EF English Proficiency Index

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) attempts to rank countries by the average level of English language skills amongst those adults who took the EF test. The index is based on data from a survey, not on a representative sampling model. It is "not a statistically controlled study", as The Economist states;[1] "the subjects took a free test online and of their own accord. They were by definition connected to the internet and interested in testing their English; they will also be younger and more urban than the population at large."

It is the product of EF Education First, an international education company, and draws its conclusions from data collected via English tests available for free over the internet.[2] The index is an online survey first published in 2012 based on test data from 1.7 million test takers. [3]The most recent, sixth edition was released in November 2016.[4]


The EF EPI sixth edition was calculated using test data from 950,000 test takers in 2015. 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. 69 countries and 3 territories appear in the sixth edition of the index. In order to be included, a country was required to have at least 400 test takers.[5]


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 each region or continent. The 2016 report and accompanying country fact sheets include English proficiency levels by gender, age group, and region, within countries, and some English proficiency scores by city. The website displays portions of the report and has analysis of English skills in many countries and territories.[5]

Primary conclusions[edit]

  1. Exports per capita, Gross National Income per capita and innovation all correlate positively with English proficiency. [6]
  2. English proficiency levels are evolving at different rates in different countries around the world, including a few countries with declining English skills. [7]
  3. Europe as a whole speaks the best English, the Middle East the worst.[8]
  4. Women speak English better than men. [9]

2016 Rankings[edit]

Map of the results of the 2016 EF English Proficiency Index.

Below are the latest country scores, proficiency bands, and rankings as published in 2016 (data from 2015).[5]

Score calculation[edit]

On the web page of the company EF, the score calculation is explained: "In order to calculate a country’s EF EPI score, each test score was normalized to obtain the percentage of correct answers for that test. All the scores for a country were then averaged across the three tests, giving equal weight to each test." [10] There is thus no differentiation of the three tests for the calculation of the score.

Ranking of countries[edit]

Country 2016 Rank 2016 Score 2016 Band
 Netherlands 1 72.16 Very High Proficiency
 Denmark 2 71.15 Very High Proficiency
 Sweden 3 70.81 Very High Proficiency
 Norway 4 68.54 Very High Proficiency
 Finland 5 66.61 Very High Proficiency
 Singapore 6 63.52 Very High Proficiency
 Luxembourg 7 63.20 Very High Proficiency
 Austria 8 62.13 High Proficiency
 Germany 9 61.58 High Proficiency
 Poland 10 61.49 High Proficiency
 Belgium 11 60.90 High Proficiency
 Malaysia 12 60.70 High Proficiency
 Philippines 13 60.33 High Proficiency
  Switzerland 14 60.17 High Proficiency
 Portugal 15 59.68 High Proficiency
 Czech Republic 16 59.09 High Proficiency
 Serbia 17 59.07 High Proficiency
 Hungary 18 58.72 High Proficiency
 Argentina 19 58.40 High Proficiency
 Romania 20 58.14 High Proficiency
 Slovakia 21 57.34 Moderate Proficiency
 India 22 57.30 Moderate Proficiency
 Dominican Republic 23 57.24 Moderate Proficiency
 Bulgaria 24 56.79 Moderate Proficiency
 Spain 25 56.66 Moderate Proficiency
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 26 56.17 Moderate Proficiency
 South Korea 27 54.87 Moderate Proficiency
 Italy 28 54.63 Moderate Proficiency
 France 29 54.33 Moderate Proficiency
 Hong Kong 30 54.29 Moderate Proficiency
 Vietnam 31 54.06 Moderate Proficiency
 Indonesia 32 52.94 Moderate Proficiency
 Taiwan 33 52.82 Moderate Proficiency
 Russia 34 52.32 Low Proficiency
 Japan 35 51.69 Low Proficiency
 Uruguay 36 51.63 Low Proficiency
 Macau 37 51.36 Low Proficiency
 Costa Rica 38 51.35 Low Proficiency
 China 39 50.94 Low Proficiency
 Brazil 40 50.66 Low Proficiency
 Ukraine 41 50.62 Low Proficiency
 Chile 42 50.10 Low Proficiency
 Mexico 43 49.88 Low Proficiency
 Morocco 44 49.86 Low Proficiency
 Peru 45 49.83 Low Proficiency
 United Arab Emirates 46 49.81 Low Proficiency
 Ecuador 47 49.13 Low Proficiency
 Pakistan 48 48.78 Low Proficiency
 Colombia 49 48.41 Very Low Proficiency
 Panama 50 48.08 Very Low Proficiency
 Turkey 51 47.89 Very Low Proficiency
 Tunisia 52 47.70 Very Low Proficiency
 Guatemala 53 47.64 Very Low Proficiency
 Kazakhstan 54 47.42 Very Low Proficiency
 Egypt 55 47.32 Very Low Proficiency
 Thailand 56 47.21 Very Low Proficiency
 Azerbaijan 57 46.90 Very Low Proficiency
 Sri Lanka 58 46.58 Very Low Proficiency
 Qatar 59 46.57 Very Low Proficiency
 Venezuela 60 46.53 Very Low Proficiency
 Iran 61 46.38 Very Low Proficiency
 Jordan 62 45.85 Very Low Proficiency
 El Salvador 63 43.83 Very Low Proficiency
 Oman 64 43.44 Very Low Proficiency
 Kuwait 65 42.98 Very Low Proficiency
 Mongolia 66 42.77 Very Low Proficiency
 Algeria 67 41.60 Very Low Proficiency
 Saudi Arabia 68 40.91 Very Low Proficiency
 Cambodia 69 39.48 Very Low Proficiency
 Laos 71 38.45 Very Low Proficiency
 Libya 71 37.82 Very Low Proficiency
 Iraq 72 37.65 Very Low Proficiency


The EF English Proficiency Index has been criticized for its lack of representative sampling in each country.[11] [12] The report states that participants in the tests are self-selected and must have access to the internet. It is an online survey rather than a statistically valid sampling of the population.

However, there are few alternative comparisons available of countries by their English skills. 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.[13]


  1. ^ English: Who speaks English?. The Economist. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  2. ^ Study Offers Snapshot of Global English-Language-Learner Trends. Education Week. Retrieved on 2017-01-17.
  3. ^ Low English Levels Can Hurt Countries' Progress. New York Times. Retrieved on 2017-01-17.
  4. ^ Singapore's English skills continue to improve, as Shanghai beats Hong Kong. CNBC. Retrieved on 2016-11-16
  5. ^ a b c EF English Proficiency Index – Comparing English skills between countries – EF EPI. Ef.com. Retrieved on 2016-11-16.
  6. ^ Minh Tran: Countries with High English Proficiency Are More Innovative. Harvard Business Review. "Minh Tran is Director of Research and Partnerships for EF Education First and a member of the team that launched the EF Standard English Test." Retrieved on 2017-01-17.
  7. ^ How Well Does Your Country Speak English?. Voice of America. Retrieved on 2017-1-17.
  8. ^ Which countries are best at English as a second language?. World Economic Forum. Retrieved on 2017-1-17.
  9. ^ Women are better than men at learning English. That’s not necessarily a good sign.. Washington Post. Retrieved on 2017-1-17.
  10. ^ See Score caluculation/calculation
  11. ^ The English Blog: EF English Proficiency Ranking. Jeffreyhill.typepad.com (2011-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  12. ^ Jakub Marian. Why the EF EPI rankings are not what you think. Retrieved on 2017-01-22.
  13. ^ SurveyLang project. European Commission. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.

External links[edit]