German speakers revealed as top English language learners

German speakers are the world’s top English language learners according to English language proficiency test scores compiled from the past year by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Of the 2.5 million IELTS tests taken in 2014, German speakers who sat the IELTS Academic test achieved the highest average scores for listening, reading, writing and speaking English amongst non-native English speakers. Polish, Romanian, Filipino and Tagalog speakers also performed well across the four components of the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

German speakers scored an average of 7.3 across all four IELTS parts (listening, reading, writing and speaking). This level indicates test-takers were sufficiently advanced to go on to study linguistically challenging subjects. German speakers also demonstrated excellence in scoring highest on each of the four individual test sections.

There is no pass or fail in IELTS with candidates being graded on their performance in the test, using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – listening, reading, writing and speaking. This “band scoring” system covers the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. Results from the four parts are then combined to produce an overall band score.

In 2014, more than 2.5 million IELTS tests were completed, with almost three quarters of candidates seeking to prove their English language ability for academic purposes. IELTS also caters for those seeking an English language test to prove their English communication skills for the workplace or for migration by offering the IELTS General Training test. Around a quarter of IELTS candidates prefer this option.

IELTS continues to be the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, and is accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

An IELTS spokesperson commented: “The growth we’ve seen in demand for IELTS around the world reflects the continuing popularity of the test for language proficiency assessment internationally. As a practical test, IELTS effectively meet the needs of our test takers as well as the many organisations that trust IELTS scores as an accurate indicator of a person’s ability to communicate in English.

“We expect the strong demand for IELTS to continue in the coming years as more people consider the opportunities presented by studying or working abroad. We also expect to see candidates from other linguistic backgrounds beginning to enter the list of top performers as the test reaches new audiences across the globe.”

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
View the full test data on our website.