EF reports decline of French EPI

Declining EPI attributable to lack of exposure

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

“French students report lower levels of exposure to English in everyday life than any other Europeans polled. Exposure to a foreign language has been found repeatedly to be one of the strongest contributors to increased fluency.”

-EF Report

Education First (EF), an international education company, compiled its third EF English Proficiency Index (EPI) report, using test data from 750,000 adults yearly from 2007 to 2012. Most countries in Europe increased or only slightly changed their scores on these tests. France, however, scored 2.63 points lower on the index, making it the lowest scorer in its region.

In its country spotlight on France, the EF analyzes several components of France’s poor performance. It notes that even after eight years of English study, 70 percent of students remain at pre-beginner or beginner level.


The EF isolates lack of exposure to English as the prime reason. Laws there restrict foreign languages in media. In addition, only 11 percent of students said their school had a language lab. Listening and speaking English is thus discouraged in France, for mostly cultural reasons.

The EF’s analysis further highlights the importance of conversation-essentially, listening and speaking-when learning new languages. Perhaps these declining test results will motivate the French government to fund more English-exposing activities, whether it be through media legislation or education reform. Naturally, I expect scores to improve when there are more conversations in English taking place.

Curious to see how your students score on the EF’s English Test? Click here. How has exposure to conversations contributed to their score?

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Photo Source: “Paris Eiffelturm” by User:MarkGGN. Uploaded by – Own work. Licensed under

CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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