Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't base policy decisions on an invalid English test

Sent to the South China Morning Post

William Wang recommends that "Hongkongers need to learn English from an early age" (Nov. 11) because of Hong Kong's ranking on the EF (English First) English Proficiency Index.
Policy decisions about English education should not be based on the EF English Proficiency Index; countries with low scores should not despair and countries with high scores should not rejoice. The EF Index is not a valid measure of a country's English competence.
Half of a country's score on the EF Index is based on a test given only to those enrolled in private English language schools. It therefore only tests beginners and intermediates, and excludes those who speak English well, who have no need to take such a course. It also excludes those who cannot afford to take a private course.
The other half of a country's score is based on an internet exam that is freely open to anybody who wants to take it, which means it is limited to those with easy access to computers and the internet, and who are curious about their level of English.
This is not the way to measure a nation's English language proficiency.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

original article:

1 comment:

  1. Very unscientific, the whole EF thing... is there a better measure out there somewhere?