In this episode of the Pearson English podcast, the panel speaks to the director of the Global English scale (GSE) Mike Mayor to learn more about the framework and how it works.

Let’s examine his findings on what the GSE is, why it was created, and how it can help teachers and language learners.

What is the global scale of English?

If there is one thing that drives students forward in language learning, it is the feeling that they are making progress. They want to know how good their English is and what they can improve. Pearson’s solution to this is the GSE, which has two main tasks:

1. It serves as a performance gauge: this allows us to measure a person’s level of English proficiency.

2. It starts a framework of learning objectives: These describe what a learner can do at the different skill levels.

In that sense, it bears many similarities to that Common European Framework of Reference (GER). However, the GSE is an extension of the GER and contains a number of tools and resources that facilitate practical application.

Why was the GSE founded?

The GER scale created in the 1990s and published in 2001 is very popular. However, Mike says a number of his users have found it lacking in some areas. The primary goal of Pearson Education in creating the GSE was to address these limitations.

There are four key areas of the GER on which the GSE builds:

1. Make it suitable for a global audience

The GER was developed for a European audience but has been adopted worldwide. This is a problem because, for example, learners in Japan, Russia or Saudi Arabia can make different progress than Europeans due to the nature of their mother tongue. The CEFR does not necessarily reflect their learning needs or have realistic expectations of progress.

With this in mind, the GSE has been adapted to make it less Eurocentric and More accessible and relevant worldwide.

2. Focus on different types of English

The GER focuses on general English for adults and young learners. However, Pearson also publishes academic and business English, as well as materials for primary and secondary education. In fact, the GER was not developed with this content in mind.

Because of this, the GSE was designed to target a wider range of English learning, from young learners to business people. This is to meet the needs of language learners from different backgrounds.

3. Demonstration of learning progress

The The GER defines six common reference levelswhich range from A1 to C2 and can be divided into a total of 10 levels (including Pre-A1, A2 +, B1 + and B2 +). However, as Mike explains, students often reach pre-middle school quickly, but will remain on a plateau there for some time. When using these 10 levels to measure your skills, you may feel like you are not making any progress.

Against this background, the GSE equivalent covers B1 / B1 + 43-58 – which enables a more precise measurement of knowledge within a GER level. The aim is to show the learners their progress through the levels more clearly. This gives them more confidence and encourages them to keep learning.

English Global Scale Chart
The GER levels and the GSE orientation

4. Create a user-friendly format

Some CEFR users found it to be quite academic and therefore difficult to integrate into the classroom. A main reason for the GSE was to simplify the format so that teachers, learners and textbook developers can easily use it in everyday life.

For example the GSE teacher toolkitis clear, simple and easy to navigate. With a simple search, you can find the learning objectives for each level. You will then see a series of short can-do sentences that will save you time and make lesson and course planning easier!

Practical applications of the GSE

So how can teachers use the Global Scale of English? Mike explains that you have the. can visit GSE website where you can find a lot of relevant information. In his opinion, the most useful resource is the GSE Teacher toolkit, which provides a searchable database of learning objectives, vocabulary and grammar. The grammar section contains a number of lesson plans and worksheets that free to download.

These resources are aimed at all learners, young to adults, at all levels. For example, if you want to teach an advanced general English course, you can look for specific learning objectives that are appropriate for that level. With that in mind, it provides a great tool and support mechanism for lesson planning and adding to materials in course books.

Learn more about using the GSE Teacher Toolkit with our new illustrated journeys.

The GSE is not only useful for teachers, but also for educational institutionswho want to create a curriculum or fill gaps in their program. Ministries of education in a number of countries, including Panama and Ukraine, have used it as a basis to develop their national English curricula and curriculum, or to fill in gaps in their programs.

Future developments of the Global Scale of English

Mike reveals two exciting developments from the GSE that will be available in the near future:

Expansion of the GSE for the pre-school level

The GSE is currently aimed at learners from primary school age and above. However, the demand for materials and resources for preschoolers has increased.

With this in mind, Pearson is working to expand the GSE to include relevant materials for preschoolers.

The creation of a text analyzer

A completely new function of the GSE is that Text analyzer. Developed in collaboration with the Artificial Intelligence division of Pearson in the United States, this tool enables teachers to assess the level of a text.

But how does it work? The teacher takes a text from the Internet, for example a blog post or a news article, and inserts it into the text analyzer. The tool reviews the text and assigns it an appropriate level from the GSE. If the level is too high, the text analyzer highlights words that may be above the level – and the teacher can target those words and find easier ways to say the same thing.

This feature is now available in the GSE Teacher Toolkit – try it out!

To learn more about Pearson’s Global Scale of English, Check out the full podcast Episode.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here