In 2017, the Asturian government contracted Trinity College London to investigate views, attitudes and beliefs regarding learning and using English in bilingual and non-bilingual English-Spanish classes in Asturias. 10 schools were selected from across the region and were a mix of schools with bilingual programmes and schools that taught English as a foreign language using the non-bilingual traditional approach.
This study revealed a lack of English language speaking in bilingual classrooms in Asturias. This surprising finding offers evidence of the impact of the university entrance exams and how the wider education system can impact behaviour in a classroom.
In the school leaving (Bachillerato) curriculum, the greatest emphasis is placed on writing and reading, followed by vocabulary and grammar, with speaking and listening having least importance. Consequently, as students progress through secondary school towards the Bachillerato, there is a continual demotion of speaking and listening. It appears therefore, that the curricula and the content of university entrance exams contribute to the noted paucity of oral communication in late-secondary Asturian classrooms.