The free Duolingo English Test Practice Test now includes a few new question types.  Note that these question types are not on the real Duolingo English Test at this time.  The practice test is occasionally used to pilot question types that may or may not appear on the actual test later on.  These questions are:

  1.  Listen to a sentence in English and then repeat it. The repetition is done from memory, as the sentence is not shown on the screen.
  2.  Look at the script of a short conversation between two people with all of the dialog from one of the speakers missing.  Fill in those missing turns by dragging sentences from a list of options.  After that, summarize the conversation by writing a few sentences.

Let me know if you see these on the real test.

I updated the TOEFL and Duolingo English Test score requirements tracker for September. Only Columbia University revised its DET requirements based on the new score conversion charts provided by Duolingo.  They now require a DET score of 135, which is the highest I have ever seen.  This should come as no surprise to readers, as Columbia takes its English language testing more serious than most universities.  Even after achieving 135 on the DET, most students will be required to take the in-house ALP Essay Exam, which is a grueling 105-minute affair.  Good for Columbia for having standards. 

The chart is below (mobile users should tap and scroll horizontally). 

School

Spring 2022

DET / TOEFL

August 11
DET / TOEFL

September 4
DET / TOEFL

MIT

120 / 90

120 / 90

120 / 90

U of Toronto

120 / 100

120 / 100

120 / 100

Cornell

120 / 100

120 / 100

120 / 100

UBC

125 / 90

125 / 90

125 / 90

Emory

120 / 100

120 / 100

120 / 100

U of Arizona

100 / 70

100 / 70

100 / 70

Carnegie Mel.

125 / 102

125 / 102

125 / 102

Brown

125 / 100

125 / 100

125 / 100

U of Utah

105 / 80

105 / 80

105 / 80

Rice

120 / 100

120 / 100

120 / 100

UCLA

120 / 100

120 / 100

120 / 100

Columbia

125 / 105

125 / 105

135 / 105

Dalhousie

115 / 90

115 / 90

115 / 90

City College of SF

85 / 56

85 / 56

85 / 56

De Anza College

95 / 61

95 / 61

95 / 61

Imperial College London

115 / 92

115 / 92

115 / 92

U of Chichester

95 / 79

95 / 79

95 / 79

Recent changes to the Duolingo English Test to TOEFL score conversion table have inspired me to begin a new series of blog posts.  Over the next year I’ll track whether schools adjust their score requirements in light of these changes.  In the chart below are 17 schools across the United States and Canada.  Also listed are their required Duolingo and TOEFL requirements as listed on August 11, 2022 and in the spring of 2022.  I used the Wayback Machine to get the older scores, so they are not all from a specific date.  I’ll check in with these schools now and then to see if the requirements have been adjusted.

A few things are worth mentioning:

  • Update:  I found a couple of schools in the UK.
  • There are a couple of community colleges at the bottom of the list.
  • The schools were selected mostly at random.
  • I have not listed IELTS scores, but I will create Wayback Machine archives along the way so perhaps those can be added later.
  • Many schools still list TOEFL PBT and CBT requirements.  Yikes.
  • I can’t think of any licensing boards or non-academic institutions that take DET scores.  But if you can think of any please let me know.
  • All scores are for undergraduate admissions.

Before we begin, note that:

  • So far, none of the tracked schools have updated their requirements.
  • However, the University of Pittsburgh recently updated its DET requirement!  The TOEFL requirement is currently 100, while the DET requirement is 125.  In don’t know exactly when it was adjusted, but in March of this year the requirement was 120.  This should not come as a surprise, as I believe that a relationship exists between that school and Duolingo.  In any case, the campus is within walking distance of Duolingo HQ.
  • A few of the schools have fairly high DET requirements and don’t need to adjust them to match the current conversion chart.  But most of the schools may wish to consider making adjustments to match the chart.

If any readers of the blog have an attachment to a particular institution, I will be happy to add it to the tracker.  Just leave a comment below.

Enjoy.

School

Spring 2022

DET / TOEFL


August 11
DET / TOEFL

MIT

120 / 90

120 / 90

U of Toronto

120 / 100

120 / 100

Cornell

120 / 100

120 / 100

UBC

125 / 90

125 / 90

Emory

120 / 100

120 / 100

U of Arizona

100 / 70

100 / 70

Carnegie Mel.

125 / 102

125 / 102

Brown

125 / 100

125 / 100

U of Utah

105 / 80

105 / 80

Rice

120 / 100

120 / 100

UCLA

120 / 100

120 / 100

Columbia

125 / 105

125 / 105

Dalhousie

115 / 90

115 / 90

City College of SF

85 / 56

85 / 56

De Anza College

95 / 61

95 / 61

Imperial College London

115 / 92

115 / 92

U of Chichester

95 / 79

95 / 79

 

Recently, the charts that convert Duolingo English Test Scores to TOEFL and IELTS scores were adjusted.  You can see the current charts right here.  An archive of the old charts is available via the Way Back Machine. 

