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References and PD Resources

For Canadian Language Benchmarks and Portfolio Based Language Assessment

This section includes resources that informed this section as well as resources (academic articles, websites, videos, tutorials, courses, etc.) for professional development and further learning on this topic.

A webinar on setting up e-portfolios on the EduLINC Moodle site.

Learnit2teach. (April, 2020). PBLA Digital Portfolios in EduLINC. [Video]. YouTube.

This document shows the Canadian descriptive scale of language ability in ESL. It describes a continuum of language ability across 12 benchmarks and 4 skills. It serves as a national standard for curriculum planning as well as a reference for teaching/learning, programming, and assessment.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2012). Canadian language benchmarks: English as a second language for adults.

This document provides an orientation to the CLB document.

This website includes CLB/PBLA resources for teachers and learners.

It also includes training related to the Canadian Language Benchmarks, CLB-referenced resources, and PBLA. Specifically, see the following online courses:

  • CLB Bootcamp (10-hour asynchronous, self-directed)
  • Maximizing the CLB Support Kit (90-minute asynchronous , self-directed)
  • An Orientation to ESL for ALL (20-hour asynchronous, self-directed)
  • CLB: ESL for ALL Support Kit (3-4 hour asynchronous, self-directed)
  • CLB-Literacy Placement Test (only available to CLBPT or CLBA certified assessors)
  • PBLA (program administrators of federally funded programs can register their instructors)

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (n.d.).

This webpage includes research supporting the Canadian Language Benchmarks (see especially the Theoretical Framework for the CLB and NCLC).

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (n.d.). Research/theoretical framework.

This document can be downloaded from the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website or accessed on Tutela.

ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL) is a benchmarking document that serves as a standard for curriculum planning and a reference for teaching, learning, and assessment of adult ESL literacy learners.

Part 1 addresses key issues related to ESL literacy instruction and includes a series of tables identifying progressions of skills, knowledge, and strategies in three stages: emerging, building, and expanding.

Part 2 is the benchmarking portion. It includes descriptions of 5 levels of ESL literacy Reading and ESL literacy Writing, relating each of these to the CLB benchmarks.

Part 3 is a series of tables describing a continuum of ESL literacy skills, addressing 9 key strands of literacy development for Reading and Writing.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2015). Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for adult literacy learners.

This document can be downloaded for free from the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website.

This is a support kit for the CLB ESL for ALL benchmarking document.

Specifically, see the sections assessing literacy learners (p. 63–71), giving feedback to literacy learners (p. 72–80), and multilevel instruction and assessment (p.81–86).

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2017). CLB: ESL for ALL support kit.

This version of the PBLA Guidelines replaces 2014 and 2017 documents. The electronic platform includes the following:

  • Portfolios: This section includes required components, expectations, feedback and assessments, and portfolio artefacts. It also includes sample forms, inventory sheets, and considerations for multilevel classes.
  • Reporting: This section includes making judgments about portfolio contents, learner progress reports, reporting periods, and a variety of reporting forms.
  • Accountability: This section includes administrator tips for supporting PBLA implementation, along with other supporting documents.
  • Resources: This section includes a series of multilevel module plans that include skill-building activities, skill-using activities, and PBLA assessment tasks. Also included is a list of PBLA training courses.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2019). PBLA practice guidelines.

The PBLA Practice Guidelines can also be accessed in PDF format:

See the “Portfolios – Content and management” section for clarification regarding portfolio contents.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2019). FAQ 2019–2020. PBLA Practice Guidelines.

Following the model of the Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a Second Language for Adults, this document describes ability levels of receptive American Sign Language (ASL) and productive (ASL) as well as levels of reading and writing ability of Deaf immigrants.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2019). Canadian Language Benchmarks for the Deaf. Working draft.

This video gives an overview of the features of the Avenue ePortfolio.

Learnit2teach. (2020, December). Avenue ePortfolio demonstration with Q & A [Video]. YouTube.

This online text provides an excellent overview of assessment in CLB-aligned classrooms.

  • Chapter 1 distinguishes between assessment for learning and assessment of learning and includes strategies and practices for assessment for learning in ESL classes.
  • Chapter 2 discusses how to plan for assessment in the CLB-aligned classroom.
  • Chapter 3 describes how to design productive skills assessment tasks (Speaking/Writing). It covers choosing a task type, aligning the task to the CLB, selecting appropriate criteria, and determining what represents success. Examples of weighting tools and rubrics are provided for both Speaking and Writing.
  • Chapter 4 describes how to design receptive skills assessment tasks (Listening/Reading). It covers choosing a task type, aligning the task to the CLB, ensuring the text and task are level appropriate, and appropriate question types for different levels.

Holmes, T., Habke, A., & Schmuck, S. (2005, 2017). Integrating CLB assessment into your ESL classroom. Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks.

Tutela offers a wide variety of webinars on topics related to instruction, the CLB, and PBLA. To access the webinars, Sign into Tutela, and then:

  • Select Events & Webinars tab
  • Select Past Events
  • Search for relevant topics
  • Click on View to watch the video and access handouts

Tutela. (2021). Events and webinars.