Canadian Language Benchmarks
Our ESL courses are based on Canadian Language Benchmarks
STAGE 1 – BEGINNER COMPETENCE
BEGINNER 1 – WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 1Initial competence in basic oral communication. Follows/responds to simple greetings and instructions. Understands only a small number of words and simple learned phrases. Responds with yes/no, isolated words or strings of 2/3 words. No evidence of connected discourse. Has almost no control of basic grammar structures or tenses. May use L1 at times, needs assistance.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 2Beginning competence in basic oral communication. Learner functions minimally within a clear, predictable context related to immediate needs and within topics of immediate personal relevance. Understands and uses a small number of words, simple learned phrases, short sentences of basic structure. Asks and responds to simple predictable questions. Deals with questions about occupation, marital status, family, housing, food preferences, size, color, number. Can talk about things that are fun to do.For description/examples of learning outcomes for Benchmarks 1 and 2, see pages 5/6 Curriculum Guide.
BEGINNER 2 - WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 3Developing competence in basic oral communication. Can take part in short informal conversation about personal experience. Responds to/asks questions about occupation, work experience, martial status, family housing, weather, wants, needs, plans, daily routines/activities, hobbies, interests, health, feelings. Uses simple past with common verbs. Sometimes need support from assessor. Some evidence of connected discourse. Has some control of basic grammar structures and tenses. Vocabulary generally adequate for basic oral communication. Asks/answers yes/no, “wh” questions. Demonstrates strategies to check for understanding.For description/examples of learning outcomes for Benchmark 3, see pages 31/32 Curriculum Guide.
BEGINNER 3 – WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 4Adequate competence in basic oral communication. Learner communicates within predictable contexts, everyday familiar topics of personal relevance. Takes part in simple, formal/informal conversations with effort, uses limited everyday vocabulary. Clear evidence of connected discourse. Recognizes and uses past, present, future indicators. Can tell a simple story using familiar vocabulary in past, present, and future time. Can express need, preference, satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Can agree, compromise, accept, reject.
STAGE 2 – INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCE COMPETENCE
INTERMEDIATE 1 – WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 5Communicates in predictable, familiar everyday situations. Understands and uses a variety of sentence structures. Structures are mostly simple, some fragmented, but varied. Discourse is reasonably fluent. Grammar and pronunciation errors sometimes impede communication. Can follow simple, repetitive, predictable media announcements. Can explain simply a sequence of events, with reasons and results (must, why, because, but, so). Expresses necessity, reason, agreement, and disagreement.
INTERMEDIATE 2 – WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 6Learner can communicate in less predictable contexts in common daily situations related to needs, familiar topics, some unfamiliar vocabulary. Follows main ideas in simple formal/informal conversations face to face. Understands and uses a variety of structures with reduced accuracy, grammar and pronunciation errors, but discourse is reasonable fluent, of moderate length. Information content is complex, with detail and requires careful listening and complex questioning. Can describe characteristics/strengths required of people in different social roles. Can indicate difficulty in communication by paraphrasing and asking for clarification. Can give suggestions and advice. Can predict consequences.
INTERMEDIATE 3 – WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCMARK 7Leaner can communicate orally in unpredictable contexts, can function independently in some familiar situations. Can have an extended conversation on a general interest topic, handles some unfamiliar vocabulary at a slow to normal rate of speech. Understands and uses a range of common idioms. Understands and asks open-ended questions in present, past, and future tenses (simple, continuous, and perfect aspect). A variety of longer, compound and complex sentences appear, linguistic/structural errors appear but rarely impede communication. Discourse is of moderate length, with complex, detailed information content needed for analysis, comparison, and some decision-making. Can compare and contrast. Can express or ask about possibility, probability
AT THE ADVANCED LEVEL STUDENTS WILL BE WORKING ON AND ACHIEVING:
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 8Learner communicates in some unpredictable contexts, functions independently in most familiar situations. Follows formal/informal conversations on most practical, social, work topics with some unfamiliar vocabulary, slow/normal rate of speech. Comfortably engages in conversation at an abstract level. Discourse is fluent. Grammar and pronunciation errors do not impede communication. Uses an expanded inventory of concrete, idiomatic, and conceptual language. Can determine mood, attitude, and feelings. Chooses expressions appropriately to level of formality. Narrates, relates, presents and reports events, activities, stories, experience and general information of personal and popular interest effectively enough for the listener to follow. Agents, actions, circumstance, process and sequence are clear. Comments, analyses and expresses opinion. Can use embedded and report structures, e.g. I think, believe, suppose, anyway, more of less, luckily, at least, unfortunately, finally, generally.
For more detailed description and examples of learning outcomes for each Benchmark, refer to the learning outcomes for the Benchmarks in the Curriculum Guide.
STAGE 1 – BEGINNER COMPETENCE
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 1Learner functions minimally in understanding written text. May be literate in same alphabet, but shows little word sight recognition. Has no ability to phonetically decode and sound out unfamiliar words, unless there is transfer from L1. Can understand very basic forms. Can understand a very simple 2-3-sentence text.Understands common public signs.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCMARK 2Learner understands a variety of short written instructions, common forms, public signs, basic information on product labels etc. Learner reads and understands short texts with simple sentences about everyday situations, finding a main idea and specific information about people, places, and events. Can read silently and aloud. Understanding of text is limited by knowledge of the language itself.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 3Leaner understands s simple paragraph, finding the main idea and specific information about people, events, places. Extracts information from newspapers, magazines, written notices and advertisements, flyers, labels, tags. Reads unsimplified authentic texts rarely and usually with great difficulty.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 4Understands 2-3 paragraphs of simple prose, finding the main ideas and supporting points. Understands the purpose of and gets information from news items, brochures, and advertisements. Compares facts and make choices. Guesses the meanings of some new words from context but learner still uses bilingual dictionary compulsively. Can read some authentic texts of factual nature with literal language. Can read silently for meaning, with little or no visible or audible vocalization.
