Wall Street English

Giving Students Real-Life Experience With Wall Street English

The stories of three New Yorkers showcase how English language learners can relate on a real level to Wall Street English’s innovative language curriculum. Shen, a former medical student in China, moves to the Big Apple to pursue his acting dream. Sofi has always been competent in the kitchen growing up in France, but in New York, she’s ready to strike it big and open her own restaurant. Finally, students follow Khae’s story, a recent college graduate from Thailand, and her entrepreneurial aspirations in the city.

"The lesson content in Wall Street English is a chain of stories that runs from the first level to the last. They are linked together, and I’m very interested in knowing what will happen next in the story."

Wall Street English student, Vietnam

Wall Street English is a private language school for adults who want to improve their English conversational skills and make themselves more marketable in a global economy. The narrative-centered lesson content coupled with personalized classroom instruction and multimedia practice have appealed to adult learners since the program was launched in 1972. In 2016, a complete redesign of the Wall Street English experience will be launched, starting in China. The redesign is based on research of the performance of past Wall Street learners, program operations, as well as literature reviews of recent language-learning research, learner surveys, and longitudinal studies. As the new program is rolled out in 2016, it will be accompanied by a comprehensive near- and mid-term research plan to measure learner performance and provide insights for ongoing improvements.


Complete redesign of WSE will be launched in China

The WSE approach allows for more student-centredness in the classroom

"With our blended learning method, students learn to listen speak, read, and write much the same way they learned their first language. We teach them real-life use of the language so they can communicate in all situations. Wall Street English is more than just a language school, though. Our program offers students a full experience to help keep them motivated to succeed."

David Kedwards, CEO of Wall Street English.

Intended outcome 1

Wall Street English will improve accessibility and provide a single point of access to all parts of the program.

Pearson has found early evidence that Wall Street English meets its goal of making the new student experience more accessible to learners.

Early evidence of achieving this goal is encouraging. A survey of learners who tested a beta version of the new program revealed that 82 percent of the 167 respondents found the new online component easy to use and 74 percent of respondents preferred the new experience to the original program. Together with other results from the beta testing, this suggests that learners connect well with the material, design, and complementary materials.

This survey of beta testers had two important limitations: The sample size was relatively small at 167 respondents, and most of the respondents were from one country—China. As the new program is rolled out around the world through 2016, it will be accompanied by a comprehensive set of research and evaluation studies to understand how it impacts learner, teacher and center outcomes as well as providing insights for continuous improvements to the service design and operations.

Learner testing of BETA program

74% preferred the updated New Student Experience

88% found the new look and feel to be very comprehensive

82% found the online encounter easy to use

86% found the learning content to be relevant to their goals 

95% of students found the content to be fun

91% were satisfied / very satisfied with their teacher's feedback

Wall Street English is a blended program, meaning students spend some of their time interacting face-to-face in a classroom and some of their time using an online platform to access their learning from home. The online platform allows students to carefully monitor their goals, next steps, assignments, and resources, all of which remove the need to come to class at a set time every day.

Intended outcome 2

Learners make expected and timely progress, as defined by their personal goal tracker.

Because Wall Street English’s new student experience has not yet launched, Pearson is conducting research to determine whether the new version of Wall Street English meets its goal of ensuring timely and expected progress for learners.

The program’s new student experience is designed in a way that facilitates steady learning progress based on robust educational research. Its content was developed using the Global Scale of English Learning Objectives, which allows people to measure their progress accurately and more granularly to demonstrate real learning progress. These objectives are aligned to CEFR and other well-known scales and are tied to real-life use of the language, making the learning experience more relevant to Wall Street English students.

The new program is designed to facilitate steady learning progress based on robust educational research. During a two-year development process, each component of the new program was designed based on recent educational literature, focus groups, data mining of approximately 300,000 learners, and large-scale analyses of learner behaviors to predict learners at risk.

"Before I joined Wall Street English, I wasn’t confident enough to speak English. I knew about grammar but I didn’t dare to speak because I was scared that if I pronounced a word wrong or chose an incorrect tense, it would be embarrassing. It has really boosted my confidence because I have to speak here—not just keep silent [in class]."

Ira, an upper-level Wall Street English student in Indonesia.

Intended outcome 3

Learners achieve their long-term goals of confidently speaking English.

Since the new program is being launched in 2016, it is too soon for evidence of how the program is performing against goal.

But, beginning in 2016, Pearson is conducting a suite of both short-term and longitudinal research studies to determine if learners’ outcomes are achieved, including their personal life goals in learning English.

As the new student experience of Wall Street English continues to roll out in countries across the world, Pearson will continue to conduct research that will further demonstrate the impact of the program on learner outcomes. For an overview of these plans, please see the accompanying Impact Evaluation Report below.

In 2013, we announced our efficacy initiative to measure the impact that our products and services have on our learners. We committed to publicly report our findings starting in 2018, and to subject those reports to external audit.  We are pleased to release our preliminary reports to share the work we have done so far and what we have planned ahead. The content in these reports reflects the continued refinement of our approach; while our work continues to advance, we are proud to share transparently what we have learned. We anticipate that we will continue to further refine these reports as we approach our 2018 target.

Age/Stage: Adult Learning

Type: Learning Institution