Pearson commits to improving English language learning outcomes in Arab world
An English language expert from Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, says English language instruction in the Arab world should be measurably improving the learning outcomes of English language students in the region.
Dr John de Jong, Pearson’s Senior Vice President for Standards and Quality and Chair in Language Testing at Amsterdam’s VU University, says that Pearson is publically committed to ensuring all its products and services have a positive impact on advancing the educational results of those that use them. Dr de Jong says that this ‘efficacy commitment’ is particularly important for Pearson’s English language portfolio, which is used by millions of learners around the world:
'At present, there are approximately two billion people around the globe who are learning English – that means it is incredibly important that English language products and services are effective in making a real difference to the lives of those that use them. The portion of those two billion people who are using Pearson products and services can be assured that their products and services are being reviewed against rigorous, objective efficacy standards. For example, a recent efficacy review of Pearson’s English language learning programmes has led to more sophisticated data and learning analytics being employed in these programmes, driving far greater personalisation – and ultimately leading to enhanced learning outcomes for those using the programmes.'
Dr de Jong was in Dubai recently presenting at the Global Education Forum. He used the opportunity to illustrate the new Global Scale of English (GSE), a Pearson initiative that fits with the company’s commitment to demonstrably improving learning outcomes. The GSE and the associated measurement instrument, Progress, allow for a more detailed, personalised assessment of an English learners’ level of ability, helping educators to more accurately target their learners’ specific learning needs and areas for improvement. The GSE has been designed to give a more precise portrayal of a learner’s level and progress than other systems that are currently available. Dr de Jong says the aim is to encourage the profiling of learners, rather than classifying them by level:
'Maximising the uptake of English language skills is becoming increasingly important, particularly in countries like the UAE, where school leavers and graduates with strong English abilities are more likely to succeed in the world of work. It is undoubtedly true that in today’s world being able to use English will open up the world to an individual, helping them (amongst other things) perform well in international business communications.'
Dr de Jong also says that a country’s success in the world economy largely depends on whether that country can improve the overall level of English amongst its student population:
'Those Arab countries that have the fastest growing economies and where international trade and commerce are having the greatest positive effects on the lives of citizens are where English language is being taught effectively throughout all levels of the education system. There is a clear relationship between how many people in a country speak English and how fast that country is moving ahead in economic terms. This is evident in the UAE where people have remarkably high levels of English. The country has decided that it wants to be open to the world but understands that in order to do so a significant percentage of the population must be able to speak the language of the world – English. What Pearson wants to do is help ensure the English learning that is taking place is as effective as possible and is having the greatest possible impact on improving the lives of learners. Pearson is realising this goal by placing greater emphasis on definition of learning outcomes in the English education field – making it easier to measure the impact of the learning taking place and powering data-driven decision making.'