Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan lagging behind in English proficiency

ENGLISH TESTS:Taiwan had an average TOEIC score of 539 last year, far behind China’s 747, the Philippines’ 678 and South Korea’s 628, data from the ETS showed

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer

A US testing service organization has released data showing that English proficiency in Taiwan is falling further behind other Asian countries, such as China, the Philippines and South Korea

The results are based on data from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

For TOEIC, one of the commonly used tests to assess English proficiency, Taiwan’s average score last year was 539, the lowest in the past four years, a report by the Chinese-language China Times said.

It was far behind the average score of 747 for China, 678 for the Philippines and 628 for South Korea.

Information from ETS showed that a total of 264,563 individuals took the TOEIC in Taiwan last year, with about 85 percent of the students at college level or above.

The breakdown showed an average score of 295 for the listening section of the test and 244 for the reading part.

ETS data also showed that Taiwan’s score was about at the same level as Greece, but higher than that of Japan (512) and Thailand (499).

“Most international companies in China use the TOEIC for assessment, so many students taking the test are from Peking University, Fudan University, and other high-ranked Chinese schools. Thus their scores are higher,” ETS Taiwan general manager Wang Hsing-wei (王星威) said.

The average TOEIC score for high-school students last year was 582, which was higher than that for college and university students who averaged 504.

The breakdown for post-secondary education showed that the average score for university students was 568, which was higher than that for technical and vocational college students who averaged 405.

“TOEIC scores for university students are closest to the actual assessment level. Most high-school students who take the TOEIC are seeking to improve their scores in the Special University Admission Quotas for Recommended Students,” Wang said. “As a group, they are above-average in their English proficiency level.”

“University students taking TOEIC are trying to comply with graduation requirements or seeking to boost their employment chances. Thus these are closer to the average score,” he said.

In terms of field of study, students from liberal arts colleges had the highest average TOEIC scores, 591; followed by social sciences, 590; business and management, 534; medicine, 525; physical sciences, 512; and engineering, 479.

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