OECD Education Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies drawing on the work of the OECD Directorate for Education. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language (English or French) with a short summary available in the other.

English, French

Does English instruction teach more reading than listening skills?

Evidence from 15 European education systems

This study investigates whether English formal instruction and a number of teaching practices are more strongly associated with reading or listening English skills, using data from a large-scale assessment of English skills among 14- and 15-year-olds in 15 European education systems in 2012. The results indicate that the skill difference between reading and listening skills is positively associated with: more years spent learning English in school; more hours of current English instruction; and even indicators of quality of English instruction. In addition, the use of different teaching materials and the emphasis put on oral skills in the classroom are also associated with the difference between reading and listening skills. These results are based on a methodology developed specifically for this study, and they confirm the usefulness of separately measuring foreign language skills for policy analysis.


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