Scoring English Language Learners the World Over

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by: Gwen Bloomsburg

  In 2011, the private education company EF Education First published its first “English Proficiency Index,” a ranking of how well English language learners all over the world are able to use English. It repeated the process in 2012, and results were published in October 2012. The EPI is based on an online test, and both the self-selective nature as well as the requirement of internet access seriously limit the pool of test-takers. Add the fact that EF obviously has an interest in convincing countries and people in those countries to improve their English.

  Keeping various sources of bias in mind, we can still find noteworthy details in the report and the scores. Perhaps it surprises no one that English language learners in Scandinavian countries have the highest proficiency, and those in Latin America and the Middle East the lowest. Of more interest is the finding that young adults (age 30-35) demonstrated the highest proficiency among age groups. The report enthusiastically estimates how much English proficiency contributes to economic development. True correlation is hard to establish given limitations of the study, but 1.7 million tests are not necessary confirm that English proficiency is already a key competency in the global marketplace.

  In case you are curious, Ecuador ranked #43 (out of 54 countries) this year, down from #36 in 2011, despite a slight increase in the average test score.  You can find the full report at


EF Education First, Ltd. (2012) EF EPI. Recuperado el 17 de junio de 2013 de

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