Acknowledging Recent National Language Proficiency Test Results

English Proficiency ranked by Countries

Costa Ricans and Language Profiency Test

Recently the English Proficiency of Costa Ricans and the labor of educators was criticized by a tumult of  biased and non well-researched opinions as newspapers filled the social networks with headlines of results of a study done by Education First  which is the the world leader in international education.  The results ranked Costa Rica in the 43th spot.

English Proficiency ranked by Countries

The study demostrates  that:

  1. English language proficiency  is linked to higher income , higher quality of life , ease to do business and innovation.
  2. Men and women score similarly poorly in the test, with no marked gender difference.
  3. Young professionals aged 25 to 34 are just as proficient in English as many of their peers in other countries.
  4. Costa Rican educators and lawmakers will need to identify the causes of the low level performance in English proficiency.

Things to consider for a good interpretation of results:

  1. Costa Rica doesn’t top the lists of countries ranked by higher income , higher quality of life or innovation so  if English is correlated to such factors , Costa Rica as a country has to do more than teaching classes to improve the English proficiency of its citizens.
  2. The good aspect of the study is that young professionals aged 25 to 34 are  as proficient as people in developed countries.
  3. Costa Rican Educators have a big role in improving the proficiency of students but this needs to go hand by hand with what the government does. A good educator can change a group for the better but not the whole student population. Individual changes are a step in the right direction but won’t put us at the top of the list.

Language Educators and their Performance in Language Proficiency Tests

The Centro Cultural Britanico was one of the two institutions that were in charge of evaluating current and future educators to certify if they qualify for a long- term positions in the Ministry of Public Education (MEP).

This is how  educators did  in the test. It would make sense to say that if a majority of educators are in the upper-intermediate level , it would be mission impossible to expect the Costa Rican population to score above a B2 level.


Consistency in Language Proficiency Test Results

Language proficiency exams tend to be consistent as I always have been placed  in the same level of the Common European Framework for Languages

CEFR Framework

I have taken two language proficiency tests  from two well-known institutions such as the Centro Cultural Britanico and the Centro Cultural Costarricense-Norteamericano and  both  placed me in the same level.

I also took three of the tests provided by Education First and the results were the same

Online Proficiency Test

Second test

Education first  result test

Third Test

EF Score

You can take the three tests by clicking these links : Test 1 and  Test 2 and Test 3

Why Not Test in All Four Domains?

Because the relationships among the four domains are so strong, the argument goes, that an assessment of any single domain can serve as a reasonably good surrogate for an assessment in any of the others. In fact, early studies of the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test (e.g., Wilson, 1989) seem  to have suggested this possibility. The strong correlation between scores on the TOEIC Listening and Reading test and performance on language proficiency interviews was viewed as evidence that  TOEIC Listening and Reading scores could serve, at least indirectly, as moderately good proxies for direct assessments of speaking proficiency.


I can’t finish this post without acknowledging that the study done by Education First tells how we do in English and not how we pretend to do in English . Criticizing studies and test results  add to the fact that we deserve to be ranked 43th.

The results demonstrates that English language proficiency tests are reliable as results don’t vary  and if they do  , the variation tends to be small.

Teachers sometimes want to take individual or country  results as a personal attack to their integrity , First we must understand that  being a good language learner doesn’t equal to being a good language teacher. Language proficiency test measure skills , not teaching abilities as some people assume.

The language proficiency of a country depends on different factors and not simply on English classes . Innovation plays role in having better language teachers and learners but some classrooms have not evolved yet. most classrooms are filled only with chairs , desks , whiteboards and markers.

 Information for further study

Toeic- Additional Validity Study

Toeic – Assessing English-Language Proficiency in All Four Language Domains: Is It Really Necessary?

TOEIC® Listening and Reading Test

Filling in bubble test --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

What’s the Toeic TEST?

For more than 30 years, the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test has set the standard for assessing English-language skills used in the workplace. Today it is the leading assessment of English-language reading and listening skills for the global workplace.

  • Workforce Readiness: Prepare students to compete in the competitive global workforce.
  • Placement: Determine who has the skills to succeed in school and in business.
  • Program Effectiveness: Measure a student’s progress and proficiency in English.
  • Program Development: Evaluate the effectiveness of your English-language programs..

Resources  to get ready for the  TOEIC

TOEIC MasteryTOEIC Mastery

I have installed  Toeic Mastery  on windows 7 before  and now on Windows 8  and it has worked smoothly ,  Installation  doesn’t take more than 5 minutes.  The file was uploaded by  an  sendspace user. If you are not used  to  installing  and uninstalling software , you must  get some help but It is worth the hassle!


If  you don’t wanna complicate yourself with a software installation , you can  practice online by clicking any of these links.

TOEIC Simulation Test 1 (Practice Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 2 (Practice Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 3 (Practice Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 4 (Practice Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 5 (Practice Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 1 (Exam Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 2 (Exam Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 3 (Exam Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 4 (Exam Mode)
TOEIC Simulation Test 5 (Exam Mode)

ETS provides you  with  sample questions so surprise  isn’t a factor , these are two files  that every  first- timer should read. 

ExamEnglishDotCom provides  you with online training you might wanna take a look and see for yourself , I consider their practices useful.

The TOEIC Listening and Reading test

Online Toeic Training gives you an experience similar  to the previous  four recommendations, there is no shortage of resources for you to succeed in your goals, Start practicing right away by clicking the following link:

Toeic Sample Test

King George International College 

his preparation test includes all the test areas, within a timed environment. The questions here are very similar to the actual TOEIC® test.

On-line TOEIC Practice Test

Full English Sample Tests

This site provides four sample test under the new format, each test is made  of 80 questions and can be finished in 60 minutes

Goodwin English provides  five free TOEIC tests , the visual stand out in this site

Tactics for the TOEIC

Tactics for the Toeic

If you know your way around the web  , Rieebook has provided us  with a link to download the book “Tactics For TOEIC Listening and reading  test ” The files are hosted in  mediafire , if you consider a book might help  you , please  take a look  at the website

Tactics For TOEIC Listening and reading  test

Target TOEIC


Target TOEIC Second Edition is designed to provide thorough and realistic preparation for the TOEIC test through authentic test practice. In order to ensure that students are getting authentic test practice, this new edition has been updated to incorporate changes recently made to the TOEIC test.

600 Essential words for the TOEIC

600 essential words for the TOEICUpdated to reflect the most recent TOEIC, this test preparation book focuses on 600 words commonly used on the TOEIC. Words are taught in 50 vocabulary-building lessons that focus on American English as it is used in today’s business, industry, communications, and cultural activities

Target Score

Target Score

Revised to meet the needs of the new TOEIC® Test, this Second edition also provides effective, classroom-friendly lessons for active, communicative English

Skills for the TOEIC Test

Skills for the Toeic Test

Collins : Speaking and Writing is a unique skills-based exam preparation course. TOEIC  is a test of English proficiency for people in the workplace seeking to work in an international environment or looking for promotion within their organisation.

Do you have  an online tool or advice  for TOEIC takers?  Please leave a message in the comments section



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