Breaking News English

First, I’d like to say that I love using the following resource with my ESL classes.  However, I was recently interested to see how the website “Breaking News English” adds levels to their texts.  I know it is not easy to take news items and then bring them down to an English learner’s level for sure and would not recommend the site to classes lower than the INTERMEDIATE B level mostly because of the vocabulary.  To start the analysis we added the following ‘level 4’ (not the highest level)  text to our free profiler:

The level automatically predicted is B2/C1, or at about IELTS 6.5

As an experienced teacher, I think I need to tweak the proportions since 7% of vocabulary in C levels is very high.  The B2 part of the prediction is ok if this is an open book type of writing though.  Meaning, the person who wrote this had access to dictionaries or other language helping tools…

It’s still great as a reading or listening text because the site provides the much-required vocabulary introduction and warming up on the topic.

The text is added below with the automatically added links:

A court ruled that getting injured at home or your home office is a workplace accident .

Judges said walking from your bed to your desk in another room is a commute to work.
Any injuries you get on that journey are eligible for compensation.
A rule was made in a case where a man slipped down his stairs from his bedroom to his home office and broke his back.
The court said the “first-morning journey from bed to the home office is an insured work route”.
The idea of what a workplace is changed after the pandemic. Millions of people are now working at home.
This changes health and safety rules about the workplace and accidents.
A question is who is responsible for ensuring a home office follows safety laws.
Also, how much an employer is liable for injuries sustained in an employee‘s home.
An expert on employment law said new legislation would be needed to decide future claims.

Next, we tried the lowest level they have, ‘level 0’:

The sentences are noticeably shorter, but there still are a few vocabulary items at the end that bump the overall level up to IELTS 5 or the B CEFR levels.

TIME magazine said its Person of the Year for 2021 is Elon Musk.
TIME said few people have influenced life on Earth and off Earth more than Mr Musk.
He is the richest person in the world.
He has brought great changes in society.
He is helping to save the world and our future.
He wants to explore space and get to Mars.
This year has been amazing for Elon Musk.
He went into space.
His company SpaceX might take us to Mars.
His car company Tesla has two-thirds of the electric car market.
Musk is also an inventor.
He started the e-payments company PayPal.
He also has companies in robotics, solar technology and artificial intelligence.
TIME called him a genius.