CLB vs TCF Canada – NCLC Equivalency Table

CLB vs IELTSLiam is a citizen of Belgium. Despite French being his mother tongue language, he has heard he needs to take a French test to immigrate to Canada. Of course, Canada accepts two French tests; TEF Canada and TCF Canada. Unfortunately, their expectations are confusing to Liam. They say you need to have such and such CLB/NCLC score. The test Liam is taking is TCF Canada. He wonders what the relationship between TCF Canada test results and CLB levels is. In fact, Liam is looking for an equivalency table that compares CLB vs TCF Canada.

If you intend to immigrate to Canada, you will likely need to take a language test. Canadian immigration authorities currently accept the following tests:

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program  (Only CELPIP General)
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System (Only IELTS General)
  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

The last first two tests show your proficiency in the English language. However, if you intend to prove your French language knowledge, you need to take one of the last two tests: TEF Canada or TCF Canada. This article introduces TCF Canada and its relationship to CLB, also known as NCLC.

What is TCF Canada?

TCF stands for Test de connaissance du français. The test evaluates your knowledge and fluency in the French language.

What is CLB or NCLC?

CLB stands for the Canadian Language Benchmark. The government of Canada uses CLB to identify your mastery of the English language. The French language equivalent to CLB is the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC).

The CLB table

CLB offers scores between 1 and 12. The following tables show the meaning of each score (source: canada.ca).

Stage I – Basic Language Ability

Benchmark and
Ability Level
Listening Speaking Reading Writing
CLB 1: Initial
CLB 2: Developing
CLB 3: Adequate
CLB 4: Fluent
Interpreting simple
spoken communication in routine, non-demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas.
Creating simple spoken communication in routine, non-demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Interpreting simple written communication in routine, non-demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Creating simple written communication in routine, non-demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas.

 

Stage II – Intermediate Language Ability

Benchmark and
Ability Level
Listening Speaking Reading Writing
CLB 5: Initial
CLB 6: Developing
CLB 7: Adequate
CLB 8: Fluent
Interpreting moderately complex spoken communication in moderately demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Creating moderately complex spoken communication in moderately demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Interpreting moderately complex written communication in moderately demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Creating moderately complex written communication in moderately demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas.

 

Stage III – Advanced Language Ability

Benchmark and
Ability Level
Listening Speaking Reading Writing
CLB 9: Initial
CLB 10: Developing
CLB 11: Adequate
CLB 12: Fluent
Interpreting complex spoken communication in demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Creating complex spoken communication in demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Interpreting complex written communication in demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas. Creating complex written communication in demanding contexts of language use within the four Competency Areas.

 

CLB vs TCF Canada table

TEF results do not match CLB/NCLC levels directly. Consequently, we need to refer to reliable sources to find their equivalency. I have used Canada.ca to develop the following CLB/TEF table. The first column shows the CLB level. Of course, the other four columns show the TEF equivalency for each competency area.

CLB/NCLC Level TEF Reading TEF Writing TEF Listening TEF Speaking
1 – 3 342< 4< 331< 4<
4 342-374 4-5 331-368 4-5
5 375-405 6 369-397 6
6 406-452 7-9 398-457 7-9
7 453-498 10-11 458-502 10-11
8 499-523 12-13 503-522 12-13
9 524-548 14-15 523-548 14-15
10 – 12 549-699 16-20 549-699 16-20

 

While I have done my best to avoid any mistakes, this table is not the official conversion table. Consult with other sources as well. You may also consider reading the following articles:

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.