PRESS RELEASE - Thursday 15/10/15




Collaboration with 6,000 teachers from over 50 countries creates a new framework
for Academic English proficiency

Students required to develop their English proficiency in order to win a place in an English speaking university can now take control of their own learning with today's launch of the Global Scale of English (GSE) Learning Objectives for Academic English.

Developed by Pearson, the world's leading learning company, as part of its GSE ecosystem which supports all stages of English language learning, the new learning objectives form a bank of over 600 'can do' statements which give a precise articulation of English proficiency levels, as well as what skills should be to developed next in order to improve.  

The GSE Learning Objectives for Academic English reflect the real-life Academic English skills students will need to develop in order to prepare for successful education abroad. For example

  • can write a conclusion to an academic essay
  • can recognise rhetorical questions  in a presentation or lecture  
  • can effectively chair a debate managing contributions and reaching a conclusion

The GSE scale was launched in July 2014 to meet the need for a standardised, granular English proficiency scale with global application. The GSE scale and Learning Objectives are available as an open source resource designed to promote learner motivation by showing granular progress, as well as to support course creators and syllabus designers.

The GSE has been psychometrically aligned to the widely used Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and substantially extends the breadth and range of the 'can do' statements found in CEFR.  Over 6,000 teachers from more than 50 countries took part in the development process. These teachers rated the new learning objectives for difficulty - placing them on the GSE and CEFR - to create a shared view of what it means to be at a level in English.

The growing trend for overseas study shows no signs of slowing down. Driven by the exploding demand for higher education worldwide and the perceived value of studying at prestigious post-secondary institutions abroad, students from Asia now make up 53% of foreign students worldwide. The OECD calculates that more than 4.5 million higher education students are studying outside their home country. With the US, UK and Australia as top destinations, students are effectively opting for study in English.


Tas Viglatzis, MD of Pearson English, says of the launch: "International student mobility is on the rise. We need to equip non-native English speaking students with the Academic English skills they need to get gain access to their chosen university, and to get the most from their chosen course of study once they do. That's why there's a real need for clear and precise learning objectives rooted in the English skills required in an academic setting."

Diane Schmitt  Senior Lecturer in EFL/TESOL, Nottingham Trent University and Chair of BALEAP said: "A Global Scale of Academic English that links instructional goals and learning outcomes to clearly staged assessment benchmarks will be very welcome for learners and teachers as they journey together on the long road to academic language proficiency."

All Pearson's English course materials are being created using the GSE Learning Objectives.  Pearson assessment tools such as PTE Academic and Progress deliver scores on the Global Scale of English. GSE Learning Objectives for Professional English and Young Learners will be released later in 2015.

How can I find out more?

Visit  for more information on the Global Scale of English or



For more information please contact:

Liz Tudball

+(44) 771 439 5577