Some teachers tried to tell me that China has the worst teachers and students based on the international test results of the Cambridge BEC tests. Is that true? Can we use those tests results and other tests like IELTS and TEOFL to see where the best and worst English teaching is being done?
Here are the statistics for 2004 sorted from lowest pass rate to best pass rate, or you could say from worse to best.
As you can see, China did indeed score the worst of all the other countries. Does this mean China's teachers are the worst? There is an easy test we can apply to find out the answer.
If these statistics show us that China's teachers are the worst in the world then they should also help us to see which teachers are the best in the world.
China, People's Republic of 40%
Hong Kong 59%
United Kingdom 74%
Czech Republic 79%
Russian Federation 81%
Is it true that Slovenia has the best teachers in the world? They scored a 95% pass rate! Incredible! Even better than Canadian teachers. How did they do that?
And what about British teachers? Is it true that Argentinean teachers are better than British teachers?
I'm afraid we can only use the pass/failure rates of the BEC (and also the IELTS) to show us the rates of those who took the test and passed or failed. It does not reflect the language ability of students in general and the teaching ability of teachers in general.
People take this test for different reasons, different goals at different ages. Only if the BEC was given to ALL High School graduates or at least a true random sampling of students who were ALL at the same level could we use them to try to interpret teaching quality. These statistics from the BEC do not answer the question on the English teaching ability of teachers in China.
But this does not mean Chinese English teachers are good. It only means these particular statistics are not going to be useful in the question.
As I said, it doesn't really matter if China came in last in the BEC tests as this sort of test is not going to tell us anything about the teaching or learning skills.