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  5. Fluency rating - what a waste…


Fluency rating - what a waste of time & space.

Why do they even publish this number as it is clearly meaningless and I say it is a bit of a demoraliser given you put in so much time & effort & are clearly making positive progress. But there the number sits, at the same level for weeks, months, etc... I think they should either fix their algorithm or remove it from the page. It just makes a huge disincentive to keep going - like a father who always tells his son he is a failure no matter how good he does. And while they are maybe fixing the algorithm they could spend a bit of time on all the grammatical or vocabulary errors I keep finding in the program and a big improvement in the audio level would be nice too while I am requesting things...

March 24, 2017



I totally agree with you...it's not motivational, it just demoralizes me.


It does go up somewhat, but you have to level up your words, get to the end of the course, keep everything golden, etc. One guy has his at 73%, so it does go up. I'm working on 100%. I do think it should be improved though.

"It just makes a huge disincentive to keep going - like a father who always tells his son he is a failure no matter how good he does." Perfect simile.


I myself have never seen a 100%. Duolingo is not intended to go to 100%. An official Duolingo post clarifies that, if you don't believe me. If you see someone with a 100%, they probably just messed with the code or Photoshopped it. 73% is the highest I've ever heard, so good for that guy, but really I find it better to just ignore the little icon and its lies.


I have never seen anyone with a 100%, but if Duolingo made it possible at all, then I intend to get there. But again, it's only going by what it thinks you learned in Duolingo alone. So unless you truly only use Duolingo and you forget the words the same speed Duolingo thinks you do, it is inaccurate.


I just feel it is a fake number or measurement - I know, for a fact, I have improved a lot...I live in Spain, am taking classes & participate in multiple conversation groups but I am stuck at the same fluency level. I have a Spanish friend here who is doing Duolingo English & he is at like 73% or something like that but we talk every week & his English is as good or not as good as my Spanish so why the fluency difference rating? And it frustrates me to no end to keep filing reports (maybe like 100 or 150 or more so far) and it just seems to go into the ether. There are some very clear errors in Dualingo - I have showed my Spanish teacher (a native who also teaches English & French) a dozen or more examples & she has said that 100% of them are clearly wrong. But they never change...even after months.


Well, it only measures what your Duolingo progress is. Did you try looking at your words? I did the other day and was astounded by how many words it said needed refreshing when I knew them by heart. I found out that doing the "Strengthen" does not work very well. It's actually best to find the exact lesson that teaches the word that needs to be practiced and redo it.


I did just slightly under half the Spanish tree, 2 days ago I got all my known words to full strength, and I'm at 44% fluency, so it's roughly correct.


A good point! Thank you!


I visit Words from time to time. I pick up the weak words and go to the lesson containing these words to redo the lesson. I perform OK on some at least. At the end, when I go back to Words and pick up those words, it says "so many months ago" without any indication of improvement. It is a bit discouraging to feel victimized by an otherwise nice app :(


Yeah, I guess they need to tweak some bugs. About all of these words that say I haven't done them in 8 months, I've actually done them within the past week. But because it isn't the lesson that introduced it, it doesn't seem to count. So I've determined that the "Strengthen Skill" button only strengthens that skill (turns it gold).


I kind of have the opposite issue. I'm on my third day of duo lingo. Putting in about 6 hours a day. It says my fluency is at 18%. This is a joke. There is no way I am 18% fluent in Spanish. When people start talking to me in Spanish I don't have a clue what they are saying. I'm probably more like 1.8% fluent.


I'm at 15% fluent and it can't be accurate! Haha..


That's really the only major criticism I have though. I'm dedicated to getting through to Stage 25. I'm halfway through Stage 6 on my third day. Doing about 6 hours a day. From a more minor point, I wish there was more of an emphasis on conjugation. I think I'm getting the present tense down though. Of course you can click on "conjugation" and review all the tenses. I probably had about a 40-50 word vocabulary before I started and could construct a few basic sentences is all.


Please do not misunderstand me, I am not contradicting you in any way. I would merely like to remark, being a computer scientist as a hobby, that it is not just a snap of the fingers to "fix the fluency algorithm." First of all, one thing that will never be possible is rating the fluency on outside resources. If you go to Puerto Rico, you will probably greatly benefit your Spanish, but Duolingo will not add that to your fluency. It is not easy - I may go so far as to say impossible - to make an accurate fluency rating. See this article in the Duolingo Help Center.

There are so many things to be taken into account, and so many wild guesses that must be taken, that simply improving the algorithm's accuracy cannot be suggested as a long-term solution.


I just don't understand its system of evaluation. thanks for your explanation.


Sorry, but I don't understand what you don't understand. =) A quote from the link:

Duolingo estimates your fluency based on your progress through the skill tree and the accuracy of your answers. Because learning a language requires repetition, we also take into account how regularly you practice. Without continued practice, your fluency score will decline, based on our model of how the human brain forgets over time.


Thanks, but I practice everyday. I am very careful not to make typos or careless mistakes. And I am quite fluent in Spanish. French,on the other hand, is moving right along. But I am nowhere near fluent!!


I agree. My Spanish rate has actually gone down several notches (careless mistakes, I suppose). I'm at the same level in French as I am in Spanish according to Duolingo, but my Spanish is far superior to my French. I converse easily in Spanish but struggle to do so in French.


The fluency rating has left me depressed and homeless. I have lost my family, my job, and my dog (R.I.P spot)


I agree! Ii am stuck at 51% and have been at 51% for most of my time on Duolingo. Once I jumped to 53% and then a few days later was at 51% again. I wonder what makes the decision to change the percentage.


