Michener English Language Assessment

asian doctor standing with arms crossed
What is MELA?

The Michener English Language Assessment, or MELA, is a Canadian-made, standardized, English language proficiency test specific to the health care sector. The test is referenced to the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), a Canadian framework for English language proficiency and has undergone an extensive test development and validation process.

MELA measures English language proficiency based on communication that is typical in health care education or practice settings. Since it is specific to the health care environment, employers in healthcare can be confident that participants of the MELA are completely competent in English related to healthcare. It targets all language skills (ie. speaking, listening, reading, and writing) for a more thorough assessment of competencies. It provides specific information to students about their performance to help them improve their ongoing communication skills. Moreover, the in-person test format allows for a more accurate assessment of skills in an era when academic integrity online has been compromised.

“I think this is the best beginning, because IELTS and TOEFL (or any other English proficiency test) assess only general Reading / Writing / Speaking / Listening skills. But MELA test can give the exact idea about the skills which are required in health professions.”

Internationally Trained Laboratory Technologist

MELA Test Format & Content

MELA measures English language communications skills in four areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The test takes three hours and 20 minutes. There are additional 10 minutes for sign in, document verification and instructions.

Speaking: One-on-one, online interview (20 Minutes)
4 parts: talk about personal experience, role-play in a typical workplace task, discuss a health care topic

Listening: Paper-based with audio input controlled by invigilator (60 Minutes)
4 tasks: take messages, follow instructions, understand a conversation and answer questions about a lecture

Reading: Paper-based (60 Minutes)
3 tasks: get information from charts and forms, comprehend details and meaning in textbook-style and academic-style texts

Writing: Paper-based (60 Minutes)
3 tasks including write a report, make a request, discuss a health care topic

The test structure is based on the assumption that a language user can engage in tasks of different levels of complexity, but their performance levels will differ depending on their language skills. For each skill area the MELA tasks increase in their level of difficulty, with the first task being relatively common, and the final task being more complex.

Intended For:

  • Students applying for admission to the Michener Institute
  • Health professionals fulfilling the language requirement for professional certification

MELA Scores are Used:

  • For admission by registration departments at post-secondary institutions to determine communication skills to join health care educational programs;
  • As a diagnostic tool by program consultants to advise applicants about strong and weak areas in their language proficiency and provide options for skills development;
  • For licensure by regulators as part of the credentialing process for internationally educated health care professionals seeking to be licensed in Canada.

Review the MELA PDF for more information.

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