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The Bank's Second Language Proficiency System

Second language proficiency (SLP) levels

The following descriptions provide examples of performance characteristics associated with each SLP (Second Language Proficiency) level.

In the context of work an employee at

Level 0 (True Beginner - SLP)

  • is unable to understand or say anything in the second language

Level 1 (Beginner - SLP)

  • is sometimes able to understand isolated words or a few simple sentences spoken very slowly

  • can produce single words, short sentences or commonly used expressions with considerable difficulty; does not understand basic grammar rules

  • demonstrates a very limited ability to communicate; the message is extremely difficult or impossible to grasp

Level 2 (Advanced Beginner - SLP)

  • is able to understand simple sentences, although repetition/rephrasing is often necessary

  • is capable of answering/asking simple questions and maintaining brief conversations when the subject matter is familiar; has partial mastery of basic grammar rules

  • demonstrates limited ability to communicate; the message contains a large number of errors and is often difficult to grasp

Level 3 (Intermediate - SLP)

  • is able to follow simple, moderately-paced conversation

  • uses basic grammar proficiently

  • is beginning to communicate with some confidence in specific contexts, despite frequent errors and hesitation

Level 4 (Functional- SLP)

  • is able to follow conversations delivered at a natural pace which involve a broader range of topics

  • speaks with a greater degree of accuracy, using a wider range of grammatical elements, although lexical and grammatical training is still needed to handle complex situations

  • can converse with a fair degree of confidence; although there may be hesitations or errors, the message can be understood most of the time

Level 5 (Fully functional - SLP)

  • is able to follow conversations delivered at a natural or even rapid rate regardless of the situation

  • communicates clearly, using complex sentences with a good degree of accuracy; errors rarely interfere with communication

  • speaks with confidence and spontaneity

Level 6 (Near-native bilingualism - SLP)

  • follows all conversations and grasps nuances, regardless of the subject area or complexity

  • is able to discuss a broad variety of topics with accuracy and ease, using complex structures and precise terms to do so

  • maintains consistent fluency over time, even in situations involving unexpected developments

Note: The Bank's SLP levels can be compared with those of the Federal Government: