Over the years, the language demands of Red River College programs have grown to meet the demands of the outside world. Even the most “practical” and short-term programs use theory and academic language.

Some people believe that college programs are easier than university. In fact, the opposite is often true. At RRC, most programs are fairly short-term, which means that a lot of content is delivered at a fast pace. Class sizes are small, and participation is a requirement. Students need to ask questions, work in groups, participate in labs and work experience, and demonstrate their understanding of concepts. This means a student needs strong language skills.

In the late 1990s, researchers at the RRC Language Training Centre began a formal process to determine the language demands of College programs. This process, which is called “Benchmarking”, involved a detailed examination of the listening, speaking, reading and writing aspects of a program, and the comparison of these to the language performance descriptors in the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) document. The result is a set of CLB Levels for each of the four skill areas, which help determine language readiness of EAL applicants for the Benchmarked programs.

The language demands vary from program to program. However, for most RRC programs, EAL applicants need CLB Level 8 or higher in each of the four language skill areas.