Estonian Schools To Take Part in Pan-European Language Proficiency Study
Eestlased Eestis 19 Feb 2011  EWR
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The language proficiency skills of students at 149 Estonian schools will be tested for the first time in the framework of a pan-European study. The program began on February 14th and continues until March 4th.

The target group of the study is students who are completing their obligatory education and are thus from 15 to 16 years old. The proficiency of the languages under scrutiny will be English (1 779 students) and German (1 489 students) with listening, reading and writing skills being tested.

In the course of the study, information about the background of foreign language study will also be collected. For this purpose there will be background questionnaires for the students in the sample as well as for the foreign language teachers of the respective level and for headmasters.

Estonia has taken part in measuring its students' skills in mathematics and natural sciences in two international studies, in TIMSS in 2003 and in PIA in 2009, but the pan-European language proficiency study initiated by the European Commission in 2007 is the first in this area of study. At a proposal of the European Commission language proficiency will be measured in five foreign languages taught the most often in the European Union: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

In 2002 the European Supreme Council appealed to the community to carry out activities that would improve young people's basic skills, above all through the teaching of at least two foreign languages, and made the proposal to create a language proficiency indicator. The duty of the indicator is to measure foreign language proficiency at six language proficiency levels. The European language proficiency indicator must become the main means of the development of member countries' language proficiency policy.

Participation in the study will give an overview of the English and German proficiency of graduates of Estonia’s secondary schools and makes it possible to compare the students' language proficiency internationally. Results of the language proficiency study will be released in the middle of next year. Carrying out the main test of the study will be financed by the Estonian European Social Fund programme, Development of Language Study in 2011-2013 and it will take place in co-operation with the Our People Integration and the Migration Foundation.

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