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There’s a new test in which the Aussies are thrashing the English. And it’s arguably even more important than cricket. The English language test.

It might have got conveniently buried when it was published a year ago, but the Financial Times yesterday shone a light on a report from the renowned international think-tank, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). It concludes that Australians are miles more literate than the Brits.

The OECD’s first survey of adult skills shows that among English speaking countries, England is well behind Australia which is rated as “the only stellar English language performer” and the fourth most literate OECD country (there are 34 of them) overall after Japan, Finland and the Netherlands.

It’s a ranking, suggests the FT, that suggests it’s no harder to be literate in English than in other languages.

Back to the English speaking countries, more Australians are in categories that mean they can interpret complex text and “evaluate subtle truth claims”. Seventeen per cent of Australians are in this category – well ahead of England on 13%.

The FT journalist Michael Skapinker concludes his piece with a sweet: “The Australians are clearly doing something right or, at least, better. Before giving up on old-fashioned spelling and grammar, the rest of the English-speaking world should try to find out what it is.”

Any ideas TNTers?


Aussies thrash the English. At English
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