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Definition of the Bilingual Proficiency

With globalization and increases to immigration, the acquisition of a second or foreign language has become an essential element in negotiations and socio-economic integration, particularly when newcomers choose to settle into a society with two official languages. Bilingualism is much more than the attributes of a person who speaks two languages. The definition as well as the phenomenon of bilingualism itself are not static. An individual’s language skill level varies according to his or her choice of language or languages, his or her role, identity, and type of situation. It is in considering the premises of second languages and their respective components as communication skills that the BPF’s bilingual proficiency is defined as:

« The interaction of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in English, in French, or alternately in both languages, within a specific action in the workplace.»

Bilingual Proficiency Levels

The BP Levels are founded from the interaction of both Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and the Essential Skills (ES) Profiles. The reference systems known as the CLBs and the ES are the base from which the Bilingual Proficiency properties are defined, which is the Framework.

The framework

Bilingual Proficiency Assessment

The process of assessing Bilingual Proficiency is subdivided into two types of assessment. The first type is an analytic approach based on selected criteria. The second type consists of a holistic approach based on the relevance and efficiency of the response, i.e. the whole performance of the individual in comprehending and communicating a message while interacting with others. The levels considered in the BPF assessment, the criteria and the observable and measurable behaviors are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Essential Skills.

Portfolio Approach

The BPF project development team proposed a portfolio approach along the course of the learner's progress, that is, from the initial evaluation through the classes in bilingual proficiency.

Key Pillars of the BPF and the Portfolio Approach:

  • communication is at the basis of the evaluation and training;
  • everything is learner-centred;
  • emphasis is placed on professional context (by sectors);
  • training reflects three types of ability: knowledge, skills, and attitude;
  • the heart of the training uses tasks to reach the learning objectives;
  • themes are chosen based on the BPF's sectors;
  • tasks represent what takes place in the real world; they are authentic;
  • validation of learned material is ongoing with learning evaluations and summary evaluations;
  • a positive approach is maintained through the learner's progress;
  • evaluation and instruction use one approach in order to foster and maintain learner motivation.