Have Word Strength Based off Rate of Success
Currently, it seems word strength is based off how often you practice, and it's easy to get max rank in all words. I'm not sure this is conductive for getting us to practice till we really understand.
I think our ranking should be more like this:
Max: You get the word right 90+%.
3: You get the word correct 70% - 80% of the time.
2: 50% - 60%. At this level, you're probably confusing forms.
1: 30% - 40% success. At this level, you probably don't yet understand when to use which form.
0: Less than 30% success. You most likely can't remember how to spell the word or several of its forms, yet.
As it is, I have max ranks for words I am far from properly understanding. I practice with them, but sometimes I'm not making true progress... The "Practice Weakest Words" feature would be a lot more useful if we had a system like this.
Is this a flawed idea, or is it worth consideration?
Misc thoughts: Ranking could also decline with time, as it currently does. I was wondering about peeking having an effect on ranking, but I'm not sure if that's a wise idea or not. Translating sentences from your mother tongue to the language you are learning should have the biggest effect on ranking, along with speaking the words into your mike.
Forgot that one, lol.
The rating could be based off the last ten questions you answered of each kind (translation, writing what you hear, etc.), with each form of a word. Your scoring with the forms would add up to make your rank with that word as a whole.
That way, you can't get max rank till you've answered plenty of questions for that word.
Talked to a friend, and he came up with a system which might be good for this.
Each form of a word has a maximum score of 100. The word's strength is an averaging of all the forms, so you'll need them all at 100 to get maximum strength.
You can increase your score by Translating from your Mother Tongue to X language, up to a maximum of 30 points. Speaking tests are also worth up to 30 points. Typing what you hear would be worth 20. And Multiple-Choice and translating from X to Mother Tongue would be worth 10 each. So, you won't achieve
If you disable one of these tests (speaking and listening, for example), your score with those tests is automatically maxed, just so the code will function without complication (if you re-enable these, they'll revert back to your previous score).
[Translation from Mother Tongue to X] Correct Answer: +3 points.
Streak Bonus: If you have a streak of two or more, you get +2 extra points with each correct answer.
Peeking Penalty: If you answer correctly, but peeked, you get -1 less point. If you peeked excessively, at all the words, you get -2 less points.
Incorrect Spelling: If you forget to add the correct grammar, and to use the special letters when they are needed, you get -1 less point.
Losing: For each word you fail to answer, there is a -X penalty to THAT WORD'S score. So, if you get only one word wrong in the sentence, only that word's score will be reduced. X would vary, depending on how high your score currently is. It might be -3 at mastered level, so you'll need to answer once correctly without peeking and spelling mistakes to resume mastery.
Losing Streak: If you get a word wrong several times in a row, the penalty increases.
Decline: If you don't practice the word for too long, each form you haven't practised will deteriorate in score. The longer you leave it, the faster the deterioration.
Decline should be stronger at first, when you've begun learning the word and are getting it into your long-term memory, then become less effective as you grow in that language and continue to practice. This way, we'll practices words we've just learnt more, and words that we mastered a while ago will need less practice.
The Duolingo staff will have more data and be able to work out the desired curves better than this. This is only an example, of how you might get the desired rate of mastery, and perhaps the desired reduction of score.
The other tests would have similar bonuses and penalties.
That's what I worked out with a friend earlier. Hope it is somewhat helpful.