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https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanette525

What is the best way to use the progress quiz as a learning tool?

Hello,

I think having a progress quiz to measure how far we've come is a great idea. However, I just have a few questions about it that would help me utilize the information.

1.) Why is the score given out of 5 instead of as a percentage or out of the total number of questions?

2.) How are the questions chosen? Do people further along in their trees or further in levels get harder questions?

3.) Should a person be able to get a perfect score by the time they finish the tree?

4.) How do we know if our score is at, above, or below average for where we are on the tree?

5.) Do we get partial credit if we translate the majority of a sentence correctly? For example, the vast majority of questions I got had one word I had forgotten or hadn't learned yet, but I could translate the rest of the sentence. My low score hints that no partial credit is given but it'd be nice to know for sure.

6.) Are there different questions every time we take the test?

7.) Is there a way to be able to review correct/incorrect answers after we finish so we can learn from our mistakes?

All in all, I like the idea of having a progress quiz but I'm just not sure how to use it as a learning tool. It doesn't give me any feedback except for the score out of 5, and I'm not entirely sure what that means either. Any response is greatly appreciated, and as always, thanks for your hard work making this site!

4 years ago

48 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

It is strictly a test of your language competence. It is not adjusted to your level, and all you get is a score -- no explanation or comparisons, just a score based on how well you have done, what you know. It is 5/5 because, well, that is what it is. ;) It is like taking the SAT, GRE, ACT, and so on. A native speaker that knows their own language pretty well should easily get a 5/5. As a learning tool it tells you how far along you are, measured against a high standard; it does not tell you well you have done 'so far.' Some beginners have taken the test and complained they were asked a whole bunch of questions that they knew nothing about, which should not be a shock. The test is like a 'comprehensive final exam' and covers everything. If you take it every, say, two months, your scores should improve if you study consistently. Just 'finishing the tree' does not mean you'll get a 5, just as 'finishing a semester' of any subject does not mean you know all the information in the class. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanette525

So a 5 is equivalent to fluency? I understand that it's just a test of language competence but I wish there were more explanations and comparisons involved so that I could use the data I'm being given. For example, tests such as the ACT will give you break-downs by subject and tell you your percentile as compared to other test-takers. It would be nice to have something like that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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No, a 5 is not equivalent to fluency. A 5 means that you have internalized the content on Duolingo. That's a fraction of the vocabulary that a fluent speaker has, but a firm grasp of the grammatical structures of the language that you can use to build your vocabulary by actively using the language.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HappyEvilSlosh
HappyEvilSlosh
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> That's a fraction of the vocabulary that a fluent speaker has

Some extra relevant information for some context: estimates of the number of words a native speaker uses regularly places it at around 10,000. Of course this is ignoring not always easy questions like what qualifies as a word? so it's only an estimate. Someone who works in a technical field can use upto 20,000. I'm ... say 2/3rds through the German tree and have 853 words.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/skellious
skelliousPlus
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that seems a very high number. from what i've read it's nearer 2000 words in daily use for a person in English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LittleCatz

It's something like 2,000-3,000 words will get you through 90% of most daily conversations. That's the "point of diminishing returns". You should focus your early learning on the most common words as they will give you by far the most benefit. I think Duolingo is pretty good about that.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ansa211

It really is so that to cover the next 20% you have to learn several times as many words as to cover the first 80%! The reason is that the most common words cover large portions of texts - for example, the most common word in English is "the", which covers about 4-6% of all words in any given text. If all words were as common as "the", it would be enough to learn 20-25 words and you would understand everything :-D

The 2000th most common word is "waste", which covers about 0.004% of American English texts. So even if all the remaining words in the language were as common as the 2000th word, you still would have to learn additional 5000 to cover the remaining 20% of texts. But, tragically for us learners, the remaining words are even less common, so it takes learning even more than additional 5000 words... :-(

I took the order of the most common words and I estimated the percentage from the COHA corpus: http://www.wordfrequency.info/free.asp?s=y

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Altrosas

That's what I've heard as well. The wikipedia article on polyglotism says: “It is estimated that the most frequently used 2000 words—in all or most of their multiple senses—cover approximately seventy-five to eighty percent of a general text in English and other European languages.” If that's true it seems unlikely that it would take another 8,000 words to make up the other 20 - 25 percent of most general texts.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanette525

So it is testing your progress out of what Duolingo offers rather than your progress overall in the language?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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While Duolingo has countless strengths and is the most fabulous language learning tool I have ever encountered, it does have its weaknesses. Those include the ability to teach and assess conversational skills. The developers have stated in the past that this is something they would like to improve on, but at the moment it is not something that is offered in the course and it is not something that they assess in the quiz or in the formal (and more comprehensive) language test that they offer for $20 on Android.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smokerising

What 20$ test on android?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

5/5 is not 'fluency,' whatever that may mean :). It means you got an "A" in Duolingo, but that does not mean 'fluency.'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stefano6884
stefano6884
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Everyone here is making a hell of a mistake misquoting you: you wrote

