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S. Korea sees world's biggest rise in TOEFL score over 6 yrs: data

SEOUL, July 26 — South Koreans' average scores in one of the leading English language proficiency tests have risen 10 points over the past six years to show the biggest improvement among measured countries, a local academy said Thursday.

South Korean applicants for the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) received an average of 82 out of 120 points last year, consistently up from 72 points in 2006, 78 in 2008 and 81 in 2010, according to the Lee Ik-hoon English Academy.

The figures were based on information from the U.S.-based Education Testing Service, which administers the proficiency exam.

The Internet-based TOEFL, introduced in 2006, is divided into four sections — reading, listening, speaking and writing — with 30 points each.

With the improvement of the average score, the country was also ranked higher to stand 70th in 2011 out of 150 countries along with Hong Kong, up from 111th out of 147 countries in 2006 and 89th of 161 nations in 2008, the data showed.

"Private tutoring for the test coupled with overall English education fever in the country seems to have attributed to the good results," academy official Kim Seon-suk said.

Test takers from European nations topped the TOEFL rankings, with the Netherlands averaging 100 points to take first place, followed by Denmark with 99 points, and Belgium and Austria with 98 points each, according to the data.

Among Asian states, Singapore shared second place with 99 points, with India earning 92 points and Malaysia 89 points, while South Korea outperformed their neighbors — North Korea (78 points), China (77 points), and Japan (69 points), the data showed.(PNA/Yonhap)

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