Guiding principles for alternate methods to second language evaluation tests: targeted policy exemption
New: As of September 1, 2023, these guiding principles will no longer apply to tests of reading comprehension and written expression. They will continue to apply for the oral proficiency test only.
Departments and agencies who are granted an exemption from the requirement to use the Public Service Commission (PSC) second language evaluation tests may use an alternative assessment method for assessing oral proficiency only. The assessment method must respect these guiding principles.
To allow flexibility in assessing second language proficiency, pursuant to its authority under section 29(3) of the Public Service Employment Act, the PSC is granting a temporary exemption to line 12 requirement of the Appointment Policy. Line 12 states that proficiency in the second official language must be assessed using second language evaluation tests approved by the PSC.
The method of assessing proficiency in a candidate’s second official language must respect all requirements in the PSC’s Appointment Policy, except the line 12 requirement. The method needs to ensure that:
- candidates meet the essential official language requirements
- assessors have the necessary competencies, including official language(s), to assess the qualifications
- accommodation measures are provided to candidates who need them
The assessor(s) must:
- be proficient enough in the language being assessed to be able to assess the second official language proficiency required for the bilingual position
- review and understand the descriptions of language proficiency set out for levels A, B and C for oral proficiency, established in the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages
- be someone other than the candidate’s former or current second language instructor, in order to avoid a conflict of interest
- Sub-delegated hiring managers determine the assessment method and whether the required skill for oral proficiency is met.
- The assessment method must produce a “pass/fail” result.
- When second language proficiency is assessed using methods other than the standard PSC second language evaluation tests, the assessment results can be reused for other appointments within the same department or agency.
- Deputy heads must establish mechanisms to monitor appointments where alternate methods to PSC second language evaluation tests are used.
- Deputy heads will ensure that these measures are applied consistently and will be required to report on their use in their reporting to the PSC for annex D of the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument.
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