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PISA tests power into EFL

EFL is about to become an even higher priority in education ministries around the world as, from 2025, English language tests will be included in the OECD’s PISA tests, which have become the metric by which national education systems measure their success.

The English language exams which are being developed by Cambridge Assessment English will test three skills: reading, speaking and listening and will be aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages.

The move should transform language learning league tables, as Dr Hanan Khalifa, of Cambridge Assessment English explains: “There have been many attempts to compare language learning around the world,” she points out, “but none of these has provided a properly systematic approach to language education in schools which can help to shape education policies.”

There is little doubt though that the English language league tables will be dominated by Europeans, especially speakers of Germanic languages, which are closely related to English. As we reported last month, a major Dutch study has shown the closer a learner’s L1 is to the target language, the better the outcome.

Which is good news for the Dutch and the Scandinavians who battle it out for the top spots in every English language exam – from the EF on-line test to TOEFL.

Plans to include other languages in future test cycles, however, may be particularly bad news for English-speaking countries, most of whom are notoriously weak at foreign language teaching.

Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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