European Survey on Language Competences: School-internal and External Factors in Language Learning, 2013
In this report the European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC) was used in order to identify specific factors to language learning that affect secondary school students´ proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Variables related to students´ perception of the nature and quality of their lessons, the usefulness attached to learning the target language and the exposure to language outside school were considered in terms of system level policiess. A multinomial regression model was used to compare students in the Pre-A1 level with the Basic User level (combination of CEFR levels A1 and A2), and the latter with the Independent User level (which includes levels B1 and B2). The authors ran a analysis for 13 adjudicated entities that participated in the ESLC and have English as their first foreign language. The authors found that there is wide variation across countries, but that it is worth considering the contribution of variables related to internal system-level policies and external learning conditions. Likewise, it was verified that some variables related to classroom methodology and student motivation also contribute to explain achievement. Results indicate that, in general, students´ perception of the usefulness of language learning for entertainment, for reading books and magazines and the frequency with which they watch movies in the original version explains achievement. In addition, in most countries, parents´ knowledge of the foreign language has a positive effect in students’ achievement. Among the most important school factors that impact students´ attainment it was found that the earlier the onset of language learning the higher the attained language proficiency.