Task 5: Read (7 – 8 minutes) (15 minutes) (2 – 3 minutes) (20 minutes) (20 minutes) ______________ 65 minutes You be the ESL test-taker: . You be the ESL assessor. . . . SAM Reporting Language Competency Report: reports what the learner can do at Benchmark level and is issued at the student’s request for reference purposes outside of ESL programs. Teacher Recommendations: A form for office use to record the assessing teacher’s comments. The greatest challenge using the CLB is assessment It is important to me that what we do in the classroom is relevant and meaningful to learners. I don’t want to teach to a test. How can I assess learners based on the kinds of activities we do in class on an everyday basis? I teach in an academic bridging program that has begun to use the CLB. We’ve always had end of semester tests that include reading, writing, and grammar. How can I develop ongoing assessment related to the CLB that is relevant to learners’ academic goals? I’ve just started teaching in a program that uses the CLB standards. This CLB document looks overwhelming. How will I know whether learners are achieving what is expected at Benchmark 2? Where do I start? (Integrating CLB Assessment) Integrating CLB Assessment into your ESL Classroom (2005) Helps teachers with assessment practices Integrates teaching and learning activities into the classroom Relates to the CLB standards (CLBPT and CLBA) Meets program goals and the needs and interests of learners. Formative assessment - ongoing feedback about how learners are doing - identifies what they need to work on - assists teachers with planning activities Summative assessment - measures achievement of specific CLB outcomes Assessment for Learning Principles Clear outcomes and assessment criteria ‘How’ students learn along with ‘what’ they learn is embedded in teaching Emphasizes progress and achievement Shared understanding of goals (CLB CanDO posters explain expectations) Constructive guidance on how to improve Self-assessment leads to self-management Effective Assessment Practices Lead to Significant Improvements in Learning Sharing expectations and criteria with learners Focusing on comments-only feedback Encouraging self assessment CLB Assessment improves learning and motivation. Teachers become focused in giving feedback. An Assessment Process Model Planning for Learning and Assessment Using Information for Planning Setting Up Tasks and Collecting Information Analyzing Information and giving Feedback Back to: Who uses the CLB 2000? TESL professionals in educational institutions Adult ESL learners are the primary intended beneficiaries. Learners become aware of the CLB mostly through their ESL instructors who share and interpret the main ideas and can help them achieve a CLB standard. ( CLB 2000 ) ESL schools use the CLB 2000 for teaching and testing 12 levels of English listening, speaking, reading and writing. Level 1 students have little or no English Level 12 students are fluent speakers of English Level 9 or above usually have enough English for university, college or professional communication. Post-secondary institutions and employers refer to CLB levels. The CLB tells what people can do in English in daily communication. Can you answer questions about your name, address and phone number? Can you fill out an application form or write a memo? Can you listen to a news report on the radio? Can you write a report for your boss? The CLB summary checklists at each level help ESL learners mark language-learning progress and articulate goals. CLB Resources for the Teacher The CLB framework helps teachers plan units of work that support learners to develop their communicative language skills through real world tasks and activities. Classroom teaching resources referenced to the CLB: CLB 2000 A Guide to Implementation (2001) CLB 2000 Additional Sample Task Ideas (2002) LINC Classroom Activities Books 1 – 4 NorQuest College Canadian Snapshots Level 3 and 6 Longman CLB 2000 ESL for Literacy Learners (2001) CLB publications and resources CLB / CLB Assessments I Pros Cons national standardization teaching to the test accountability to funders restricts the language learning to “survival-English” skills functional teachers lack training and power to administer CLBPT There are no objective means for deciding that one functional item is more complex than another many LINC classes have nonliterate in L1 as L2 learners CBLT supports our social order and need for a working class & is designed to teach compliance Teacher-friendly assessment tool in SAMs Functions can be expressed in many different ways and at many different levels of complexity CBLT (competency-based language teaching) is a rational approach to adult education CBLT is geared towards adult learners successfully functioning