How Well--Still Good? Assessing the Validity of Self-Reported English Ability

I wanted to share a recent blog post that I wrote at the Census Bureau on the validity of the self-reported English-ability question that has been in use for over 30 years. The bottom line: the results suggest that the English-ability question, despite being a self-assessment, does a good job of measuring English ability. Speakers of languages other than English with the best self-reported English ability can perform the same key tasks as the average English-only speaker. Speakers of languages other than English reporting an English ability of less than “very well,” in contrast, have lower language skills on average. More details are in the full paper.

Figure 1