Pearson English recently announced this year its release of its new “Global Scale of English” in an effort to establish what it calls a “universal benchmark for businesses, governments and academic institutions.” Such a development should be seen as more than an academic exercise, however – after all, when one of the biggest names in English-language assessments makes a change like this and it is sure to impact the lives of many. It is this importance that has compelled us to go investigate the story behind the headlines. Here, then, are the “need to knows” regarding Pearson’s new Global Scale of English:
What is it?
Like most English proficiency metrics, the new “Global Scale of English” measures the core components of language learning – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. What makes the GSE different is that it allows learners to measure their English proficiency on a scale of 10 to 90. Moreover, because this scale will be consistent across all of Pearson English’s exams, including the PTE Academic and the PTE General.
How is it different?
The result of 25 cumulative years of research, the new, numerical scale is tied (much like the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages about which Pearson English consulted) to concrete skills it also offers important advantage for educators and employers who are interested in what functional abilities different candidates possess.
Why is this important?
Pearson English believes the new scale will be more accurate than other proficiency metrics. While earlier measurement devices have tended to divide test-takers into more nebulous bands of “beginner”, “intermediate” or “advanced, the GSE will allow test-takers to compare their results over time using a consistent, nuanced scale. Indeed, according to Pearson, the results of the exam are much more detailed than anything else on the market and should enable students, educators, and employers to measure both progress and proficiency in a much more meaningful way. According to the company, given the important of English in both the classroom and the boardroom such a scale is “long overdue.”
When will it be released?
Those interested in using the new results will still have to wait a while, however. While all of the company’s new products will begin using the GSE immediately, the company plans to gradually integrate the new assessment into its existing offerings over the next 18 to 24 months. Don’t worry, though: during this transition the results will still be tied to the existing scales. In this way Pearson English hopes to make the switch as easy as possible to handle.
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