as equal members in a changing society Has become high-stakes testing for some CLB / CLB Assessments II Pros Cons Readily-available resources, and CLB drives the market more being published (books and online resources) Thematically-based, contextembedded CLB gives a framework for beginning teachers Complexities of funding issues Reliability and validity issues Themes can be restrictive for teachers CLB can be overwhelming for beginning teachers Few testing centres; assessment training is expensive Reliability and validity issues ESL schools often retest students who have been assessed at testing centres Disconnect from ESL learners in the K-12 system Transformative Education While not perfect, it is possible that “competencies become tools in service of a transformative education, rather than a constraining framework for instruction.” Auerbach (1988) References Auerbach, E. R. (1988). Competency-based ESL: one step forward or two steps back? TESOL Quarterly, 20. Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. www.language.ca CLB 2000. Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Citizenship and Immigration Canada Centre for Education & Training. (CLBA website) http://www.tcet.com/clba/default.aspx?sel=r2&cat=services Cohen, Carolyn. (2003). From Art to Science with Art: LINC Assessor as ESL Professional. Association of Teachers of English as a Second Language of Ontario, Contact, Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2003. Fox, J. & Courchêne, R. (2005). The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB): A Critical Appraisal. Contact, Vol. 31, No. 2, Special Issue 2005. Hudson, T. (2005). Trends in Assessment Scales and Criterion-Referenced Language Assessment. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (2005) 25, 205– 227. Integrating CLB Assessment into your ESL Classroom (2005). Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. The Government of Alberta and Citizenship and Immigration Canada References Norton Pierce, B. & Stewart, G. (1997). The Development of the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment. TESL Canada Journal, 14, 2. Norton, B. & Stewart, G. (1999). Accountability in Language Assessment of Adult Immigrants in Canada. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 56, 2, 223-244 Rossiter, M. J., & Pawlikowska-Smith, G. (1999). The use of CLBA scores in LINC program placement practices in western Canada. TESL Canada Journal, 16, 39-52. SAM (2004). Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. The Government of Alberta and Citizenship and Immigration Canada Stewart, G. & Cohen, C. (2001). A response to a “Critical Review of the CLBA”. Contact, Spring 2001, p. 24. (Note: we were unable to locate a copy of the original article.) Watt, D.L.E. & Lake, D.M. (2001). The CLBA-TOEFL Comparison Study.Contact, 27(2), 10-13. Thanks to Annette Kreider, LINC team Leader, Catholic Social Services and Jennifer McKay, Project Manager, Assessment, Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Selected online resources www.language.ca This is the home page of the Canadian Language Benchmarks. The site can be a bit confusing to navigate, but there is a wealth of information here. http://www.tcet.com/clba/default.aspx?sel=r2&cat=services This is the homepage of the CLBA and the CLBLA. http://atwork.settlement.org/downloads/linc/clba.pdf This link will take you to the CLBA Projects, Benchmarks Competency Assessment training: A Guide to Assigning Benchmarks. http://www.sait.ab.ca/pages/cometosait/internationalstudents/pdf/CLBA1107.pdf This is the CLBA information package published by SAIT for its students. http://ucalgary.ca/clal/assessment/whichtest A comparison of which proficiency tests the U of Calgary accepts and the cost of each test. http://www.norquest.ca/programs/business/officeprof.htm This page shows equivalencies among CLBA, TOEFL and other standardized tests accepted by NorQuest College. http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/resources/evaluation/linc/findings.asp Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) was the impetus behind the development of the CLB. This is a summary of a 2004 government report on linc, including a very interesting section on “The Adequacy of the Assessment Tools.” http://education.ucalgary.ca/dean/htdocs/displayAttachment.php?id=58 Proceedings of the Immigration, Integration and Language Public Policy Conference, held in Calgary in 2006. http://www.ealta.eu.org/documents/resources/annobib-altern.pdf This is an annotated bibliography on assesment alternatives. http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/collections/factsheets.html This is the website for CAELA, the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, which seems to be the U.S. equivalent of our CLB.