EF English Proficiency Index

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The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is a report which attempts to rank countries by the average level of English skills amongst adults. It is the product of EF Education First, a global language training company, and draws its conclusions from data collected via English tests available for free over the internet. The report was published for the first time in March, 2011 based on the results of over 2 million test takers.[1] The second edition was released in October, 2012 and the most recent edition was released in November, 2013.[2]

Methodology[edit]

The EF EPI third edition was calculated using test data from 750,000 test takers in 2012. The test takers were self-selected and no demographic information was collected on them. The tests are used by the company for marketing and placement purposes. 58 countries and 2 territories appear in the third edition of the index. In order to be included a country was required to have at least 400 test takers total.[3]

Findings[edit]

The report is composed of a country ranking table, several pages of analysis with graphs correlating other economic and social factors with English proficiency, and analysis of 10 countries and 1 territory. The 2013 report includes a retrospective look at evolution in English proficiency over the period from 2007 and 2012 based on a data set of 5 million test takers. The website displays portions of the report and has in-depth profiles of the role of English in several countries and territories.[4]

Primary conclusions[edit]

  1. Exports per capita, Gross National Income per capita and Ease of doing business all correlate positively with English proficiency.
  2. English proficiency levels are evolving at different rates in different countries around the world, including a few countries with declining English skills.
  3. Europe as a whole speaks the best English, Latin America the worst.
  4. The size of the investment in English training does not necessarily correspond to the amount of progress made over time.

2013 Rankings[edit]

Results of the EF EPI.
Country 2013 Rank 2013 Score 2013 Level 2007-2013 Trend
 Sweden 1 68.69 Very High Proficiency +2.43
 Norway 2 66.60 Very High Proficiency -2.49
 Netherlands 3 66.19 Very High Proficiency -1.74
 Estonia 4 65.55 Very High Proficiency
 Denmark 5 65.15 Very High Proficiency -1.43
 Austria 6 62.66 Very High Proficiency +4.08
 Finland 7 62.63 Very High Proficiency +1.38
 Poland 8 62.25 High Proficiency +7.63
 Hungary 9 60.41 High Proficiency +9.61
 Slovenia 10 60.19 High Proficiency
 Malaysia 11 58.99 High Proficiency +3.45
 Singapore 12 58.92 High Proficiency
 Belgium 13 58.74 High Proficiency +1.51
 Germany 14 58.47 High Proficiency +1.83
 Latvia 15 57.66 High Proficiency
  Switzerland 16 57.59 High Proficiency +2.99
 Portugal 17 57.52 High Proficiency +3.90
 Slovakia 18 54.58 Moderate Proficiency +3.94
 Argentina 19 54.43 Moderate Proficiency +0.94
 Czech Republic 20 54.40 Moderate Proficiency +3.09
 India 21 54.38 Moderate Proficiency +7.03
 Hong Kong 22 53.54 Moderate Proficiency -0.90
 Spain 23 53.51 Moderate Proficiency +4.50
 South Korea 24 53.46 Moderate Proficiency -0.73
 Indonesia 25 53.44 Moderate Proficiency +8.66
 Japan 26 53.21 Moderate Proficiency -0.96
 Ukraine 27 53.09 Moderate Proficiency
 Vietnam 28 52.27 Moderate Proficiency +7.95
 Uruguay 29 51.49 Low Proficiency -1.93
 Sri Lanka 30 51.47 Low Proficiency
 Russia 31 51.08 Low Proficiency +5.29
 Italy 32 50.97 Low Proficiency +1.92
 Taiwan 33 50.95 Low Proficiency +2.02
 China 34 50.77 Low Proficiency +3.15
 France 35 50.53 Low Proficiency -2.63
 United Arab Emirates 36 50.37 Low Proficiency +4.84
 Costa Rica 37 50.23 Low Proficiency +1.08
 Brazil 38 50.07 Low Proficiency +2.80
 Peru 39 49.96 Low Proficiency +5.25
 Mexico 40 49.91 Low Proficiency -1.57
 Turkey 41 49.52 Low Proficiency +11.86
 Iran 42 49.30 Low Proficiency -3.62
 Egypt 43 48.89 Low Proficiency +2.97
 Chile 44 48.20 Very Low Proficiency +3.57
 Morocco 45 47.71 Very Low Proficiency -1.69
 Colombia 46 47.07 Very Low Proficiency +4.30
 Kuwait 47 46.97 Very Low Proficiency -0.04
 Ecuador 48 46.90 Very Low Proficiency +2.36
 Venezuela 49 46.44 Very Low Proficiency +2.01
 Jordan 50 46.44 Very Low Proficiency
 Qatar 51 45.97 Very Low Proficiency -2.82
 Guatemala 52 45.72 Very Low Proficiency -2.08
 El Salvador 53 45.29 Very Low Proficiency -2.36
 Libya 54 44.65 Very Low Proficiency +2.12
 Thailand 55 44.44 Very Low Proficiency +5.03
 Panama 56 43.61 Very Low Proficiency -0.01
 Kazakhstan 57 43.47 Very Low Proficiency +11.73
 Algeria 58 43.16 Very Low Proficiency -3.97
 Saudi Arabia 59 41.19 Very Low Proficiency -6.86
 Iraq 60 38.16 Very Low Proficiency

Criticism[edit]

The EF English Proficiency Index has been criticized for its lack of representative sampling in each country.[5] The report states that participants in the tests are self-selected and must have access to the internet. This pushes the index towards the realm of an online survey rather than a statistically valid evaluation.

However there are few alternative comparisons available of countries by their English skills, and those that exist are smaller in scale, as is the case with a reported British Council study,[1] or they have other sampling flaws, as is the case with rankings of countries by standardized English test scores such as the TOEFL.[6] The European Commission performed a language survey, SurveyLang, which tests a representative sample of 15 year old European students on their foreign language skills. The first report and data sets were released for 13 European countries in June 2012 [7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b English: Who speaks English?. The Economist. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  2. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/world/europe/english-proficiency-falters-among-french.html?hpw&rref=education&_r=0
  3. ^ EF English Proficiency Index – Comparing English skills between countries – EF EPI. Ef.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  4. ^ English around the world – Country profiles – EF EPI. Ef.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  5. ^ The English Blog: EF English Proficiency Ranking. Jeffreyhill.typepad.com (2011-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  6. ^ TOEFL: Test and Score Data Summaries. Ets.org. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  7. ^ [1]. European Commission. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.

The official webpage of the ranking