"A native speaker that knows their own language pretty well should easily get a 5/5. "

which means IF you are native THEN you easily get a 5/5 ...NOT the other way around (IF you get a 5/5 THEN you're like a native)

People, get your formal logic straight please!!! :(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RabbitsRabbits

Duolingo has courses to get you to at most a pre-intermediate level. Called "A2"

A0 is beginner B1 is intermediate C2 is fluency.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SoongJiaLiang

Nicely said I agree

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/revdolphin
revdolphin
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I have taken the quiz six times (four in English --> Spanish; one in Spanish --> English; and one in Vietnamese --> English). I agree with just about everything rspreng said and I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

1) See rspreng's response.
2) The test does seem to take your competence into account, based not on your progress through the tree, but on your responses to the earlier questions in the quiz. When I took the quiz for the Vietnamese --> English course while I was still at level 1 in the course, I noticed that the questions got progressively easier, and by the end of the quiz all of the questions were from what I later discovered were just Basics 1 and Basics 2. Contrast that with the final time I took the English --> Spanish quiz, in which the questions got progressively harder until by the end I was seeing questions that I remembered as having been from lessons at the very end of the tree.
3) I did not get a perfect score until well after I finished the tree. Review is important.
4) I don't know that this is a norm-referenced test. I would suggest just dividing the number of lessons you've completed so far by the total number of lessons in the tree and multiplying by 5 to get an estimate of how well you should do on the quiz, but don't be worried if you're calculation is way off from your performance on the quiz.
5) That would seem to be the case. I'm fairly certain that I did not answer a single question correctly in the Vietnamese --> English quiz, but I managed to squeak out a 0.26/5.
6) My times taking the quiz have been too far spaced to say with 100% certainty, but if you see my answer to #2 it seems pretty clear that there are.
7) No.

My general rule was to take the test every five levels until I scored 5/5, but I may modify that for the Vietnamese course since I am moving so rapidly through it. I know some people take it every month, some people take it every time they pass a checkpoint, and some people take it whenever they're bored or feel like getting rid of some lingots.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brian_Bullard

do you need to pay the 25 lingots each time you take the quiz

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Yes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/m3.
m3.
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:( Good to know. I won't be taking it then!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sbeecroft
sbeecroft
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In the end, the lingots really aren't good for anything except buying quizzes. Especially if you're stacking up the lingots by e.g. doing a lesson every day, completing your +5 wager every week, etc. you'll soon have more lingots than you'll know what to do with.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jorihag

Quite ironic that you get 11 lingots for saying you don't know what to do with lingots

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/USA_Luftwaffle
USA_Luftwaffle
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Почему? Warum?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanette525

Thanks for your answer! Based on what you said for #2, I think I understand how questions are given. I've taken tests before where if you get one right, they give you a harder question, and if you get one wrong, you get an easier question. Basically a method to zero in on your skill level.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo
lisa4duolingo
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I'm glad you took the time to comment, revdolphin. It makes me want to share one of my own experiences with the Progress Quiz. I recently took one for Spanish, and much to my surprise, I got every single test question right. As I waited patiently for duolingo to tell me what my score was, expecting a 5/5, I was somewhat disappointed to see that I had only received a score of 3.77.

The only thing I can conceive of that this could be attributed to is the fact that I have not completed the tree. I have about 10 branches/52 lessons remaining, which means I've completed all but 15% of the course. It wouldn't take too long to finish out the tree, but I'm focusing on refreshing my tree right now. (I spent about 10 days with Spanish when I first discovered duolingo and only recently have I returned to it.) When I do complete the tree, I will be curious to see if I get a 5/5 on the Progress Quiz (assuming I get them all correct). Time will tell.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsHogberg
LarsHogberg
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How can you know that you "got every single question right"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo
lisa4duolingo
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Good question. I just knew. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how it works, but doesn't the system let you know if you get an answer wrong? Either way, the quiz was so easy for me, I would have been shocked had I gotten any of them wrong. For example, when you see 1 + 1 = ?, you know the answer is 2. You don't need someone to tell you that "2" is the correct answer. Even if someone were to tell you differently, you'd probably have a difference of opinion. I'm not saying the quiz was that easy, but I'm usually very hard and critical of myself when it comes to assessing my level with something and I feel rather confident that I knew the answers to that quiz not just well, but really well. Now, going back to what I wrote earlier, I can see why you may have posed the question. I wrote

much to my surprise, I got every single test question right

I wrote that because I wasn't expecting the test to be that easy for me. In other words, I wasn't expecting to feel that confident with the answers that were presented to me. Now, if you know something I don't, for example, these tests don't let you know what you got right and what you got wrong, then I suppose it's rather difficult to assess your performance with them.

