French worst at English in European study

8th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 7 (AFP) - The French performed worse than all their neighbours in a recent European study testing knowledge of the English language among adolescents, according to the education ministry in Paris.

PARIS, March 7 (AFP) - The French performed worse than all their neighbours in a recent European study testing knowledge of the English language among adolescents, according to the education ministry in Paris.

French pupils produced results "clearly below" those achieved in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Spain, and the shortfall was clear "in all the different areas that were tested," the ministry said in a statement issued last week.

Particularly worrying was the observation that standards in France have not just failed to keep up with improvements elsewhere in Europe, but have actually declined.

According to the study, the 1,126 French pupils who took part in 2002 showed worse comprehension of written and spoken English texts and expressed themselves less well in the language than did their equivalents in a similar test in 1996.

In 1996 the French were on roughly the same level as Spanish pupils, but have now fallen behind even them, the Swedish study found.

"These results raise basic questions about the way English is taught in France," the ministry said.

"Everything happens as if classes have no appreciation of the role of English as a language of communication. For French teachers the main criterion for learning a language is knowledge of its grammar," the ministry said.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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