French Language Services Directorate

Overview

French Language Proficiency Assessment


General information

Candidates who apply for a bilingual position will be required to have their French proficiency assessed by the French Language Services Directorate (FLSD) before being offered the position. The required proficiency level is dependent on the position being staffed.

The hiring Department’s Human Resources will request the assessment and FLSD will communicate directly with the candidate to confirm the appointment.

French Language Proficiency Assessment will only be conducted in coordination with a competition or to meet a job requirement.

The assessment is made up of two parts:

1. Oral assessment (20-40 minutes);
2. Written assessment, which includes a grammar test and a written expression test (duration: approximately one hour and fifteen minutes).

Oral skills are always assessed for designated bilingual positions. Depending on the needs of the position, written proficiency may also be assessed.

Detailed information about the French Language Proficiency Assessment is available here: Information for candidates


Oral assessment

  • Evaluates the candidate’s overall ability to communicate in French in both professional and social settings;
  • Consists of a 20- to 40-minute conversation with an assessor; 
  • Is carried out by government-approved assessors;
  • Is confidential.


What is assessed?

  • Tasks or functions: include such activities as asking questions, relating events, giving explanations, expressing or defending opinions, or negotiating.
  • Accuracy: refers to the clarity, quality and precision of the message conveyed.
  • Content area: refers to the numerous topics that have been raised during the conversation.

Written assessment

  • Consists of 2 parts: a grammar test (30 minutes) and a written expression test (45 minutes);
  • Use of dictionaries, grammar and verb conjugation books is allowed (resources will be provided by FLSD).

1. Grammar

What is assessed?

The candidate’s ability to use different grammatical concepts in context, not the knowledge of grammar itself.

Examples of grammar questions (in French)


2. Written expression

Focuses on how clearly and accurately the candidate is able to communicate in writing. The candidate will be asked to write three or four paragraphs (200-250 words) on one of two topics that will be assigned at the time of assessment.

What is assessed?

  • Content refers to the ideas presented in the text, how clearly they are developed and how well they answer the question.
  • Vocabulary refers to the appropriate use of words, precision, accuracy and richness of the vocabulary.
  • Grammar and sentence structure refers to the appropriate use of verb tenses, proper verb conjugation, agreements, word order, use of prepositions, and use of complex sentences.
  • Organization refers to the flow of the text, the use and variety of sentence connectors and transition words between paragraphs.
  • Language conventions refer to mechanics (such as spelling and punctuation) and overall usage and sentence formation.

Examples of questions (in French)


Language Proficiency Level Descriptions

The level of proficiency required is dependent on the position for which the candidate has applied.

Language Proficiency Level Descriptions


FAQ

1. Can a candidate be reassessed?
  • Yes, a candidate can be reassessed after six months OR upon expiry of previous results, and only in coordination with a competition or to meet a job requirement.
  • Candidates are advised to look into language support services that may help improve their language skills prior to being reassessed. A significant amount of time and effort will be required to see measurable increases in proficiency.
  • New test results will replace any previous results, even if the previous results are still valid.
2. How long is the assessment valid for?

Results are valid for a three-year period, excluding C2 (oral) and C (written) which have no expiry date.

3. How and when does the candidate get his/her results?

Assessors will provide the assessment results to the Department’s Human Resources, who will then communicate the results to the candidate.
Results usually take between 2 and 5 working days to be submitted to the Department’s Human Resources.

4. What if the candidate lives outside Whitehorse?

Oral assessment for candidates who live outside Whitehorse will be done via Skype.
For the written assessment, The French Language Services Directorate will contact a government agency, educational institution or another suitable organization in the candidate’s town or city of residence to invigilate the assessment.