时间:2014-12-12 16:18:32  作者:Voice of America  来源:VOA慢速英语  查看:179  评论:0
内容摘要:The world's understanding of English appears to be getting better. The private education company EF recently released a report called En...

The world's understanding of English appears to be getting better. The private education company EF recently released a report called English Proficiency Index. The report ranks English language proficiency in 63 countries into five categories or classes. They are: "very high proficiency, high, moderate, low and very low."

Minh Tran is EF's Director of Research and Academic Partnerships.
Minh Tran是英孚教育研究和学术合作部门的负责人。

"At the global level, we are seeing a consistent improvement year after year. I think that many countries that are looking outward, that are looking to internationalize their economies are seeing the importance of English."

The English Proficiency Index says Denmark is the top country for English as a foreign language. Poland and Austria have joined Denmark and other northern European countries with the "very high proficiency" ranking.

Malaysia and Singapore have the best ranking in Asia with "high proficiency" in English. Joining them is Argentina, the only Latin American country to rank as "high proficiency." English levels in the rest of Latin America remain low.

South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have invested a lot of time and money in English education. But these countries have not improved since the last study came out in 2007.

Minh Tran has this to say: "I think they are not improving because they have not made any significant reform to the way they teach English. In Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong. They still rely quite heavily on rote memory. And there's a strong focus on grammar and vocabulary acquisition, but not so much on the actual communicative skills."
Minh Tran有这样一段话:“我认为他们英语水平并无改善的原因是他们的英语教学方式并未做出任何实质性改革。在韩国、日本、台湾和香港等地,他们仍然严重依赖死记硬背,并且非常注重语法和词汇掌握,而不是注重实际交流技巧。”

English language proficiency has actually fallen in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, partly because of wars in the area.

For its report, EF used online test results from 750,000 adults in 63 countries. The test takers were adults who chose to take the company's online test. They were not a random sample of the total population. For that reason, the results might be biased toward people who are interested in English and use the Internet.

Dr. Clive Roberts is the Director of Assessment, Analysis & Research at ELS Educational Services. He does not know about the report's research methods, but he thinks the study is helpful.
克莱夫·罗伯茨(Clive Roberts)博士是ELS教育服务公司评估、分析和研究部门的负责人。他不知道这篇报告的研究方法,但他认为该研究有帮助

"...Conducting such research enables countries, regions, organizations to sort of assess their own position relative to other places. What trends are happening..., then they can sort of re-assess their own situation and figure out a strategy."

Improvements have also been noted on average scores for the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, and IELTS, the International English Language Testing System.

Eileen Tyson is Executive Director of Global Client Relations at the Educational Testing Service. ETS produces the TOEFL. Ms. Tyson agrees that English proficiency is rising worldwide. Average TOEFL scores have risen by two points in the past nine years. But she thinks it is not wise to compare countries by average TOEFL scores. She says many things can influence test results.
艾琳·泰森(Eileen Tyson)是美国教育考试服务中心全球客户关系执行董事。美国教育考试服务中心出台了托福考试。泰森女士认同全球范围内的英语熟练度不断攀升。在过去九年,托福平均成绩提高了2个百分点。但她认为,通过托福考试成绩比较各国英语水平并不明智。她说有很多因素能影响到考试成绩。

"For example, the age at which students start to learn English. ...Some native languages are closer to English...How many hours per week a student spends learning English, and what kind of curriculum they use. So all of these combine ...we feel strongly that you really can't use TOEFL scores for comparing general proficiency across countries."

In 2005, ETS made big changes to the TOEFL. It went from a paper test to a test that required use of a computer and an Internet connection. Notably, ETS cut the grammar section and required test takers to record spoken responses to questions.

Eileen Tyson thinks the new TOEFL encouraged many teachers to make their classes more interactive.

"We think it did help teachers to look at how they were teaching English, to make it more communicative, to make sure they were teaching speaking and writing. And we're actually kind of proud of the fact that we've helped to influence language teaching and language learning worldwide."

The British Council estimates that 1.75 billion people speak English today. The group expects that number to grow to two billion by 2020 -- about one-fourth of the world's population.

I'm Jonathan Evans.
我是乔纳森·埃文斯(Jonathan Evans)。

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