GSE: Building understanding and confidence

Building understanding and confidence with the GSE

As an English teacher how often have you had a student walk into your classroom with a determined look on their face and a clear goal in their mind. “Teacher” they say. “I need to get a B2”  

Obviously, there is no problem in a student knowing what they need to get a certain job, visa or simply a shiny new certificate, but do they know how to achieve that goal and how they’re doing along the way.  

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) was developed in the 90’s and published in 2001 but it’s origins steam back to as early as the 1960’s and it continues to be updated with new skills to this day.  

One of the biggest flaws in the CEFR is the gaps between levels and the effect that has on a student´s confidence and ultimately their learning.  

Let’s take the typical example of a student who has been learning English for 5-8 years. They’ve reached B1 and want to get to B2 for a new job. What is almost impossible to see in the CEFR is the vast difference between the two levels, a huge jump from pre-intermediate to upper-intermediate. It’s often surprising to a student when they hear they may be studying for a further 2 years to move up “just” one level.  

The CEFR is also mainly aimed at general English with a limited focus on work or study. For all the good it has done for language learning its weaknesses have left gaps in teachers’ and learners’ knowledge which can lead to a huge loss of confidence.  The Global Scale of English (GSE) has taken huge strides to remedy that.  

What is the GSE? 

The Global Scale of English is a standardized measure of English language proficiency. It is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing learners to focus on specific language skills and track their progress over time. 

It has been designed to build learners’ confidence by understanding exactly where they are on their learning journey, setting personalised goals to focus their learning, and accurately measuring their progress. 

It’s the result of extensive global research, extending the number of learning objectives in the CEFR and assessing what learners are capable of on a scale of 10 to 90 for each of the four key language skills: speaking, listening reading and writing. 

GSE - CEFR Comparison

How can it build confidence?

Yogi Barra one said: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  The structure of the GSE allows students to plan every step of their language learning journey with clear descriptors to guide them along every step of the way. 

GSE Experiencing Success

That can plan out a clear route to success and experience that success as you go. Giving students the ability to easily track how far they have come.  

The Teacher Toolkit

The teacher toolkit enables teachers to look at precisely the areas their learners need to work on, at the click of a button. This can help teachers and learners map out a clearer path in order to help progression 

Teacher Tool kit Example

Teacher Tool Kit Results Example

The clear descriptors show learners exactly what they need to achieve to reach the next level. We can use the teacher toolkit to help us plan our classes, but also help our learners set their targets for language learning.  

Setting SMART Goals 

Learning a language is never easy. Whether it’s for work, study or just for fun. To learn a new language, you need to work hard and push yourself. 

The importance of smaller steps 

It is always easier to push yourself to your next goal if it isn’t a million miles away. The GSE helps learners create these more achievable goals and allows them to set SMART Goals.  

To set SMART goals using the Global Scale of English (GSE), you should follow these steps: 

  1. Specific: Clearly define the specific skill or area you want to improve in, such as speaking or listening. Look for the learning objectives you’ll need to achieve. 
  2. Measurable: Set a measurable goal using the GSE scale. For example: increasing your speaking proficiency from a GSE level of 45 to 50. 
  3. Achievable: Ensure your goal is realistic and achievable within a specific timeframe. Will you realistically be able to do 4 hours of study a day? 
  4. Relevant: Make sure your goal aligns with your overall language learning objectives. 
  5. Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving your goal, such as six months from now. 

By setting SMART goals using the GSE, you can track your progress and stay motivated as you work towards improving your English language proficiency. 


The next time you have a student knock on your door asking for a B2 talk to them about how they’re going to get there and show them SMART easy steps to achieve their goals using the GSE as a guide. 

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