For instance, previously a Duolingo English Test score of 125 converted to 103-107 on the TOEFL iBT.  Now, that converts to 93 -97 on the TOEFL iBT.

Likewise, a score of 125 on the Duolingo used to equal an IELTS score of 7.5, but now that is equal to an IELTS score of 6.5.

There are also changes to the Duolingo to CEFR conversion chart.

I suppose this is due to the inclusion of new question types on the DET.  I don’t know if any institutions have adjusted their score requirements at this time.  I suspect that many institutions are totally unaware of the change.

To illustrate, here is the top of the current Duolingo to TOEFL chart:

And here is the top of the old chart (forgive the broken image):

 

According to last week’s SEC filings, revenue for the Duolingo English Test in Q1 2022 was $8,080,000.  That’s almost exactly the same as Q4 2021.  It is up about three million dollars from Q1 of 2021.

At $49 a pop, we might extrapolate that the test was taken 165,000 times in the quarter. The actual number is probably a little bit higher than that due to discounts and free tests.

Here are the historic revenues:

Q1 2022 – 8,080,000

Q4 2021 – 8,095,000
Q3 2021 – 6,695,000
Q2 2021 – 4,833,000
Q1 2021 – 5,035,000

Q4 2020 – 4,197,000
Q3 2020 – 5,607,000
Q2 2020 – 4,598,000
Q1 2020 – 753,000

There are new reading question types on the Duolingo English Test the starting today! 

These are called “Interactive Reading Questions.”

When you take the test, you’ll now get two short reading passages with six questions each.  One passage will be a narrative style reading (it will tell a story), and the other will be expository (like a short academic article).  You will have seven or eight minutes to complete all of the questions for a given passage.  Interestingly, you may not get to see the whole passage at first.  Instead, parts of it will be revealed at you move through the questions.

Question types are:

  • complete the sentence (pick best words to finish a sentence in the reading)
  • complete the passage (pick the best sentence to finish the reading)
  • highlight the answer (locate the answer to a given question and highlight it within the passage)
  • identify the main idea of the passage
  • select a title for the passage.

These questions are all showing up now in the free practice test provided by Duolingo, so you can check out examples if you like.  I’ll take the practice test a few more times and update this post if necessary.

The test will still be one hour in total. To make room for this new content, fewer instances of the existing question types will be included.  Note that no question types have been removed.  You’ll just get fewer of each.

Update: DET has a YouTube video that describes the questions.

The folks at Duolingo are “working with partners including UNHCR and Ukraine Global Scholars to expand its Access Program and provide fee waivers so Ukrainian students can take an English proficiency test required for their university applications.”

This is the sort of thing I’ve lobbied my contacts in Big Test to provide in times of crisis – most recently when the government in Afghanistan fell. I’ve come close to convincing them to implement such a program, but have always hit a bureaucratic brick wall in the end. I’m glad to see that Duolingo appears more open to the possibility than other testing firms.

When a single step in the process of becoming an international student is missed (say, a standardized test) sometimes the whole process must be repeated from the beginning. That can take a whole year, or more. Testing organizations must be more nimble and step up to provide more support when needed.

According to last week’s earnings call, revenue for the Duolingo English Test in Q4 2021 was $8,095,000. At $49 a pop, we might extrapolate that the test was taken 165,000 times in October/November/December of 2021. The actual number is probably a bit higher than that due to discounts and freebies.

This is up from a revenue of $6,695,000 in Q3 2020, and $4,197,000 in Q4 of 2020.

Here are the historic revenues:

Q4 2021 – 8,095,000
Q3 2021 – 6,695,000
Q2 2021 – 4,833,000
Q1 2021 – 5,035,000

Q4 2020 – 4,197,000
Q3 2020 – 5,607,000
Q2 2020 – 4,598,000
Q1 2020 – 753,000

According to yesterday’s earnings call, revenue for the Duolingo English Test in Q3 2021 was $6,695,000. At $49 a pop, we might extrapolate that the test was taken 136,000 times in July/Aug/Sept. The actual number is probably a bit higher than that due to discounts and freebies.

This is up from $5,607,000 in Q3 2020.

Here are the historic revenues:

Q3 2021 – 6,695,000  
Q2 2021 – 4,833,000
Q1 2021 – 5,035,000

Q4 2020 – 4,197,000
Q3 2020 – 5,607,000
Q2 2020 – 4,598,000
Q1 2020 – 753,000

Update:  I found Q4 2020 numbers!

The third quarter earnings call for Duolingo will stream live tomorrow (November 10). I won’t watch the livestream since I’m not a shareholder (too poor) but I imagine it will include the latest registration numbers for the Duolingo English Test.

In case you are wondering, there were 340,000 registrations for the DET in 2020. There were slightly less during the 12 months ending in June of 2021.

In comparison, the TOEFL iBT Home Edition was taken about 500,000 times between March 2020 and some undisclosed time in the recent past (according to a recent webinar for stakeholders).

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.