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メインのテーマは英語。日本(日本人)と海外(外国人)の違いや英語の勉強方法について、これまでの経験から感じた事を記事にしています。

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英語化企画:5 interesting statistics from TOEIC's official data

英語を勉強する人を応援する企画「英語化」

The Institute for International Business Communication (IIBC) publishes interesting data each year regarding the TOEIC exam.

In this data are statistics of test takers such as gender difference (Female 44.1% Male 55.9%) and average age of test takers (39.3% age 21-25, 20% age under 20) are shared.

Here are 5 interesting statistics from this report shared in TOEIC's official site.

 

1. Increasing number of TOEIC applicants

Below is a bar graph of the number of applicants by years. The TOEIC exam started in 1979 and the number of applicants have increased almost every year.

f:id:YutoKatagami:20160709025433j:plain

(from "TOEIC プログラム DATA & ANALYSIS 2014")

This data reflects the growing interests and requirements of Japanese(Korean) people in English.

The TOEIC test has been taken over 2 million times each year after 2011. The latest result published recently showed that this number further increased to 2,556,000 in 2015.

 

2.  Mean Performance by Native Country/Region

A list of the average test scores from a given country/region is shared in the "TOEIC テスト Worldwide Report 2013" results.

In this list, Japan ranks 40th out of 48 countries with the average score of 512 out of 990. First in list is Bangladesh (Score:895), Second is India (Score:861), Third is Canada (Score:819).

Looking at this list, many of you may feel that this data is somewhat faulty as I did.

 

One important thing to note is that this is the average score of all valid test results taken within that country. It does not take into consideration the number of test takers (although it does leave out countries/regions with less than 500 results).

The TOEIC exam is delivered globally across 150 countries but the purpose of the test is somewhat different depending on the countries.

TOEIC is a test popular in Japan and Korea. In these countries, people take this test multiple times a year to test their english knowledge. This includes applicants that have just started to learn english, thus making the average score lower.

In other regions, people take this test for specific reasons such as applying for a job. These applicants do not take the exam while studying but instead take the exam only after they have learned english.

 

In other words, the TOEIC exam is taken for two purposes.

  1. As a measurement to test your current english skills
  2. As a certificate to prove your english skills.

Countries such as Japan and Korea fall into 1. so the average test results tend to be lower. Many other countries take the TOEIC exam for 2. hence making the average test results high.

Althought this data may be a bit misleading, this is an interesting result as long as we are aware of this bais.

 

3. Type of Language Skill Most Emphasized When Studying English

There are 4 skills in learning a language (listening, reading, speaking, writing). After each tests, the test-takers were asked to answer a questionare. This data shows which skills the test-takers emphsized the most during their studies.

f:id:YutoKatagami:20160709031819j:plain

Type of Language skills most Emphasized when studying English Total% Average Score
Listening
Average Score
Reading
Average Score
Total
Listening,Reading,Speaking,Writing 25.9 349 298 646
Speaking 15.5 319 260 578
Listening,Speaking 25.6 317 257 574
Reading,Writing 6.0 302 258 560
Reading 13.3 283 241 524
Listening 11.0 283 230 512
Writing 2.8 269 220 489

25.9% of the test-takes indicated that all four skills were emphasized during their study followed by 25.6% answering Speaking and Listening skills were important.

From this data, we can tell that the mojority of the people think that it is important to be able to communicate (Listen and Speak) in english more than the comprehension skills (Reading and Writing).

Contrary to this data, many people in japan mark high scores in reading and writing. Although TOEIC does not measure speaking skills, Japanese people tend to struggle most in achieving speaking skills.

This is why i tell many people that they should focus on the type of skills they wish to gain. Although many say they want to speak engilsh, they spend a lot of time facing textbooks. Textbooks are good to gain Reading/Writing skills but in order to gain Speaking skills, you should spend more time communicating, learning to express your feelings with words.

 

4.Most Frequently Used Language Skill

The previous data was about the skills test-takers emphasized while studying English. This data shows the skills these test-takers most frequently use.

f:id:YutoKatagami:20160709032525j:plain

Most Frequently used
Language Skills

Total% Average Score
Listening
Average Score
Reading
Average Score
Total
Listening,Reading,Speaking,Writing 12.7 358 304 662
Reading,Writing 8.7 332 282 614
Listening,Speaking 16.4 325 261 586
Reading 31.1 304 261 564
Speaking 11.6 303 242 545
Listening 15.9 300 241 541
Writing 3.7 285 233 517

Reading skill is used the most. 12.7% said they use all 4 skills, 8.7% said they use reading and writing skills, and 31.1% said they use reading skills.  The count adds up to 52.5%. Over half the test-takers use reading sklls the most.

What surprised me was that there were more people that said they use speaking skills (11.6%) than writing skills (3.7%). I expected speaking skills to be the lowest since we hardly speak in english living in Japan.

 

5. Purpose for Taking TOEIC

The last data is the purpose for taking the TOEIC exam.

f:id:YutoKatagami:20160709033033j:plain

Purpose of taking TOEIC

Total% Average Score
Listening
Average Score
Reading
Average Score
Total
To apply for a job 30.3 338 280 618
To apply for (graduate) a school 19.0 314 264 578
To study English 32.0 305 251 556
To measure current english skills 8.4 295 243 538
To get a job promotion 10.3 293 243 536

32% of the test-takes answered that they take the TOEIC exam to study english, and 8.4% answered that their purpose is to measure their engilsh skills. This adds up to 40% of the test-takers taking TOEIC purely for study purposes. (hence resulting in the bias mentioned in "2.  Mean Performance by Native Country/Region") The other 60% take TOEIC for work or school.

As mentioned before, these are two major purposes people take the TOIEC exam.

  1. As a measurement to test your current english skills
  2. As a certificate to prove your english skills 

 

As these results show, focus towards english is increasing each year. People feel the need to gain the skills to communicate in the global language.