Essential Skills Assessment Tool

The purpose of the essential skills assessment is to help instructors prepare English language learner (ELL) newcomers for future Canadian workplace success. The assessment provides a snapshot of the students’ workplace essential skill levels in reading, document use, numeracy, writing and listening. There is no pass or fail for this assessment and its objective is to determine ELL newcomers’ essential skills level. This test can be used as a one time test or it can be used in as a pre-/post-assessment to evaluate skill gain and areas for further upskilling.

Essential skills assessed:

  • Reading - the ability to understand and interpret information presented in texts such as notes and memos.
  • Document Use - the ability to find, understand or enter information in documents such lists, tables and graphs.
  • Numeracy - the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers, decimals, fractions and per cents.
  • Listening Skills - the ability to interpret and act on information presented orally.
  • Writing Skills - the ability to identify correct grammar and write sentences and paragraphs.

To provide feedback or ask questions about this assessment tool, email

If you are interested in using this tool with newcomer ELL learners in an educational program, contact

Access the essential skills assessment

Note: you will need your password to log in.

Project Leads:

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

Kim Chaba, Instructor
Faculty of Skills and Foundational Learning
NorQuest College

Contact Information


LINC Program Page:
LINC at NorQuest College