Nevertheless, you ask a good question. I'm tempted to blow 25 lingots to purposely try to get the answers wrong, just to see what happens, but doing so would mess with my stats and at 25 lingots a pop, I think I can live without knowing whether or not duolingo considered my answers correct. Now, if I get to the end of the tree and then take a progress quiz and feel as confident as I did last time that I answered the questions correctly, I may not be so willing to blow 25 lingots on such tests. I have faith in duolingo, though.

If I do any more research, I'll be sure to let you know of my findings, and if anyone reading this has something more substantive or definitive to say on this topic, please post a comment.

Again good question, LarsHogberg. Thank you for asking it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LarsHogberg
LarsHogberg
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No, the system doesn't let you know if you answered correctly or not. But ok, then I know, I was just wondering if I've missed something :) and thanks for your answer

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnMHammond

The system definitely does not let you know if you got a question right or wrong. There was at least one question that I basically left blank because I didn't know a crucial word in the sentence, and the sound/visual that Duolingo gave was the exact same on all of the questions that I had gotten right.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jahernandez920

I have the same comments about feedback. You cannot tell what your mistake was. Did you forget an accent mark, get the tense wrong, make a type or just completely blow it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shirki
shirki
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Does the test take accent marks into account? That seems out of character, given that duolingo doesn't actually consider missing accent marks as errors during lessons. That should at least be stated clearly in the test explanation!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vm.moraes
vm.moraes
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I took the test 3times, the last one I thought I was better than the previous ones and my score was lower.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/simone-0924

I am pretty sure the test is mostly based on how much of the tree you have unlocked and how full the "memory bars" of each unit are. I speak Italian daily and took the test sat next to my native Italian boyfriend (who confirmed my answers) and still achieved 1.9 I did it twice to check exactly what it meant and I still only achieved around a 1.9 (I am half way though the tree)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocky1638

Is the progress quiz reusable? Is it a one time purchase of 25 lingots?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dumoc

No.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fedorabeard

you will need to pay for every use. 25 lingots per quiz.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/haileyhailhail

Hey, so today I took the test for the second time. The first time i took it (about 7 months ago) I had gone through French 2 at university. That time, i got a 2.7. Today (after having changed my major to french and becoming a pretty fluid speaker and being almost done with French 4) I got a 5/5. I am only about 3/4 of the way done with my tree but i haven't really been keeping up with it. I know I've bypassed almost everything on the remaining part of the tree in my classes. It was interesting to see such an improvement on the score though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/haileyhailhail

I'd also like to add that comparing my first attempt to my second attempt, it seems that the quiz DOES take your competence into account in the sense that the phrases got harder and harder or longer. The first time i took it, the phrases didn't get very hard probably because i was making quite a few mistakes.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo
lisa4duolingo
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Thank you for posting your comment, haileyhailhail. Based off of your comments and those of revdolphin's, combined with my own experiences, clearly the scoring methods are a bit esoteric. Oh well. There's more to life than a test score and if it is something that could use some improvement, I have faith that duolingo will at least look into it, correct it, or perhaps even improve upon the assessment tools it currently offers its users.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matfran2001
matfran2001
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I think it tests you out of what Duolingo offers you. I have done it several times in different languages. I got 5.00/5.00 in English, Spanish, Italian and French. My "real" level in each of those four languages is C1-C2 in English and Spanish, maybe B1 in Italian and possibly A1-A2 in French.

According to my own experience, you can get 5.00/5.00 if you answer correctly 70% (or more) of the questions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FleraEvan

Wow. This has just reminded me of how nice and non-judgemental the Duolingo community is. Thank you for the help, everyone. It's very much appreciated :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SueGibb8

I think I've got it. A month ago - level 11, ADVERB module - took the quiz. Was very disheartened to see 1.26/5.00. Started from the beginning again. Today, I took the test for a second time, KNOWING I'd worked very hard at remembering all that I'd learned up til now. By question 4, I was asked questions - 4 in a row - that had words I'd never seen. As I presumed previously that I'd not get any scoring for partially right answers, I decided to 'Skip' those four questions. After that, everything was very easy - far too easy, I guess because I finished with most everything correct (or so I feel) and a score of - I'm embarrassed to type of 0.62/5.00. I have many lingots so will try test again later this week, once I've had a chance to lick my wounds. I WILL NOT skip any questions as I'm certain this is what caused my downfall.

Question... Has anyone ever counted the number of questions given? I will do so this next go-round.

Yes, Evan, with very few exceptions, everyone here is VERY NICE. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FleraEvan

That is most certainly true. Also, good luck with your next test :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VBafY
VBafY
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This discussion thread was very enlightening. Thanks for starting it and thanks to all who responded.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jfernatt

Great topic. I'm eager to hear the answers to your questions.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seandodson

Yes I would find this really useful too

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielaJankovic

How comes I cannot find any longer either my Italian Progress Quiz or my history of Progress Quiz taken before? Does anyone have any idea where to find it or how to activate it?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jessica48376

I've had the same issue finding the progress quiz for French... I'm not sure where it went honestly.

10 months ago