Nurses Fail English Test

The Times is reporting that out of 59 nurses from the Philippines who have already been offered nursing positions in the United Kingdom, only 7 pass the IELTS, a high stakes English test used for study, work or migration. The UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council requires a minimum score of 7.0 across all elements of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Above copied from the Times

This requirement is indeed stringent. According to IELTS data, only forty one percent of native English speakers achieve a score of 7 in all areas. Their average score is only 6.3, and worldwide only one out of four applicants (25 percent) would pass. However, a passing rate of only 12 percent for nurses in the Philippines is troublesome. Commenting on Facebook, Nigel Pope shares his experience as an IELTS tutor:

Nigel is basically describing what we often misconstrue in language. A considerable number of people, for instance, believe that it is easier to learn any language as a child than as an adult. A child talks like a child but we expect something much more from an adult. A child therefore only appears to learn a language more easily simply because not much is expected yet. A good command of a language requires using it above and beyond "How are you?", "Where do you live", or conversations that do not require critical thinking. There are international standardized exams that we can choose to ignore but there are also these tests that can decide whether we get hired or not.