Pearson English announces major partnership with world’s largest social network for language learning, busuu

  • Learning giant and digital start-up join forces to drive innovation in the language learning category
  • Launch of gSET by Pearson English online test represents a major milestone in the race to more accurately measure and assess language proficiency

London – April 2014 – Today Pearson English, a newly formed business unit of the world’s largest learning company Pearson, has announced a major partnership with the world’s largest social network for language learning, busuu. The two companies are joining forces to transform the way English learners around the world can measure their language learning.

The partnership will give busuu’s 40 million language learners access to the latest in self-testing through the launch of a new affordable online test, gSET by Pearson English. Based on Pearson English’s Global Scale of English, the test will allow language learners for the first time to easily measure their current level of English on an on-going basis using a globally consistent numeric scale.

Commenting on the partnership, President of Pearson English, Bhav Singh, said: “gSET by Pearson English will be a true game-changer for the world of language learning and will see us democratise learning assessment so that it is no longer the preserve of the academic elite. In today’s world, we need to supersize the consumer experience – we’re investing heavily in innovating and inventing new ways to wow our customers and empower them to reach their learning potential.”

CEO and Co-founder of busuu, Bernhard Niesner, continues, “It has been our ambition to offer a more effective way of measuring English language proficiency amongst our language students around the globe and we are delighted to be chosen by Pearson English as exclusive launch partner of this new online test. The gSET by Pearson English provides our learners with an effective test that they can self-administer and allows them to see regular tangible progression in their journey to learn English”.

The gSET by Pearson English is measured on Pearson English’s Global Scale of English – a truly global numeric standard for the measurement of English language proficiency, much more granular and detailed than anything else currently available in the market. The gSET by Pearson English will be available from Summer 2014 and will be free to busuu’s paying subscribers and at a nominal charge to its free members

busuu will be the first company worldwide to employ the test and will have exclusive access as part of a four month launch period. The gSET by Pearson English will provide a Global Scale of English score against four ‘dimensions’ of learning: speaking, listening, reading and writing, and will be fully integrated into all busuu courses as its standard for measuring students.

Pearson English’s partnership with busuu is the latest in a number of key initiatives brokered by the company in order to fulfil its ambition to be a ‘teacher for life’ to learners of all ages and abilities. Pearson English is consolidating its existing businesses, including Wall Street English, GlobalEnglish and ELT, under one umbrella, as well as investing in deals with Voxy and Grupo Multi, to cement and enhance its position of leadership in the hugely competitive language learning market.


About Pearson English

Pearson English is a newly formed business unit of Pearson PLC, one of the world’s largest learning companies. More than 1.5 million teachers and 35 million students use our English language learning resources and tools each year.  We offer dynamic and effective learning solutions to individuals, institutions and corporations in over 150 countries.

Our key businesses include: Wall Street English (centre based learning for consumers); Global English (online business English learning solutions) and ELT (institutional English language publications including brands such as Longman).

In 2013, Pearson announced a strategic investment in English language learning platform Voxy and acquired Grupo Multi, the leading adult English Language Training company in Brazil.

In 2014 Pearson English will release the Global Scale of English, the world’s first common, global benchmark of English language learning. It measures English language progress on a numeric scale in a way that is consistent, granular and actionable for governments, corporates, academics, institutions and learners. The Scale has been created as an Open Standard for English that meets a global need. The gSET is an online test designed to provide learners with an accurate reading of their Global Scale of English score.

About busuu

busuu is the largest social network for language learning, with over 40 million users worldwide. The company offers free and premium paid-for access to audio-visual courses for 12 languages: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and English.

Members can improve their language skills through direct interaction with native speakers within the community via an integrated video-chat application and peer-to-peer text corrections. As a result, every user is both a ‘student’ of a foreign language and also a ‘tutor’ of their own mother tongue.

The website has received several awards including AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner 2009,  Language Label 2009 from the European Commission, CeBIT Innovation Award 2010, Red Herring European Winner 2010, ‘Best Education Start-up’ at The Europas TechCrunch Awards in 2011 and BETT’s EdTech Innovator award in 2014.

The company is named after the Busuu language of Cameroon. According to an ethnological study from the 1980’s, Busuu is spoken by only 8 people.


For more information, please contact:

Josie Whittle
020 7067 0645