English secondary school exam results reflect regional inequalities

During the 2021 exam held from July 7 to 9, more than 871,000 students took seven foreign language exams: English, Russian, French, Chinese, German, Korean and Japanese. Almost 99% of the students chose English and recorded an average mark of 5.84 out of 10.

While this year’s average English score was 1.26 points higher than last year, the spectrum of scores showed an anomaly with a high number of students scoring between 4-5 and 8-9 points. Normally, a spectrum of scores would have only one peak in a particular range of scores, not two.

Foreign language teachers at the online tutoring service Hoc Mai believe that those scoring between 8 and 9 represent students who have benefited from significant investments in teaching English, mostly residents of urban areas. where wealthier families can also afford to send their children to good schools. as good English teaching institutions.

Meanwhile, those who score in the 4-5 range represent a “commoner peak” for the rest of the students.

Do Van Dung, former director of the HCMC University of Technology and Education, said the specter of this year’s English scores was not as abnormal as it seems. It simply reflected the differences in the quality of foreign language teaching and general foreign language proficiency between the different fields, he said.

For example, 60 to 70 percent of students in poor and remote areas such as the northwest or central highlands scored below 5 in English, indicating insufficient basic language skills. Most of those who live in areas with higher standard of living like Hanoi, Hai Phong and HCMC have better access to an education in English, which helps them achieve a score of 8-10.


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