STAGE 2 – INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED COMPETENCE
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 5Learner can find the main idea and supporting points of a short newspaper article., magazine item. Can read some authentic texts, mostly factual nature within familiar context and experience. Language is mostly concrete, factual and literal but vocabulary items on abstract ideas become more frequent. Can guess the meanings of some new words from context. Learner uses a bilingual dictionary. Can read silently for meaning without visible or audible vocalization efforts, but reads slowly. Meaning is conceptual, factual, information explicit, with direct reference.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 6Understands short articles, personal and form letters, memos, and simple fiction. Can find information in all parts of the newspaper. Learner uses a bilingual dictionary from time to time, but can use a concise unilingual dictionary. Language is mostly concrete, factual and literal but vocabulary items on abstract ideas become frequent. Learner may have passive knowledge of vocabulary, but cannot use vocabulary in spoken language. Learner reads English for information, to learn the language and to develop reading skills but begins to read simple articles and stories for pleasure.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 7Learner can read an authentic 1-2 page long text of mostly factual information with some abstract ideas. Unfamiliar words and idioms are present, content detail increases, grammatical structures include tenses and aspect, passives, derivations of parts of speech, compound and complex structures. Texts contain fact and opinion, some information is explicit, some implied. Unfamiliar words are easier to guess – the learner relies increasingly on her/his developing “grammar of expectancy”, and uses a unilingual dictionary often for confirmation/precision.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 8Understands longer authentic texts (2 –3) pages which give facts/opinions, informs/persuades, and may have some cultural influences. Lexical, grammatical, rhetorical cohesion devices are complex in range and demanding to follow. Learner is able to deal with unknown words, phrases and implications. Understands implied information, distinguishes fact and opinion. Text requires knowledge of synonyms, word derivations, coordination and subordination clauses. Often attempts successfully to reconstruct the missing elements without a dictionary. Uses knowledge of word families to expand vocabulary.
For more detailed description and examples of the learning outcomes for each Benchmark, refer to the learning outcomes for the Benchmarks in the Curriculum Guide.
STAGE 1 – BEGINNER COMPETENCE
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 1Learner functions minimally in writing. May be literate in the same alphabet but lacks ability to phonetically encode and write unfamiliar words unless there is transfer from L1. May be able to write basic personal information, a few phrases-or sentences about herself/himself. Can copy.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 2Writes some simple sentences or phrases about self or family or other highly familiar information in the form of a simple description, either as answers to questions or when guided by some other format of text or context. Writing is limited by knowledge of the language itself. Has occasional difficulty with simple structures, limited control of spelling and mechanics. Leaves gaps in the story.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 3Can describe a person, object, place, situation, event. Writes simple sentences, some linked with and/but. Writing can be difficult to understand because if transfer from L1. Uses basic simple tenses, time signals to refer to past, present, future. Uses prepositional phrases of time and location.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 4Can write a short text about personal or familiar situation. Can describe in the past, with regular and frequently used irregular past tense morphemes mostly correct. Can describe plan or intent for future. Gives reasons. The mostly one-clause sentences are enriched with modifiers (adjectives/adverbs).
STAGE 2 – INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED COMPETENCE
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 5Produces a coherent text (beginning, middle, end) with proper sequencing of events. Conveys ideas clearly. Uses sufficient vocabulary within topic. Uses simple and compound sentences, some present perfect. Gives reasons. Linguistic means of expression remain simple with errors in accuracy and awkward sounding phrases, possibly borrowings from L1.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 6Produces coherent text (2 paragraphs) with proper development and linking of ideas, some detail. Uses present perfect, modals, time clauses. Demonstrates sufficient vocabulary within topic. Complex ideas are expressed, for example a report about a career, occupation or an individual’s job/ position. Linguistic means of expression are relatively simple. Sentences are simple, compound, and a few complex.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 7Writing is coherent, well-developed, precise and detailed. Length of text 3 paragraphs but discourse structure beyond 1 paragraph can seem awkward in textual cohesion and logical coherence of information. Uses complex structures, e.g. comparison and contrast, adjective clauses, embedded clauses/reported speech, time relations in the past (simple, continuous, perfect), used to, agent-event relations. Some passive voice. Structures are increasingly complex to reflect agent-event relations, logical relations of contrast, time, cause and reason, purpose and comment. Writing is clear in ideas but contains errors and stylistically rigid use of structures.
Canadian Language Benchmarks - BENCHMARK 8Structures are complex. Can write a coherent, well-developed paragraph. Can join 3-4 paragraphs into a larger text. Discourse structure may seem awkward especially in textual cohesion. Writing although clear in ideas to the reader, contains accuracy and lexical collocation errors, and lacks flexibility in style. Uses active and passive voice, hypothetical conditional structures, linking transitional devices (e.g. however, therefore, as a result, so, if), embedded clauses, reported speech, past perfect, agents-events relations (who, did what, to whom or what, how, where and when). Can summarize relatively effectively one page long continuous prose.
Canadian Language Benchmarks based ESL course descriptions