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How can we trust that our students are not cheating in Duolingo?

You may have read my posts before -- I use Duolingo in my Spanish classes and one-fifth of my students' grades is based on their DL performance. I've invented a rubric (which I shared with the DL community) and together with the dashboard I assess their progress on a weekly basis.

This past week an enthusiastic freshman told the class how they can rack up skills and XP without spending much time (and without learning anything). This is actually the second time I have become aware of kids cheating with this glitch. Here's the summary:


Now it's obvious that we have to set up a second way to assess whether or not they are truly doing their lessons. As I let them have the hour on Mondays to work on DL, I am thinking that I'll sit down next to them, one by one, and watch how they progress through their lessons. But what do I say if I find an individual who is making lots of mistakes and using the hover feature a lot, and taking much more time to get through the lesson as those they do at home (you can figure out the average time it takes them by studying the timestamps on the dashboard activity)? What can you say if you suspect they've been cheating? Perhaps make it a rule that they have to get X points doing timed practice in the last skill they mastered?

Any suggestions or ideas will be appreciated.

November 16, 2015



I think you're just gonna have go use your best judgement. Perhaps you could make then write a short (or long if they want) paragraph on their learning, including grammar, vocabulary, etc. If you notice that students are sharing a common error, you could try to fix it.

Cheaters wouldn't have good paragraphs probably. They'd probably do more work cheating than they would do if they just learned. You could try building this time into the Monday sessions if the students find an hour of Duo to be too long.

Good luck! :)


I'll copy my response here (I responded in your other thread as well):

Hi! This is a known bug and it will be fixed. Thank you for reporting again. Sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused, and let's hope students see the value in learning a new language more than points and cheats. :\


Thanks again Vivisaurus. It doesn't matter so much; now I've got my own protection plans in place. :)


yeah lets hope. What if in addition to hoping, we wanted to do something to prevent or discourage cheating?

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