The Duolingo English Test is experimenting with some new question types.  These types are not used on the test right now.  They might be added to the test later, or they might never be added to the test.  Currently, students are being exposed to them in unscored situations.

They look like this.

  1. You are given a short paragraph about some subject.  It might be about five sentences long. You are then asked what question can be answered by paragraph and are given four options.  You can read the paragraph while picking your answer.

    For instance, the paragraph might be a story about how Michael got a low score in math class, and then studied hard to pass the final exam and improve his score. The correct choice might be: “Why did Michael want to improve his math score?”

  2. You get a short paragraph and are asked to pick the best title for the paragraph. You are given four choice. For instance the paragraph might be the same as above, and the title could be “Michael Tries to Impress his Family.”

Let me know if you see these in operation.

A couple of years ago I recommended that all of my teacher friends invest in the Duolingo IPO, as I thought the company’s little-known English test would hit the mainstream in four or five years.  Sadly, the cat is out of the bag on that front, and I am not sure the company is a great buy.  

Anyway, there are a few fun details about the Duolingo English Test to be found in their IPO documents, filed with the SEC just a few days ago.  Here’s what caught my eye:

  • In 2020, the test was taken about 344,000 times for about 15 million dollars in revenue. 
  • In 2020, 10% of the company’s revenue came from the test.  That reached 11 for the beginning of 2021.
  • The company hopes to extend the test to the immigration and workforce testing sectors.
  • Duolingo, as a company, lost 15.8 million dollars in 2020.  I can only imagine how frustrated ETS feels having to compete with a company that doesn’t really need to make money.
  • Duolingo expects schools to continue accepting the test after the pandemic ends.

Last week I took the Duolingo English Test.  I’ve been a big supporter of this test for the past couple of years, but I’ve been shocked at how quickly schools around the USA have embraced it.  The test seems to have certain strengths and weaknesses, but I’m not a linguist or an assessments expert. I don’t know how valid it really is.

My full report on the test is contained in this video.  It describes the six different question types, and provides a few basic strategies, particularly for the extended writing and speaking prompts.

 

Meanwhile, my final score on the test was 150 points (out of sixty).  My Duolingo score report certificate is as follows.

Duolingo English Test Score Certificate