EF English Proficiency Index
The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is a report which attempts to rank countries by the average level of English language 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. The most recent, fifth edition was released in November, 2015.
The EF EPI fifth edition was calculated using test data from 900,000 test takers in 2014. 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. 68 countries and 2 territories appear in the fifth edition of the index. In order to be included a country was required to have at least 400 test takers total.
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 2015 report and accompanying country fact sheets include a retrospective look at evolution in English proficiency over the period from 2007 and 2014, 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.
- Exports per capita, Gross National Income per capita and Ease of doing business all correlate positively with English proficiency.
- English proficiency levels are evolving at different rates in different countries around the world, including a few countries with declining English skills.
- Europe as a whole speaks the best English, the Middle East the worst.
- The size of the investment in English training does not necessarily correspond to the amount of progress made over time.
|Country||2015 Rank||2015 Score||2015 Level||2014-2015 Trend|
|Sweden||1||70.94||Very High Proficiency||+3.14|
|Netherlands||2||70.58||Very High Proficiency||+1.59|
|Denmark||3||70.05||Very High Proficiency||+0.75|
|Norway||4||67.83||Very High Proficiency||+3.50|
|Finland||5||65.32||Very High Proficiency||+0.92|
|Slovenia||6||64.97||Very High Proficiency||+4.37|
|Estonia||7||63.73||Very High Proficiency||+2.34|
|Luxembourg||8||63.45||Very High Proficiency|
|Poland||9||62.95||Very High Proficiency||-1.31|
|Czech Republic||18||59.01||High Proficiency||+1.59|
|Dominican Republic||24||56.71||Moderate Proficiency||+3.05|
|South Korea||27||54.52||Moderate Proficiency||+0.90|
|United Arab Emirates||42||50.87||Low Proficiency||-0.93|
|Costa Rica||43||50.53||Low Proficiency||+2.00|
|Sri Lanka||49||47.89||Very Low Proficiency||+1.52|
|Turkey||50||47.62||Very Low Proficiency||-0.18|
|Yemen||51||47.60||Very Low Proficiency|
|Morocco||52||47.40||Very Low Proficiency||+4.97|
|Jordan||53||47.33||Very Low Proficiency||-0.49|
|Kazakhstan||54||47.04||Very Low Proficiency||+4.07|
|Egypt||55||46.73||Very Low Proficiency||+4.60|
|Iran||56||46.59||Very Low Proficiency||+4.76|
|Colombia||57||46.54||Very Low Proficiency||-2.01|
|Oman||58||46.34||Very Low Proficiency|
|Venezuela||59||46.14||Very Low Proficiency||+0.02|
|Azerbaijan||60||46.12||Very Low Proficiency|
|El Salvador||61||45.52||Very Low Proficiency||+2.06|
|Thailand||62||45.35||Very Low Proficiency||-2.45|
|Qatar||63||43.72||Very Low Proficiency||-4.10|
|Mongolia||64||43.64||Very Low Proficiency|
|Kuwait||65||42.65||Very Low Proficiency||+0.85|
|Iraq||66||40.69||Very Low Proficiency||+2.67|
|Algeria||67||40.34||Very Low Proficiency||+1.83|
|Saudi Arabia||68||39.93||Very Low Proficiency||+0.45|
|Cambodia||69||39.15||Very Low Proficiency||+0.90|
|Libya||70||37.86||Very Low Proficiency||-0.34|
The EF English Proficiency Index has been criticized for its lack of representative sampling in each country. 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, or they have other sampling flaws, as is the case with rankings of countries by standardized English test scores such as the TOEFL. 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.
- English: Who speaks English?. The Economist. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
- Study Offers Snapshot of Global English-Language-Learner Trends. EdWeek. Retrieved on 2015-11-13
- EF English Proficiency Index – Comparing English skills between countries – EF EPI. Ef.com. Retrieved on 2015-11-10.
- The English Blog: EF English Proficiency Ranking. Jeffreyhill.typepad.com (2011-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
- TOEFL: Test and Score Data Summaries. Ets.org. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
- SurveyLang project. European Commission. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.