The fight back against the EF English Proficiency Ranking starts here

The latest EF EPI ranking is out, with the usual mix of unsurprising (Scandanavia, Holland and other Northern European countries top) and more controversial (Shanghai and Beijing above Hong Kong, Japan above Italy and France, Turkey clearly at the bottom in Europe, etc). This year it seems to be the position of Hong Kong which has prompted the most debate.

Although it seems to be better than the pointless practice of comparing countries by TOEFL scores, TOEIC scores or IELTS scores, the EF EPI also has that classic statistical cock up of being made up of self-selected samples of people. Given how most of the results do make sense, my question is how much of a negative effect that might have. As statistics was always my most hated maths course, I have no answer to that at all. Instead, I’ve written to the BBC for the first time since Jim’ll Fix It, and am hopeful that the fabulous statistics radio programme (!) More or Less might cover it in their next series, given how they are on the World Service and all. If more people could contact them to ask the same or similar questions, should help settle this once and for all.

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