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Evidence-based policy

What is the European Commission's role?

In order to ensure the development of relevant policies and effective initiatives, it is essential that the European Commission (EC) develop a sound evidence-base on which it can rely. Why is it needed?

The EC's activities in the field of languages, notably the European Survey, are essential in helping governments understand existing levels of second language proficiency and enabling them to make meaningful comparisons with other countries.

It also provides information on how demographic, social, economic and educational variables affect language proficiency within and across Member States.

What has been done so far?

The first major step in establish a sound evidence-base for policy-making has been the European Indicator of Language Competence, allowing European governments to develop language-learning policies and improve national standards.

In addition to this, the first language competence surveypdf(11.39 Mb) Vybrať preklady k predchádzajúcemu odkazu  was carried out in the spring of 2011, across 14 Member States and 16 educational systems. Almost 54,000 pupils were tested in three main competencies:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
What are the next steps?

The 2014 Council Conclusions on multilingualism and the development of language competencespdf invite both the EC and EU Member States to make efforts to develop appropriate ways for assessing language proficiency, and make use of the Open Method of Coordination to exchange experiences and best practices in this field. The Council Conclusions propose to assess progress on the basis of a proficiency indicator, combined with data on teaching input.

Concerning the proficiency indicator, the EC will further explore the feasibility of assessing language competences in the Member States, including by making use of national data, where available, and with the support of experts from the Member States.

The EC will also continue to promote multilingualism under the Erasmus+ programme, notably through language assessment and strategic partnerships, as well as the European Language Label awards.