ESL Pathways Advanced Certificate

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Learn the English skills you need to work, study, and participate in everyday life in Canada.

VCC’s ESL Pathways courses focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students receive frequent feedback from experienced instructors and practice communicating with classmates from all over the world. Full-time and part-time course options are available.

ESL Pathways offers Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) levels 8-9, which are recognized to meet English language proficiency requirements for many VCC programs.

Certificate: complete the additional four-week experiential course and receive the ESL Pathways Advanced Certificate.

Attend an upcoming info session to meet faculty, ask questions and learn more about applying to ESL Pathways at VCC.

Program Status:
Accepting applications

Start Length Credentials Campus Part- or Full-time
Sep, Jan, Apr Certificate Broadway Full or Part-time

Apply Now

Apply Now

If you are interested in applying to this program please apply in person at either VCC Campus and bring your Permanent Resident Card. You will also be required to take a CLPBT assessment to determine your placement in the ESL Pathways program. The VCC Assessment Centre is located at VCC's Broadway Campus 1155 East Broadway Vancouver, BC.

Online Mail In Person
No online application at this time. Download and complete the (PDF) application/registration form and mail it to VCC Registrar's Office Visit us at one of our campus locations.

After you apply, you can check application status to see if all of the requirements have been met or to update contact information. Please use the temporary login ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you used to complete your original online application.

Program Description

Program Description

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Meet the Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing outcomes at CLB 9 in the "Profiles of Ability" columns of the competency outcomes and standards listed in the Canadian Language Benchmarks 2012.
  • Communicate effectively in multiple contexts including personal, academic and workplace contexts of high complexity.
  • Successfully engage in basic interactions, intercultural communication, and soft skills to function effectively in community, study and work contexts of high complexity.
  • Utilize the following Essential Skills (thinking skills, working with others, computer use and document use) for tasks at moderate to high complexity of high complexity.
  • Differentiate and produce a variety of genre types used in personal, academic and workplace contexts.

Instructional Activities, Design and Delivery Mode

Instructors use multiple strategies to achieve the learning outcomes that include the following: ongoing needs analysis, group work, coaching, one-on-one consultations, using audio/computer labs, case studies, lectures, demonstrations, providing exemplars and texts, modeling, error analysis, peer review, role rehearsals, videos, and audio recordings.

  • Specific learner strategies for speaking are: conversation management skills, pronunciation, error correction and feedback.
  • Specific learner strategies for reading are: reading for gist, skimming, scanning, speed reading, vocabulary acquisition, etc.
  • Specific learner strategies for writing are: brainstorming, outlining, genre analysis, tone, register, etc. ESL Pathways is a rigorous and demanding program. Students should expect to do significant self-study and experiential learning in addition to classroom based learning. There will be approximately 1 hour of homework per two in-class hours.

Evaluation of Student Learning

The assessment model design arises out of extensive process of consultation with the project expert panelists and research into needs assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment, and resulted in the choice of a Portfolio Based Learning Assessment (PBLA) model which encompasses all three. The assessment model presented here supports an integrated design whereby student needs and a needs assessment cycle are embedded into ongoing assessment. This model also supports instructors in using their own expertise, skills and knowledge in determining student performance.

Assessment rubrics are used to assess throughout a course and provide ongoing feedback on the student’s performance. The rubrics are inserted into the student’s portfolio so that they can be referenced during the consultation periods throughout the course. This gives both the instructor and the student an opportunity to chart performance and to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses.

  • The ESL Pathways Assessment model emphasizes formative assessment, whereby: i) assessment is focused on providing feedback to both instructors and Students to inform learning; and, thereby, ii) the instructor and student are active agents in assessment.
  • Language and communication skills are assessed in the context of the performance of tasks, which are selected to assess the CLB competencies that are to be demonstrated.
  • The assessed tasks embed other outcomes (CLB Knowledge and Strategies, Essential Skills, intercultural/soft skills, and genres/EAP) that are assessed implicitly in the performance of the task and explicitly in the formative assessment process. CLB skills-based competencies are assessed discretely with one competency or sub-competency as the focus of a single assessed task.
  • Students must demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in each of the four CLB competencies (e.g. interaction, instruction, getting things done and information) for each skill covered in order to move to the next course level.
  • The assessment model supports ongoing needs assessment throughout each course, and assessment directly links learning to identified student needs.
  • A student has the opportunity to demonstrate the achievement of each competency at various stages or points in the learning cycle.
  • The student must retain all artifacts created in a course so that they are eligible for evaluation at course completion.
  • Performance on tasks that are not identified for assessment, and on competencies not listed for assessment, can be used to inform the instructor’s (and student’s) evaluation of a student.

