English standards on the rise among German schoolchildren | News | DW | 28.10.2016
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English standards on the rise among German schoolchildren

A new report has shown that English standards have "clearly improved" among German teenagers. While students in Bavaria came top of the list, the most notable improvements were recorded in eastern Germany.

English standards among German students in year nine have "clearly improved" in the past six years, according to a nationwide competency study published on Friday.

The "IQB-Bildungstrend 2015," released by the conference of education ministers, showed that English standards among schoolchildren had improved in every state, except Baden-Württemberg. Notable gains were praised in eastern Germany.

Around 41 percent of German students achieved a standard level of reading English prior to completing middle school, while 28 percent failed. Similarly, 44 percent achieved a standard level of listening and understanding, while only 17 percent failed. Many praised a more modern approach to teaching as the reason behind the rising standards.

Meanwhile, standards in written and spoken German were mostly stable, although with some signs of improvement.

Bavaria up top

As in the previous study from 2009, the state of Bavaria was the highest performer. Schleswig-Holstein, often lagging behind in previous studies, rose into the top three. However, Baden-Württemberg saw a notable fall in performance.

Ludwig Spaenle, Bavaria's minister for education, said that "stability, high standards, reliability and comparability" were to thank for his region's consistently high performance.

One unwelcome constant was a wedge in the performances between children from higher and lower income families. The study showed that children whose parents boasted a higher education were much more likely to complete high school.

On a more positive note, the performance gap between students with and without a migrant background had decreased.

dm/cmk (dpa, KNA)