Two billion peoplewill be learningEnglish in the nextdecade.The EF EPI usesEnglish test scoresrom over twomillion adultsaround the world.
More people are learning English thanever beore
Every year, more and more speakers o otherlanguages are learning English. In countries aroundthe world, public school systems are teaching Englishto children rom primary or pre-school grades.Secondary schools are making English mandatoryand are including English-language instruction inother academic subjects, most oten math or science. A growing number o universities require English oradmission or graduation, and many now oer degreeprograms entirely in English to compete with the top-ranked institutions in the U.S. and the U.K. In additionto all the young people learning English throughpublic education, the private English-instructionsector is an estimated 50 billion dollar industry.Indeed, it has been proposed that within the nextdecade as many as two billion people will be learningEnglish at any given time.
How do we measure success?
Yet despite the billions o hours and dollarspoured into teaching people English, there is littlemeasurement o the success o these investments.Within the English-teaching community, there is noconsensus on the best ways to evaluate Englishprociency, or indeed on the ultimate goals o English study. While most English teachers andstudents agree that communication is the primaryobjective, more work must be done to dene targetcompetencies and how each competency can bestbe evaluated.
Standardizing measurement o adultEnglish prociency
The EF English Prociency Index (EPI) hasbeen created in this context as a standardizedmeasurement o adult English prociency,comparable between countries and over time.It is the rst index o its kind to give countries abenchmark against which to measure the averageEnglish competency o the working population. Theindex uses a unique set o test data rom over twomillion adults who took ree online English testsover a period o three years. Because this groupo test takers is so diverse and the entry barrier totaking an online English test is so low, the resultingscores are reasonably representative o the averageEnglish level o adults. While there is no guaranteethat this particular prociency score correspondsto the academic and economic goals set by anindividual nation, the EF EPI does provide a uniquelystandardized comparison o English prociency. Thisis useul or citizens and governments alike whentrying to evaluate the eectiveness o their Englishlanguage policies as compared to their neighbors’.
“In a world where speaking English is becoming a basic skill rather than an advantage, the EFEPI stands out rom the existing language tests or three reasons: its ocus on communicativecompetence, the unique database on which it is standardized, and its availability over theinternet. This is the rst time that policy-makers, educationalists, and researchers have a toolthat allows decisions on language teaching to be inormed by comparisons with 44 countriesand over two million learners. In the years to come, the EPI is likely to set the benchmark or theassessment o international English prociency.”
Dr. Napoleon KatsosSenior Research Associate
University o Cambridge Research Centre o English and Applied Linguistics