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How do your students stack up in the world?

 
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teacheratlarge



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:53 am    Post subject: How do your students stack up in the world? Reply with quote

http://arabiangazette.com/english-proficiency-index-arab-countries-worst/

Interesting article with the EF English proficiency index showing the ranking for various countries. I was surprised to see Japan show up as high as it is (22nd) whereas I was a little surprised to see Russia come in at only 29th.

Spain, Portugal and Italy rank at 18th, 19th, and 24th respectively, which was another reason noted for why these countries are lagging economically (there is of course not always such a direct correlation, between English ability and economic prosperity, though this point was noted within the context of these countries competing in Europe).
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EF? Ha ha! I wouldn't rely on them for much - certainly nothing English related.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just what is the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI)? There wasn't even a link to it on that article as far as I could see. Any comparisons to that and IELTS, BULATS, TOEIC, TOEFL, etc.?
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 856
Location: Here, There and Everywhere! :D

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:05 am    Post subject: Re: How do your students stack up in the world? Reply with quote

teacheratlarge wrote:
http://arabiangazette.com/english-proficiency-index-arab-countries-worst/

Interesting article with the EF English proficiency index showing the ranking for various countries. I was surprised to see Japan show up as high as it is (22nd) whereas I was a little surprised to see Russia come in at only 29th.

Spain, Portugal and Italy rank at 18th, 19th, and 24th respectively, which was another reason noted for why these countries are lagging economically (there is of course not always such a direct correlation, between English ability and economic prosperity, though this point was noted within the context of these countries competing in Europe).


I don't know what my country England is doing wrong it is not even on the list. Sad
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Just what is the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI)? There wasn't even a link to it on that article as far as I could see. Any comparisons to that and IELTS, BULATS, TOEIC, TOEFL, etc.?


Good questions. Notice the near total absence of any information relating to research methodology too.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you fiddle around on EF's website you'll come across this info:

http://www.ef-russia.ru/epi/about-epi/

Methodology
Indicator of the level of English language proficiency, developed by EF, characterizes the average level of English among adults based on data obtained from the results of three different tests on the knowledge of the language. Tests are held every year hundreds of thousands of people. Two tests are available on the Internet in the public domain. The third is an online qualifying test that EF uses to determine the level of students' knowledge when applying for courses in English. All three are divided into sections: grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening. Online qualification test is an adaptive test of 30 questions, which are selected by a difficulty for all students, depending on whether they respond to the previous questions. The other two tests consist of 60 and 70 questions. The test results provide an opportunity for students to choose a course that corresponds to their level. The testing procedure is the same in all cases: students take the exam from home, sitting at computers. It makes no sense artificially inflate their results, write off or pry, because the test results is given no evidence.


Online EF tests? Ha ha!!!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for the crappy translation of the above from Russian. Very Happy

Wonder how Google Translate would stack up on the EF scale?
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By and large not shocking, but a few surprises:

1. India ranks higher than Switzerland? Really?
2. Why is Argentina so much higher than the rest of Latin America? And especially, why is Argentina so much higher than Chile? Given the relatively high standards and pay that seem to be in place for jobs in Chile, I'd have expected the reverse.
3. I'm surprised that Turkey scores better than Syria, but I suppose it's a matter of self-selection. The Syrians I meet are generally speaking to me because I speak English, whereas excepting my students (a huge exception to be sure) the same is not true of the Turks I meet.

~Q
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd imagine it is because anyone who got a decent high-paying job in Chile based on their English skills wouldn't be taking a crappy online test with EF.

Seriously flawed research going on here.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The third is an online qualifying test that EF uses to determine the level of students' knowledge when applying for courses in English



The way I read this, they are testing their own current/prospective students. Hardly a representative sample of any national population.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8614
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But excellent marketing bumf for EF, eh? Such audacious self-promotion!

EF! The chain that can evaluate whole nations' language proficiency!
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 843
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ability to verbally communicate the language doesn't count? Am I missing that somewhere? I've seen Chinese teachers with an MA/PhD in English who probably couldn't communicate a cupcake recipe. I've had Arab students who couldn't read more than a simple paragraph but could talk for hours.

Switzerland behind India. Interesting. I'm guessing the entire concept of EF is more popular with India's potential students rather than reflecting the ability of the Swiss. The French behind South Korea and Japan?

Rolling Eyes
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They've 'surveyed' 1.7 million people (who knows what the 'survey' was really set up to do or how objective its evidence is) out of a population of several billion. Hardly enough to base such sweeping conclusions upon. Main claim to 'reputability' seems to be 'largest such survey conducted to date' -this doesn't make it reliable!
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Main claim to 'reputability' seems to be 'largest such survey conducted to date' -this doesn't make it reliable!

Especially not if there's systematic bias. It looks like a combination of internet surveys (notoriously unreliable), and entrance exams (bias towards the type of student who will take classes at English First, whatever that student may be).

That said, considering the flaws, I'm impressed that it seems as accurate as it does. (By which I mean, it mostly fits with what I'd expect, whether my expectations are reasonable or not.)

Of course I think that EF is looking at the level of the people who do speak English, rather than the overall rate of English proficiency to a given level. (Say, Foreign Service level 2 or whatever the equivalent European standard is.) That might explain the Swiss/Indian thing. You've got a handful of Indians who need to be able to pass as Americans for customer service, vs a whole nation of Swiss who all seem to speak pretty decent English, but perhaps not always flawlessly.

I've always wondered how you could measure worldwide English proficiency. I know the EU tried to do it once, though I'm fuzzy on their methods. You certainly can't just go up to people on the street and start talking to them, because you've still got a sampling error, depending on what part of the city/country, you're in, and how inclined people are to speak English in their own country.

~Q
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