Introducing Duolingo Language Certificates (Beta)
UPDATE: You can now take language tests on your (Android) phone, see my recent announcement: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2984868
Today we're happy to introduce what thousands of people have been asking us for: online and printable diplomas that certify how much you've learned through Duolingo.
Here's how it all works:
To get a certificate, you first need to complete a test that measures how well you know the material we teach.
You can take the test at any point, but in order to get it you'll need to go to the virtual store and use 25 lingots to "purchase" it. We put the tests in the store to make sure people take them seriously and to also prevent them from taking the test over and over until they get a high score. ;)
As soon as you finish the test, you get a certificate page.
Each certificate is associated to a particular test score, so if you take the test multiple times, you get multiple certificates.
The certificate clearly states that we have not verified that it was you who actually took the test (instead of your native-speaker friend!). In the future, we plan to add ways to verify your identity, so the certificates can carry more weight.
For now, the tests are only available on the Web, but they'll be coming to the mobile apps soon.
As always, we're very interested in knowing what you think!
246 Comments This discussion is locked.
Here is a screenshot of one of my French exercises: http://s14.directupload.net/images/130918/bxc9qq2y.jpg
Sadly I also had some crashes with it (that I already reported), so it probably needs still more testing.
What does the test consist of? everything in the skill tree? I have enough lingots to try the test. But i think i might wait until i have completed the skill tree. Maybe it should only be unlocked when you have completed the skill tree. If it only consists of what i know now, it is a bit of a pointless certificate.
That being said i really like this idea!
From my understanding, It is kind of an exam. You don't need to possess all knowledge of a particular subject or do all modules to pass an exam. Most people go through life without ever understanding everything they learnt in any particular course.
Anyway, this will be excellent to test the knowledge of a language. I think one possibility, if it doesn't happen already, is to inform users that they can do this test after they complete a tree.
Another idea, assuming it doesn't already apply, is preventing people from copy pasting into the text field and thus preventing googling the answer.
Heck even better, developing a listener object that exits the test once a user attempts to move the mouse out of the test environment or the test window loses focus for any reason.
Or disable all keys except characters, to avoid alt + tab, ctrl+ alt +del, and so on...
Smart thinking, but not possible ;-)
Heck even better, developing a listener object that exits the test once a user attempts to move the mouse out of the test environment or the test window loses focus for any reason." - There are too many valid things that can pop up. Windows update for instance.
"Or disable all keys except characters, to avoid alt + tab, ctrl+ alt +del, and so on..." - Simply technically impossible from within a browser environment ;-)
Not really impossible, the same way the browser detects any key pressed. It can theoretically detect special keys too. I don't understand what you mean by offensive, an offensive thing would be to cheat in an exam, and in my opinion most if not all schools have cheaters.
I was probably sleepy when I thought of these. There are million and one ways to cheat in an online test.
But the true purpose of a security measure is not to prevent something from happening, it is rather to delay it or discourage it. Given enough time, a determined individual can bypass any existing system, as evidenced by the recent news on government hacking.
I read in a recent article that Duo is intending to make official tests for English language students next year, by getting them to film themselves with their own phone camera. That could be extended to other certificates...
I've done two, one where I'd finished the tree and another where I was nowhere near finished and the latter was shorter, but definitely contained questions I on material I hadn't learned. I wonder if the question get harder as you go through, because the better you are, the more questions you'd complete in the time allocated.
I think both. It's limited to 20 minutes, but there is a fixed number of questions and I finished well within the 20 minutes. So, it's either finish all questions or reach 20 minutes whichever comes first. When I did it there was no way to tell how many questions you'd done or still had to do though, so I just did it as quickly as I could.
Woohoo! 5.00/5.0 on my Spanish certificate. I really thought I got at least one wrong. There were a couple of words that I did not know on two different questions, and I just guessed. Must have guessed right. :-)
I love the certificate! But being so short a test, it is very dependent on chance. And I saw one of the questions at least twice. Once as a "Translate to English" and again as "Listen and type". Since it was an easy phrase for me, it gave me a bit of an unfair advantage.
Some ideas for future Certificates: Have the option of allowing a community Moderator to proctor the test. Allow an uploaded personal picture on the cert. Allow the cert. to be tied to a social media account if desired. Make the test a little longer 40-50 questions.
You have to take care that you're innthe right language when taking the test! I really was so enthousiastic about it, that I completely forgot that I was in the German tree. Good thing I know enough German to try it anyway en I passed (with very low grades, but I passed:-)). If more people have this happening, maybe it would be best to repeat explicitely before taking the test which language you are doing?
Me too. I was kicking myself, as I scored unsurprisingly badly in French, and was hoping to learn more before I took the test. Then my wi-fi dropped out on what MUST have been the last question on the Italian test (holidaying in Malaysia) so I wasted 25 more lingots. Also I was so engrossed with the tests I forgot to order my lunch and waited an hour thinking I had already ordered it. I think the tests are wonderful, but it would be extremely useful to name the language of the test before you take it :)
By the way, I'm not sure it is possible to fail ;) I got the "congratulations, you successfully completed..." message for my French score of 1.29 -I think you always get the certificate if you follow the test through to the end. Also, my French test seemed easier than the Italian one (even though I did much better on Italian, of course). I don't think the French one had imperfect, subjunctive or even future tenses. I suspect the test is adjusted to your ability level as you go.
You don't have to wait to finish your tree before taking the test. As Luis says above, you can take the test multiple times.
Duolingo keeps track of your test scores on particular dates and shows them on your home page, so by taking the test a number of times you can measure your progress over time.
Of course, it will cost you lingots every time you take one :)
I know but the test is over the entire Language course skills. I have only 35 of my 72 german skills finished. Thats only 48 percent of the course so If the course test is over everything the best I could make is a 48 percent unless I guess a lot of answers correct which I don't want to do.
I only got 2.6. I'm not sure whether it's because I didn't include accents and things or whether I need to revise more. Is there (or is there going to be) a way for us to see our answers? I feel like I feel when I get exam results in real life and I lose a few marks and I get annoyed because I don't know what I got wrong and what I need to improve xD. I never realised before how much I rely on peeking! :D
4.86/5.00. I think the content of the test is appropriate to what Duolingo teaches. I didn't count the questions. There must have been around 20 though, and it took me quite a bit less than 20 minutes. After submitting an answer, there is no indication of whether you're right or wrong, just confirmation that your answer has been submitted. Overall pretty nice!
Actually I've been to all of those countries, but only spoken German in Germany and Austria before finishing my tree. But that was after studying German at school. I still think that after finishing the tree, you could speak with the people in those countries (maybe not at the most advanced level) and I highly encourage it.
I finished the Spanish test with 4.41. Not very high, but it will do.
I have some questions/remarks regarding the implementation of the certificate.
Could a print function be added to the certificate? I know I can print it by using the print function of the browser I'm in, or by making a screenshot and printing that. But I think it would be more convenient with a print button/function of the certificate. This way the scaling/colors can be done better.
Maybe a PDF file of the certificate is 'useful' for some people? I know the certificate holds no weight, but some people might find it 'useful' or 'fun'.
Can we have some kind of knowledge about how the grade is calculated? Or is it simply a percentage based score? Also, as others have suggested, an overview of the correct/faulty answers. Although I understand it makes it a bit tricky, because people can print it out and have it with them the next time they take the exam.
Congrats for your new certificate!
About "people can print it out and have it with them the next time they take the exam":
We are not pupils here, we are volunteer learners who want to learn. Nobody dragged us here to work against our will. Therefore, cheating on Duo is the most absurd thing anybody would do.
Though, you know as well as I do that some would die for an extra heart, others expect medals, prizes or crowns, some make points by translating English to English or adding a comma here or there, others want to always best their fellow learners in real time and make it known to the whole world. Nobody's perfect.
I suspect, like you, that some will cheat when taking the test, for the sake of adding another proof of their claimed talent.
Let's face it. Their real test will come with real immersion with real people.
"because people can print it out and have it with them the next time they take the exam."
I rather assumed that the question selection would be randomised so unless there is a very small question pool or the participant makes a lot of attempts I can't see that it would help much. As to the general idea, in educational jargon the test is supposed to be a normative assessment so is not intended to inform learning but to measure progress (unlike the rest of the site where assessment is formative in nature, ie intended to guide learning).
Luis, thank you very much for the idea of certification! I would like to offer some ideas for Duolingo certificates to have more weight. In case your team and you are exploring ways to ascertain the authenticity of the user taking the test, perhaps coursera (https://www.coursera.org) is worth exploring. The last time I read about the certification process, it involves taking the user's typing biometric (everyone types differently for different types of words and sentences). Other ways involve the user showing a video-in-progress of them taking the test (with the video showing the test and them typing throughout the test).
Thank you Luis and all of your team for all your efforts. Manipulation is beneficial for both the manipulator and the person being manipulated. But you rise this to massive, artistic level, and best of all: for good causes.
We are glad to enjoy those benefits, either real (like learning a language), fictitious (lingots and coins) or in-between (the certificate).
Keep up the good word!
Will I be able to type in my name, when receiving the test? (or is the certificate linked to the duo-account). Being somewhat careful on the internet, my username has nothing to do with my real one..
I'm not suggesting that you guys from duo are misusing the personal info. You just never know who's watching cough NSA cough*
I've just completed my certificate test and I think it is a really good idea to bring this kind of thing to Duolingo. Good job! But I was disappointed when I found out that there were no details on how I've passed the test. I mean I'd like to know which answers were correct and which were not, what mistakes I've done etc. Thank you once again for doing a great job!
This is really cool. Being European, I'd love to know how I score compared to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages). For example, if you rock 40% of your tree then you'd probably pass an A1 test, 70% for A2, 100% for B1 or so. This way DuoLingo becomes a great tester but leaves the inevitable toughness of validating to 'real-life' testing institutes.
There may be some other frameworks but as far as I know this one is one of the most used in the old continent.
Hi Tatou, I found this comparison table which can serve as a reference point if you want to compare the CEFR against other methods/courses :) Cheers! http://www.best-learn-german.com/how-does-rossetta-stone-relate-to-common-european-framework-cefr/
I would love to be able to compare it to other tests, I think the CEFR rating would be handy for that. Even though it can not cover the "real" conversation, you get an idea of the vocab you know and then you should go into the world to put your conversation skills to the test. But if you have no vocab at all you can't talk anyway. So to get an idea of where you stand might give some confidence as well. Would be nice to see it in the certs.
I have found a couple of webpages that offer free CERF online tests (in 3 out of 4 skills: reading, writing, listening), and I believe that with Duolingo alone at the end of the tree you are somewhere between B1- and B2+ depending on how well you learned the material. I think that in order to go beyond B2 level you definitely need a good grammar book and a dictionary (or some additional resources) together with duolingo. I think that B2 is in most cases the lowest level accepted by european public sector as a job skill (for hiring, promotion or salary benefits). You could in principle use only duolingo to prepare for the official exams, but I would recommend to use additional resources.
I did that a couple of months ago, I need to search my history and bookmarks, but I found it from google so it shouldn't be hard for anyone to find. The two I found were were free online tests from certified organizations that offer the official exams and degrees, one of them was cambridge, the other I do not remember...
I found some for French, since this is what I'm studying, but I don't know if that's of any help to you. Anyway, for anyone interested, a short evaluation can be found here: http://www.delfdalf.ch/index.php?id=320 And longer, more realistic tests here: http://apprendre.tv5monde.com/fr/apprendre-francais/accueil-tcf
I did, however, obtain the same result with both of the tests.
Nice! I just took the test and got a 4.53. I didn't know there would be stuff I haven't learned yet on there. :D It took less than 20 minutes for me as well, more around 10 minutes.
But while I was taking the test, I was looking forward to seeing exactly what I had gotten wrong and what I had gotten right (and finding out what the new words meant, especially the ones that were part of the spoken questions because I had absolutely no idea what they were saying). But when I finished, all I got was the score and certificate. So I think one way to improve the test a lot would be to have a review page after you've taken the test that has each question, your answer, and the correct answer.
