The Global Scale of English (GSE) has a number of relevant uses for students, teachers, institutions and government ministries alike.
It was designed, primarily, to give teachers more information about what students need to learn, as well as to address the limitations of a six-level CEFR. The scale does this by expanding on the original CEFR framework by breaking down the current bands into more granular ‘can-do’ statements.
To make this scale practical for teachers, we developed the GSE Teacher Toolkit to accompany it. This planning tool helps teachers access the information they need, including learning objectives for reading, writing, listening and speaking. It also contains a grammar and vocabulary database, which helps teachers ensure that their classroom aims and content are relevant.
So let’s break down how the GSE supports everyone in the learning process, including students, teachers, language schools, universities, and education authorities.
It is powerful and easy to use
Easy to navigate and use, the GSE allows educators to plan programs or lessons based on class and individual needs. It also helps students to gauge their progress, schools to measure the success of their programs in meeting course outcomes, and materials writers to more easily create targeted content for specific learning objectives. It can support ministries in defining a curriculum which will help their population achieve the level and goals they decide are appropriate.
Ultimately, the GSE helps educators, schools and content developers improve learner motivation and engagement. Not only does it allow them to see the progress they are making but it also helps them move on faster by focusing on new content that is relevant to them.
The GSE helps teachers answer their students’ questions: ‘What can I do in English now?’ and ‘What do I need to do next to improve?’
The framework does this clearly by providing levels of proficiency within CEFR levels.
Breaking down milestones within each level of the CEFR shows students and their teachers what they ‘can do’ now, and how quickly they are moving towards the next level of proficiency in English. Additionally, it allows students to understand what they need to do next in order to progress further.
By using the GSE in this way, students come to experience more success and achievement all the way through a course.
It informs teachers and provides resources
The GSE is an invaluable framework in that it can outline exactly what a teacher should focus on next. In course development, it can be used to set out the structure of a course, tailor the content, as well as to outline the assessment criteria required to meet institutional targets.
To summarize the utility of the GSE for teachers, it helps them:
- Make better-informed choices about course content and resources
- Develop or select additional, specifically targeted materials
- Accurately assess where their students are
- Improve student motivation by demonstrating regular, incremental progress
We can see this in action in the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, a unique multi-cultural university in Beppu, Japan. With a 50/50 split of Japanese and international students, students are able to study in English or in Japanese. There is quite a mix of English ability – and it’s difficult for professors to gauge student’s individual levels of proficiency in English.
It implemented the GSE for two principal reasons: to establish a common framework that addresses the mixed-ability of their students, and also to help its students better prepare for high-stakes assessments.
The university used Placement and Progress tests to accurately assess students’ levels and advancement throughout the year. Not only does this help university professors make the right pedagogical choices for their students, but it fills their students with confidence – as they are being provided with the right level of challenge.
See more in the video below:
It helps institutions and private language schools identify areas of improvement
The GSE can also provide directors of study or course trainers with invaluable information. For example:
- It can help private language schools and universities select or align their course objectives to ensure they are at the correct level for their academic students.
- It can identify gaps in their program when requirements change or improvements are needed.
- It can be used to suit the needs of adult learners looking to master English suited to their specific field.
- It can help inform teachers as they’re preparing courses with specific exit exam requirements.
- It can help teachers understand their students’ ability at strategic points in the year.
Furthermore, administrators and school managers can deliver greater value to their students by ensuring courses and lessons are pitched at the right level, as well as support teacher training and development.
In the video below, you can see how former Director of Teacher Training, Autumn Westphal, introduced the GSE’s Teacher Toolkit at Rennert School in New York. She explains how it has benefited her trainee teachers:
It offers a global overview of progress for ministries of education
Finally, at a government level, the GSE can help education ministers and civil servants answer the key question: How are students making achievements across our various learning segments?
In terms of policy development, this means ministries can set realistic expectations and gain a real insight into progress, year on year.
The GSE also helps governments understand where institutions are now in terms of curricula development and what they need to do in order to keep students moving forward towards their goals.
It is now being used by governments around the world including Ukraine (for national curriculum reform) and Panama (for teacher development, raising standards in teaching and learning English, creating opportunities for employment).