What do the progress results mean?
I have no frame of reference for what the results of the progress quiz (from the lingot store) mean. Would a 5/5 mean I was a master? Would 1/5 mean I knew 1/5 of the entire language, or would it mean of what I've been taught so far, I've only retained 1/5?
Yes, to your first question. This quiz is on the entire course and not just on what you have been taught so far. I learned French formally in high school, but it is my parents language so I am fairly strong in it and I came to brush up on it because I grew up speaking English as my first language. I have not finished the course yet and I have 4.71 on my progress test in French, but I am sure it would be much lower in another language.
This is a much better assessment than a person's level because that only indicates how much xp has been earned which means how much practice a person has put in. A. person who already knows both languages perfectly would finish the course quickly without accruing a lot of xp, then he may spend a lot of time learning another language and his xp might be higher in the new language which he might be less strong in. Of course you can earn a lot of xp translating in immersion if you are proficient at it.
For someone who has completely mastered both languages, the one being learned and the one learning from, the score would hopefully be 5.0 For example I sometimes practice Portuguese from Spanish to help me differentiate them, but if I took the progress test there I would be assessing both languages and that would lower my score considerably more than if I took the test from English which I know thoroughly. If I take the test for English, I cannot hope to get 5.0 until I have mastered the language I am taking English from even though I know English - I would be testing my knowledge of both languages when translating back and forth. In order to know if you know the language, you are testing your ability to translate the language. An alternate test elsewhere could allow you to test that language in and of itself, but not here. In other words, you are testing your knowledge of the new language in relation to the one you are learning it from.
Very thorough reply. I also want to emphasize that the test only tests what Duo covers. It is not a test of total proficiency, and it definitely doesn't test real world fluency. This is one breakdown of language proficiency that might interest readers--it comes up a lot in forum discussions.
There are a bunch of online tests you can take for free that supposedly reflect your proficiency on that CEF scale. Anyone know the best versions?