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Screening Tests & Diagnostic Assessment

What’s a Screening Test?
A screening test provides an objective, initial assessment of a student’s English language skills based on set benchmarks.

What’s the Purpose of a Screening Test?
The purpose of the test is to identify students who may benefit from additional, weekly Language Support classes during their studies. Screening test results will not exclude students from any programs or classes.

Who Takes the Screening Test?
All students in programs that offer Language Support should take the test. Students take the test regardless of first language, language upbringing, or previous schooling.

How Long Does It Take?
The test takes 32 minutes plus 5 minutes for a survey.

When Does a Student Take It?
Students should take the test before the start of the semester, at the latest in the first two weeks of the semester.

Why Test Only Reading and Vocabulary?
The test methods are recognized methods for screening language abilities for postsecondary preparedness. A similar approach is used with the DELNA (University of Auckland). Reading and vocabulary were also chosen on the premise that they are predictors of success in postsecondary (Andrade, 2006).

Where Are the Words in the Vocabulary Test From?
Words have been chosen from the BNC COCA corpora and are based on word frequency in English; therefore, some of the words are considered ‘less frequent’ and hard to relate to in terms of their daily use, because they don’t fall within the first 5,000-6,000 most frequently used words in English. We could use words from other fields, but other low frequency words would be equally challenging for students.


Language Success Team

Future Skills Centre

Government of Canada

Young Newcomers and International Students in Diploma Programs: Shock-Proofing Through Language Confidence is funded by the Government of Canada under the Future Skills program