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Analyzing the English Proficiency of Non-Native English Speakers

English Proficiency

English proficiency is highly relevant in today’s world as it is the dominant business language and has become almost a requisite for people to speak English if they are to enter a global workforce. Research from all over the world shows that cross-border business communication is most often conducted in English.

International trade and investment aided by information technology have adopted English as the primary medium of communication in every part of the world. Countries like the Philippines and India capitalize on the talents of its workforce to encourage offshoring activities in their countries. The International Business Processing Association of the Philippines or the IBPAP has confirmed that the IT-BPM Industry has generated 1.5 million jobs. It has already surpassed overseas remittance as a primary contributor to the country’s GDP. As the industry rapidly grows, the need for more manpower is inevitable.

It is, however, important to take into consideration the quality of the talent pool available to sustain this development. Pearson, a prominent institution in language assessment technology through Versant, recently conducted a study on the English proficiency of countries adopting English as a second language.

English Proficiency and Skill Levels Across Eleven Regions

Versant has collected data from Versant Test takers from different parts of the world where English is not a native language. This, however, does not provide a thorough representation of the general populace. It aims to provide an overview of the English proficiency landscape in these countries. The study analyzed scores on Versant™ English from almost 400,000 tests taken between January and December 2015 in eleven key regions:

The table represents spoke English assessment results. The Philippines ranks second with a mean score of 59 and the Middle East, Japan, and South Korea rank last by a significant margin of 20 pts from Central America.

It is interesting to note that the Philippines came strong with the spoken test but ranked poorly in terms of writing skill. More notable is South Africa leading all scores in this category while ranking second to the last in spoken proficiency.

These factors can mainly be attributed to how the Philippines has assimilated western culture into its system. Its strong American influence has boosted its ability to communicate verbally but it did not necessarily acquire the competent skills in grammar. Proper assessment and intervention can readily address this issue.

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Related Articles: The Filipino Spoken and Written English – a Quick Analysis
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