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EF English Proficiency Index

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Title: EF English Proficiency Index  
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EF English Proficiency Index

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is a report which attempts to rank countries by the average level of English skills amongst adults. It is the product of EF Education First, a global language training company, and draws its conclusions from data collected via English tests available for free over the internet. The report was published for the first time in March, 2011 based on the results of over 2 million test takers.[1] The most recent, fourth edition was released in November, 2014.[2]


The EF EPI fourth edition was calculated using test data from 750,000 test takers in 2013. The test takers were self-selected and no demographic information was collected on them. The tests are used by the company for marketing and placement purposes. 61 countries and 2 territories appear in the fourth edition of the index. In order to be included a country was required to have at least 400 test takers total.[3]


The report is composed of a country ranking table, several pages of analysis with graphs correlating other economic and social factors with English proficiency, and analysis of each region or continent. The 2014 report includes a retrospective look at evolution in English proficiency over the period from 2007 and 2013, English proficiency levels by gender, age group, and region within countries, and some English proficiency scores by city. The website displays portions of the report and has in-depth analysis of English skills in many countries and territories.[4]

Primary conclusions

  1. Exports per capita, Gross National Income per capita and Ease of doing business all correlate positively with English proficiency.
  2. English proficiency levels are evolving at different rates in different countries around the world, including a few countries with declining English skills.
  3. Europe as a whole speaks the best English, the Middle East the worst.
  4. The size of the investment in English training does not necessarily correspond to the amount of progress made over time.

2014 Rankings

Map of the results of the 2014 EF English Proficiency Index
Country 2014 Rank 2014 Score 2014 Level 2007-2014 Trend
 Denmark 1 69.30 Very High Proficiency +2.72
 Netherlands 2 68.98 Very High Proficiency 1.06
 Sweden 3 67.80 Very High Proficiency 1.54
 Finland 4 64.39 Very High Proficiency 3.15
 Norway 5 64.32 Very High Proficiency -4.76
 Poland 6 64.26 Very High Proficiency +9.64
 Austria 7 63.21 Very High Proficiency +4.63
 Estonia 8 61.39 High Proficiency -4.16
 Belgium 9 61.20 High Proficiency +3.98
 Germany 10 60.88 High Proficiency +4.25
 Slovenia 11 60.59 High Proficiency +0.41
 Malaysia 12 59.72 High Proficiency +4.19
 Singapore 13 59.58 High Proficiency +0.93
 Latvia 14 59.43 High Proficiency +1.77
 Argentina 15 59.02 High Proficiency +5.53
 Romania 16 58.63 High Proficiency
 Hungary 17 58.54 High Proficiency +7.74
  Switzerland 18 58.29 High Proficiency +3.69
 Czech Republic 19 57.42 Moderate Proficiency +6.11
 Spain 20 57.18 Moderate Proficiency +8.17
 Portugal 21 56.83 Moderate Proficiency +3.21
 Slovakia 22 55.95 Moderate Proficiency +5.32
 Dominican Republic 23 53.65 Moderate Proficiency +8.75
 South Korea 24 53.62 Moderate Proficiency -0.57
 India 25 53.54 Moderate Proficiency +6.19
 Japan 26 52.88 Moderate Proficiency -1.29
 Italy 27 52.80 Moderate Proficiency +3.75
 Indonesia 28 52.74 Moderate Proficiency +7.96
 France 29 52.68 Moderate Proficiency -0.47
 Taiwan 30 52.56 Moderate Proficiency +3.63
 Hong Kong 31 52.50 Moderate Proficiency -1.94
 United Arab Emirates 32 51.80 Low Proficiency +1.43
 Vietnam 33 51.57 Low Proficiency +7.25
 Peru 34 51.46 Low Proficiency +6.75
 Ecuador 35 51.05 Low Proficiency +6.51
 Russia 36 50.43 Low Proficiency +4.65
 China 37 50.15 Low Proficiency +2.53
 Brazil 38 49.96 Low Proficiency +2.69
 Mexico 39 49.83 Low Proficiency -1.65
 Uruguay 40 49.61 Low Proficiency -3.81
 Chile 41 48.75 Low Proficiency +4.12
 Colombia 42 48.54 Low Proficiency +5.77
 Costa Rica 43 48.52 Low Proficiency -0.62
 Ukraine 44 48.50 Low Proficiency -4.59
 Jordan 45 47.82 Very Low Proficiency +1.38
 Qatar 46 47.81 Very Low Proficiency -0.98
 Turkey 47 47.80 Very Low Proficiency +10.14
 Thailand 48 47.79 Very Low Proficiency +8.38
 Sri Lanka 49 46.37 Very Low Proficiency -5.10
 Venezuela 50 46.11 Very Low Proficiency +1.69
 Guatemala 51 45.77 Very Low Proficiency -2.02
 Panama 52 43.70 Very Low Proficiency +.08
 El Salvador 53 43.45 Very Low Proficiency -4.19
 Kazakhstan 54 42.97 Very Low Proficiency +11.23
 Morocco 55 42.42 Very Low Proficiency -6.97
 Egypt 56 42.12 Very Low Proficiency -3.79
 Iran 57 41.83 Very Low Proficiency -11.09
 Kuwait 58 41.80 Very Low Proficiency -5.21
 Saudi Arabia 59 39.48 Very Low Proficiency -8.57
 Algeria 60 38.50 Very Low Proficiency -8.62
 Cambodia 61 38.25 Very Low Proficiency
 Libya 62 38.19 Very Low Proficiency -4.34
 Iraq 63 38.02 Very Low Proficiency -0.14


The EF English Proficiency Index has been criticized for its lack of representative sampling in each country.[5] The report states that participants in the tests are self-selected and must have access to the internet. This pushes the index towards the realm of an online survey rather than a statistically valid evaluation.

However there are few alternative comparisons available of countries by their English skills, and those that exist are smaller in scale, as is the case with a reported British Council study,[1] or they have other sampling flaws, as is the case with rankings of countries by standardized English test scores such as the TOEFL.[6] The European Commission performed a language survey, SurveyLang, which tests a representative sample of 15-year-old European students on their foreign language skills. The first report and data sets were released for 13 European countries in June 2012.[7]


  1. ^ a b English: Who speaks English?. The Economist. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  2. ^
  3. ^ EF English Proficiency Index – Comparing English skills between countries – EF EPI. Retrieved on 2014-11-19.
  4. ^ EF English Proficiency Index – Comparing English skills between countries – EF EPI. Retrieved on 2014-11-19.
  5. ^ The English Blog: EF English Proficiency Ranking. (2011-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  6. ^ TOEFL: Test and Score Data Summaries. Retrieved on 2011-05-29.
  7. ^ [1]. European Commission. Retrieved on 2012-09-20.

The official webpage of the ranking

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