Our Background

Paragon Testing Enterprises is a private subsidiary of The University of British Columbia (UBC) that was incorporated in 2009 to commercialize the University’s English language proficiency tests.

Paragon develops, delivers, and licenses in partnership with other organizations English proficiency tests, including: the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) Test, the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment, and the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) Test. It also develops, delivers, and licenses in partnership with other organizations online and print self-study materials, test preparation programs, and test delivery and registration software.

Our Vision

Paragon’s mission is to make its English language proficiency tests the tests of choice for those wishing to immigrate to Canada, become Canadian citizens, or study in Canada at all levels. To achieve this mission, Paragon conducts ongoing test research in collaboration with internationally recognized scholars at Canada’s leading universities. This test research program ensures the highest quality tests, and enables Paragon to compete with large international testing agencies.

Our Business

When it was founded in 2009, the company purchased from UBC all of the assets associated with the CELPIP and LPI Tests that had been developed previously within an ancillary unit of the University entitled Applied Research and Evaluation Services (ARES). The LPI Test was created in 1986, and the CELPIP Test was created in 1999. These assets included the tests themselves, their test content, instructional products and preparation programs associated with the tests, and a variety of electronic database systems, registration systems, and test delivery software used to deliver and administer the tests.

Paragon has grown rapidly during the seven years of its existence. This growth is reflected in many ways, including:

  • a rapid increase in the number of tests delivered annually (from thousands to tens of thousands),
  • the number of test centres that deliver its computerized tests (from 2 to 60),
  • an increase in research projects on test performance,
  • the ten-fold increase in its annual revenues,
  • the release of new instructional products and preparation programs,
  • an increase in the hiring of new raters (from 10 to more than 100),
  • the implementation of major enhancements to test delivery and registration software, and
  • the tripling of the number of full-time employees (from 16 to 278) and the size of Paragon’s office space (from under 2,500 square feet to more than 16,000 square feet).

Facilities and Test Centres

Paragon began its operations in the Scarfe Building that houses the Faculty of Education on the Vancouver campus of UBC. In 2010 the company moved to the Donald Rix Building in the Discover Parks area of UBC that houses several of the University’s start-up companies, and in 2013 expanded its space to include offices in the Gerald McGavin Building. Paragon moved its offices off of the UBC campus in 2014 to the Broadway Tech Centre, and subsequently expanded its space at that location in 2015. Currently the company’s headquarters occupy 12,500 square feet for its offices and on-site test centre. In August 2016, Paragon established a secondary office and test centre in Toronto, Ontario where it occupies 4,000 square feet of office space.

Paragon began its operations with only two test centres that delivered the computerized CELPIP Tests, including one in Vancouver and one in Toronto. The paper-based LPI Tests were delivered at 25 universities and colleges that were located primarily in British Columbia, but also in Alberta, Ontario, and Hong Kong, as well as at more than 25 secondary schools in British Columbia and Alberta.

Since its founding, the company has rapidly expanded its test centres across Canada that now include 40 CELPIP test centres and 20 CAEL test centres. Paragon is currently expanding its international test centres, with the first international CELPIP test centre opening in Dubai, UAE in February 2017.