At the presentation, invitees were given access to statistics as well as to conclusions drawn from the report which was conducted for the first time, and on a global scale.
An independent research project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the British Council evaluated nearly 1,500 students from Grade 11 across a targeted sample of 148 government-funded schools over a period of a year.
Students were primarily assessed for their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, through the administration of the British Council’s APTIS language test – an internationally employed English proficiency assessment formulated by British Council language testing experts. The Aptis assessment is a computer delivered test (using tabs in this instant), that was used across Sri Lanka for this study.” Aptis is a scalable, flexible and a reliable English assessment tool used worldwide that can be used for a variety of proficiency testing requirements in government, education or corporate contexts, with results delivered within 48 hrs, said Simon Creasey, Country Exams Manager, British Council.
Participants were additionally asked to answer a questionnaire -delivered in Sinhalese and Tamil- pertaining to their socio-economic and educational backgrounds as well as their motivations for acquiring a proficiency in the English language
Commenting on the results at the launch of the report, Louise Cowcher, Director of Education at the British Council in Sri Lanka, said “The results of the English Impact Survey is vital; not just in providing us with fresh insight on the quality of English language education in schools, but also with important evidence on the general perception of the language and its importance. This provides us with crucial information that will prove instrumental in driving improvements to the current system of learning English in Sri Lanka.”
Key findings highlighted in the 2016/2017 report were:
- Female students outperformed their male counterparts in all assessments. Of the two, female participants were also found to have greater confidence in their ability to learn the language and were also more strongly motivated to learn.
- Of the four language skills, listening scored the highest while participants were proven to find reading and speaking the most challenging.
- There is a distinct co-relation between socio-economic status and English language learning motivation. Students from more advantaged backgrounds were found to be greater inclined to study the language than those from less advantaged families.
- Young people hold very positive views of the English language, and understand its importance for their personal, social, professional growth.
Additionally, the survey is a reflection of the MoE’s commitment to reviewing and enhancing the curricula and learning methods of the English language as part of the education reform process; for a lack of, or poor proficiency in English language skills can negatively affect a young person’s ability to get a job, and on a national scale will greatly hold back economic prosperity when competing for business on a global stage.
The British Council is well-established as the primary provider of quality English education and resources in Sri Lanka, and is committed to working with relevant public, private, non-profit, and non-governmental organisations to produce a portfolio of impactful projects such as this English Impact Survey.