CLB-ES comparative framework

Updating the Essential Skills/Canadian Language Benchmark comparative framework

Project team

NorQuest College (lead: Lisa Rochman)
Centre for the Canadian Language Benchmarks (lead: Krista Walsh-Murray)
InQuire Consulting


Provided by InQuire Consulting

Relating Canadian Language Benchmarks to Essential Skills: A Comparative Framework (CF) was produced in 2005 for the purpose of bringing together the communicative abilities described in the Essential Skills (ES) and the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB). The CF was designed from the perspective of Essential Skills, with the focus on illustrating how CLB levels lined up with ES tasks and descriptors.

The CF shows that the Essential Skills generally require language ability that aligns with Stage II and Stage III of the CLB scale. For this reason, the original CF document was used primarily by ESL practitioners working with learners at CLB 5 or higher.

Because instructors working with learners at CLB Stage I were interested in finding ways to incorporate Essential Skills principles into their classroom activities, a second resource was later developed for their use. This foundational framework was introduced as the Essential Skills Primer: CLB Stage I, and it included suggestions for activities that could help lower-level learners work toward developing the skills, strategies and abilities to eventually accomplish ES tasks.

The CF and ES Primer have been in use for more than a decade, during which time revisions have been made to the Canadian Language Benchmarks document.

Request comparative framework

The Comparative Framework is still a working document. If you would like a copy to review, provide your name and email address, and you will be sent a link to download it. We will be soliciting feedback and input from people who access the document. Once the document is finalized, we will notify the people who downloaded the working copy that the final copy is available.

Download a copy of the comparative framework

Project leads

Lisa Rochman

Associate Dean,
Faculty of Skills and Foundational Learning,
NorQuest College

Kim Chaba

Faculty of Skills and Foundational Learning,
NorQuest College

Contact information