Judit Kovacs & Team

2020 Front-Line Innovative Leadership (C) Award - Calgary

Nominator Comments:

The Language Assessment and Referral Centre at Immigrant Services Calgary (CLARC) provides English tests for immigrants who would like to study in federally and provincially funded language programs or enrol in professionally related courses in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Before COVID 19, CLARC provided the Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT) in person in the office and online for those who lived in remote communities and were not able to come to our office. To be able to take the test online, the clients had to go to a testing site where a proctor helped them with all the aspects of the assessment. After the closure of schools and our office in March 2020, both in-person and remote ways of testing became impossible to offer. Language training providers and schools started to deliver their courses online, so there was a need to continue providing language assessment, but the traditional ways, which required a personal encounter between the client and the deliverer of the test, were not feasible anymore.

 The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) approached our department and asked whether CLARC wanted to help develop a new, proctor-less version of the existing remote assessment. A small group of assessors (Judit Kovacs, Sally Okasha, Lindsey Nill, Nargiza Djalilova, and David Whitehead) started to work on the project in mid-March and by the end of April they found a new platform for the Listening/Speaking test, developed a procedure to screen clients and found new ways to communicate with clients before and during the test; shortly, they produced a solution for administering the test without the help of a proctor. Volunteers helped by taking the test and giving input from the clients’ perspective.

 After the pilot tests were finished, the team was able to present CCLB their suggestions. By mid-May CCLB evaluated the proposal, created a new procedure with new documentation – based on team’s suggestions – and gave permission to administer the Proctor-less CLBPT officially. CLARC was the first language assessment centre in Canada to start using the renewed testing tool. Later, other assessment centers from the country joined us, and now the Proctor-less CLBPT is a language assessment tool that is used Canada-wise to assess immigrants’ language abilities. As a result of the team’s innovative efforts, in Calgary and the area, 2549 clients completed the CLBPT from the comfort of their homes from May 2020 to March 17, 2021, and were able to register for programs of their choice. Perhaps in the future clients will benefit even more by being able to choose the way they want to be tested: in-person at our location, from a remote location with a proctor or proctor-less as it is being administered at the moment. Great team effort that helped the whole department to be able to work from home for a whole year now, and the most important it assisted immigrants Canada-wide in not putting on hold their dreams for another year!

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