My rate used to be in the 20's when I was about half done and doing it half-heartedly. Then after taking a live one-on-one course, I finished my tree and saw that I was down to 6%. Over the past few days, I've just been trying to keep the tree golden and I am now down to 5%. It really is a ridiculous number.


Well done. I couldn't have said it better myself. I sent them a message about this last week and I'm still waiting for a response. It is quite discouraging.


I agree. My Spanish has been at 55% FOREVER and I know I've improved a lot.
On the reverse course, my English is at 79%. (English is my native language).


quote: It just makes a huge disincentive to keep going - like a father who always tells his son he is a failure no matter how good he does end quote

I disagree: Failure is part of the learning process.

Out on the wild internet I had read a article about people in the US: People don't like to make failures, or are afraid of making failures in any subject.

Making failures doesn't make one a failure.


I just started supplementing duolingo with an online tutor. It's expensive but worth it to me. I did 90 minutes using a skype type of program that allows you and the tutor to video conference and type in a lesson plan box. I'm going to continue with duolingo and do the tutoring once a week. The name of the company is Varsity Tutors. https://www.varsitytutors.com


http://www.ecuspanish.com/ is only $12 per hour. It's basically just conversational practice, though.
If you want specific questions answered, or you want to cover certain material, it's kind of up to you to prepare anything you want to cover. Otherwise, it's just conversing with a native Spanish-speaking tutor out of Quito, Ecuador.
I did find it very helpful, though.


Thanks, I'll check it out.


How much is 90 minutes with Varsity Tutors?


It depends on how many hours you buy. If you buy 50 hours, it's $53/hour. If you buy just 9 hours, which is what I'm doing just to try it out, it's 65/hour. I'm planning on two 90 min. sessions per weak. I know it's a lot, but I'm serious about getting to a simple conversational point, and I want to get my grammar correct, as I'm planning a many month motorcycle trip down to S. America again soon.
My tutor is very patient, speaks perfect english (He's a medical student graduated in Venezuela, who is working on his residency here.) He's insisting that I learn to drill verb conjugation correctly, which is a PIA, but that method is a good offset to DL's method of just memorizing the correct sentence structure.
The two methods are complimentary.


Yes, that is spendy, but it does sound like the real deal, with a set curriculum of sort.
I'm in Portland, OR, by the way. I'm from here, but lived in Seattle for 14 years. I'm pretty serious about learning, too, and I'm starting a 12 week course at the community college here in a couple of weeks. I've traveled a bit, and am hoping to visit Central America next year.


I just got back from a month long motorcycle trip thru Argentina and Chile, and realized how much I was missing by having only extremely basic Spanish skills.
I want to continue to do these types of trips, so I'm going to be doing DL, tutoring, maybe even some face to face tutoring too. I'm going in "whole hog".
DL alone is taking me 8 hours a day.


Don't get me wrong, but that is too expensive. Check italki or My language exchange, they are very popular and good :)


To become fluent in a language, you need to spend time immersed either in a foreign country or immigrant community. It sounds like most people top out around 50%, which sounds about right for someone who's taken several years of language coursework without studying abroad.

My last semester of college Spanish was more like a college English class, focused more on literature analysis than on building vocabulary. My professor's explanation was that we had gotten as far as we were ever going to get via coursework, and the only way to get to the next level is to spend time in a Spanish-speaking country.

My Spanish fluency is 34% according to Duolingo, which sounds about right to me.


The algorithm does seem to have some serious issues. I rose rather rapidly to 49% (they say the highest you can achieve on DuoLingo is 50-60%) and I felt that was a poor representation of my actual skill level. That said, I have continued progressing while watching my score DROP to 40%. At first I was discouraged. Then I said, "Self, ignore the score. Just keep learning the language."

And while we're on the subject of learning, Duo has greatly improved my grasp of Spanish grammar, but the vocabulary is shallow and for my purposes, almost useless. I don't gamble, drink or go hunting for a life-mate. Duo has offered very little in the way of useful terms; where are 'hand,' 'head,' 'fingers,' 'toes'?

I have studied Spanish before, but couldn't get a handle on the grammar. As I said, Duo has helped with that, but my actual reading level is such that I am digesting a natural-history encyclopedia designed for high-school age kids while bogging down on "par," "para" and whether or not to use "a." These vital prepositions are also something Duo has neglected and should consider offering in the early sessions.

As others have mentioned, it's a free program so we really have no cause to gripe, but yes, the fluency score is more discouraging to me than encouraging.


I've heard that before, too (that the highest you can achieve on DuoLingo is 50-60%), but I know that is not the case because my "English for Spanish Speakers" is at 79% fluency (English being my native language). My Spanish, on the other hand, has been stuck at 54 and 55% for months now, in spite of my progress.


Ditto, ditto, ditto. I reached 54% in a relatively short time and remain there while my tree is finished. Not sure where to go from here. Yes, it is meaningless. Also a little aggravating that I say things correctly and the audio misses words.


I run into the same problem too. I find that if I talk just as clearly as I can but talk faster, it actually makes it more likely to recognize my voice! Maybe because spanish is spoken so quickly normally?


The fact that nothing has been done about it yet, says a lot. I'd love someone from the duolingo team to respond. Have they? Maybe I have just missed their replies?


No, I have neither had any contact from Duolingo nor seen any evidence that they have acknowledged the problem(s) or fixed them. They quite slyly have no direct contact options, only to report issues when you are doing the program.

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