Evidence-based policy

The European Commission's strengthens the evidence-base in the field of languages, notably through regular monitoring. This is essential to help governments understand the existing levels of second language proficiency and enables them to take measures to improve the outcomes of language learning.

What is the EU's Role?

To ensure the development of relevant policies and effective initiatives, the European Commission is developing a sound evidence-base.

Using available data sources, it monitors the progress of language teaching and learning.

The European Commission works with Eurostat, Unesco and the OECD to collect and analyse data on language teaching across Europe. On this basis, sound language competence indicators and standards are being developed at European level.

The periodical Key Data on Teaching Languages at School, provided by the Eurydice network, also adds important information about national developments.

Why is it needed?

The European Commission's strengthens the evidence-base in the field of languages, notably through regular monitoring. This is essential to help governments understand the existing levels of second language proficiency and enables them to take measures to improve the outcomes of language learning.

Regular monitoring 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?

Every year, the Commission publishes the Education and Training Monitor, which is an instrument to foster and encourage evidence-based policy making. It is an annual report that illustrates, in a succinct document, the evolution of education and training systems across Europe. It takes into account a variety of benchmarks and indicators, as well as recent studies and policy developments, and it provides the framework for discussions with individual Member States within the strategic framework for cooperation in education and training (ET2020).

The first major step in establishing a sound evidence-base for policy-making in the field of languages was the European Indicator of Language Competence, allowing Member States to develop their language-learning policies and improve their national standards.