In the 1913 play, Pygmalion, a linguistics professor called Henry Higgins, and his friend Colonel Pickering, make a wager on the outcome of a social experiment involving a poor London flower girl called Eliza Doolittle. Higgins attempts to refine Eliza into a lady of polite society, mainly through accent reduction.
At the end of the school year everybody sits formal high-pressure exams. They are a rigid but efficient a snapshot of how a person performs on a given day — the consequence being that you either pass or fail. As such, the purpose of this post is to show that really effective foreign language learning and certifcation calls for something more appropriate and constructive than such a simplistic and binary dichotomy.