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STEP

STEP (Step Towards English Language Proficiency) is an English language proficiency tool used to keep track of a student's English progress by observing language behaviours in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 

Upon registration with the UCDSB, a staff member will conduct an initial language assessment to determine your child's English Language proficiency so that teachers can better plan and program for your child's language needs.  Staff at the school continue to monitor and track progress using the STEP continuum.  

These are the 6 STEPS to language proficiency: 

Step 1 

Step 2 

Step 3 

Step 4 

Step 5 

Step 6 

Beginner 

High Beginner 

Intermediate 

High Intermediate 

Advanced 

Almost Fluent 

Example of the STEP continuum 

Sample chart of STEP continuum

In high school there are also are ESL credit courses. The five ESL levels are based on a student's proficiency in English.   

International Students: will write a proficiency test prior to arrival in Canada. 

Newcomers: will have an initial STEP assessment done to determine their proficiency 

These are the 5 ESL credit courses at the high school level that are offered based on student's English proficiency: 

ESLAO 

ESLBO 

ESLCO 

ESLDO 

ESLEO 

Beginner 

High Beginner 

Intermediate 

High Intermediate 

Advanced/Almost Fluent 

This is the Ministry of Education's suggested pathway for ELLs: 

Image of chart for Pathways to English


Important information for International Students: 

The eligibility for International Students at the UCDSB to enroll in courses according to the level of English proficiency he/she has displayed are outlined below. The five ESL levels noted are province wide levels of proficiency as recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Education. 

 

ESL Level 

 

Courses 

ESLAO,  

ESLBO 

Locally developed, open level workplace and college preparation courses (Excluding ENG3C and ENG2D) 

ESLCO 

College Preparation courses Including all University preparation courses Excluding ENG3U and ENG4U 

ESLDO 

University preparation courses Excluding ENG4U 

ESLEO 

University preparation courses Including ALL English courses 

 

Note:  It is not recommended that students undertake an academic English course in their first semester of study in Canada, regardless of ESL Level on entry. 

 Updated January 2018

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