Program Duration

Total number of contact hours for each language skill course (i.e. Listening & Speaking 8, Reading & Writing 8, Listening & Speaking 9, and Reading & Writing 9) is 120 hours.

The ESL Experiential Learning 2 course is to be completed at the end of the program as a requirement for Certification is 48 hours.

The maximum number of hours required to receive the ESL Pathways Advanced Certificate is 528 hours.


The ESL Pathways Advanced Certificate is designed to prepare students to acquire the communication skills to become: a) learners in English language post-secondary academic or professional programs; b) employees in professional or skilled occupations in English-speaking workplace context; and/or c) informed and engaged Canadian and/or global citizens. The minimum requirement for achievement of an advanced certificate is the completion of the following:

  • ESL Listening & Speaking 9
  • ESL Reading & Writing 9
  • ESL Experiential Learning 2

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements


This program welcomes applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Program options for international students can be found at VCC International.

As Vancouver Community College is a post-secondary institution committed to educating adult learners, applicants should be 16 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school.

Please note that you must submit official transcripts and educational documents to support your application; unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or fax versions.

Program Specific

Missing prerequisites? VCC offers courses in Adult Upgrading and English as an Additional Language to help you meet your goals.
  • Completion of previous CLB level for the two language skill areas. (e.g. entry into ESL Listening & Speaking 8 requires completion of CLB 7 Listening and Speaking or assessment on a VCC approved CLB placement test indicating competency in CLB 7 Listening and Speaking.)
  • Students can be enrolled in ESL Reading & Writing at a different level than ESL Speaking & Listening depending on their assessment. The gap between the two courses may not exceed more than one Benchmark level.

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)


Recommended Characteristics:

Students should be well-educated in their country/language of origin. Most students in the ESL Pathways program have completed high school and at least 2 years of post-secondary study. The expectation is that students seek to become autonomous learners. In addition, student should be open and interested in learning about Canadian cultural norms and to developing citizenship values of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Course Schedule

Fees and Other costs

Application Fee $35
Student Union Fee $55 - per term
College Initiative Fee $10
Student Union Health Plan Fee - if applicable
Student Union Dental Plan Fee if applicable
U-Pass Fee $41 - per month subject to eligibility
Other Costs
$17 - Campus Resource Fee

For book lists and prices, check Bookstore.

Fees are approximate and subject to change without notice. Students are responsible for any increase in fees if advanced payments are made. The application fee is non-refundable. Fees are refunded according to the refund policy. For further clarification, see withdrawals and refunds information page.

Info Sessions

Info Sessions

Learn with a leader in ESL education. VCC’s English as an Additional Language (EAL) department offers programs and courses for a variety of English language levels and education needs:

Attend an information session and you will learn about how to assess your language level, how to apply and register, what you can study after you improve your English, and how to apply for student loans if you are low income. Please bring a language assessment test or course results if you have them.

Join us at VCC's Broadway campus, 1155 East Broadway at Glen Drive, across from VCC/Clark SkyTrain station.


Ask us about the non-repayable Adult Upgrading Grant
(ESL Pathways and English for Academic Purposes only)

Contact VCC Financial Aid for more info.

Date Day Time Room Location
October 31, 2019 Thursday 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Room 3566, Building A, 3rd Floor Broadway
November 5, 2019 Tuesday 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. 3551 (Building A,3rd Floor) Broadway
November 21, 2019 Thursday 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Room 3566, 3rd floor (Building A) Broadway
November 26, 2019 Tuesday 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Room 3551, 3rd Floor (Building A) Broadway

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Program Highlights

Course Schedule

Courses Schedule


Term 1

(ELSK 0815) ESL Listening & Speaking 8
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline
(ELSK 0820) ESL Reading & Writing 8
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline
(ELSK 0905) ESL Experiential Learning 2
course schedule schedule
1.5 credits  course outline
(ELSK 0915) ESL Listening & Speaking 9
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline
(ELSK 0920) ESL Reading & Writing 9
course schedule schedule
4.0 credits  course outline