I think it would be a good idea to add in the grading the reached level in the "European Framework of Reference for Languages" scale (A1-A2-B1-B2-C1-C2), in order to have a better idea of your current language level.
that gonna be an awesome idea coz it makes us be serious ven though we don't joing this great site in order to waste our time, but we are here to improve our languages skills and tallents as well. so this spelndid idea is gonna help us to more interested in learning and praticing more . and thanx so much in advance.
Alright, here's my idea, and somebody might have posted it but I don't want to read through all the comments: what if they have to have a webcam on the whole time to verify that it's the same person taking it the whole time. Of course, somebody else could start the test, take the whole thing, and then let the other person take back over, so maybe it could reference the person taking the test with a facebook picture, too. Yeah?
I just took my first test. Tried it out in Spanish - in which I'm already proficient - but it's a great motivator for French which I'm working on in earnest. I notice that the certificate is visible to me on my home page next to my tree but not on my profile which is what other people would see. An accomplishment like a good score on a certificate, to me, should be treated as a kind of bling, something to be proud of and to let others see. Could we have an option to make it visible on our profile page?
As long as there is no way to ensure the test is taken without cheating (e.g. referring to notes or books while taking the test, or even having someone take it for you) the certificate can't really have any weight outside of the Duo community.
That said, it would be nice if there would be a cool logo right under or above your language levels on your profile page. It even says "show your skills to the world". But my perfect 5/5 will just show to me, and I even have to scroll down to see it. Duo, I really didn't need to take this test to know my skills are good. I just wasted 25 lingots and a half-hour of my time. Uffa.
Btw, there was one question that was in past perfect and I accidentally answered in present perfect and clicked submit. I realized my mistake and in horror saw there was no way to go back and change the answer. So I was really surprised that I scored 5/5. I guess the test allows a mistake or two? Also, on another question I answered in an "English" way, then put a more literal translation in parenthesis -- apparently that was tolerated as well!
I spent 25 lingots three days ago on only one Duolingo English Certificate. It's been the first and latest one and I've reached the maximum score!! :D
I'm so happy, now I'm waiting for a newer Language Certificate in which we'll be able to verify our identity!
Duolingo is getting better and better. I'm proud of having been part of the beginning! :)
Awesome! This brings up an idea. How does the whole college credit thing work? Maybe someday, once you can verify identity, you could try to make it a college credit (can't they be transferable between schools?). But I would imagine it costs money, so maybe once people have translated 1,000 articles AND pay x-amount of lingot or something, to make it free. I have no idea how this works, and doubt it ever could, although it's just an idea.
Just wondering: would it be possible to use a few audio fragments or grammar excersizes in the tests? this way the cheating problem would be less and it would be a good thing for non-native english or spanish students! Half of the mistakes I make are against English (esp. word order and such) :-)
I will be saving all my Lingots for the tests, and would not consider taking them until a system to verify that I took the test, and no other person took the test is in place. Off the top of my head, I think a voice identification algorithm that verifies the taker of the test might be feasible. What might be of great value for a potential employer is to observe the taking of the test in real time. For example, in an interview situation, one could literally take the Spanish exam in front of the person interviewing you for the job position, so SAVE your Lingots and practice wisely and critically.
I can't get the program to go through any full section because it won't work when it gets to several items to choose and I have to answer the one(s) by clicking a check mark in the proper box(es) I don't think I've updated the program so how do I update it or is it my mouse but no it is a laptop so I can use just the keyboard and it still does not check the box or boxes.
This is amazing! I like the idea of "purchasing" it for 25 lingots, so it becomes more serious. I will keep studying French really hard in order to get it and these are very good stimulous. Thanks so much!
P.S. I also loved the idea of verifying identity in the future. I will be waiting for it, so my certificate would be real for everybody :D
Suggestion: Why don't you open other trees as we get the certificates? For instance, I already did the English tree. So I will take the test. If I pass a specific score, the proficiency for doing other languages would be attested, and more languages would be available.
I use the English tree made for Brazilians as "flash cards", to keep the language "active". Every time I want to practice French, for example, I have to change the settings.
What is the philosophy behind keeping the certificates for only private viewing? It's ironic that in the lingot store it says, "get a certificate to show off your language skills," but it is impossible to either display it to other users or even print it. I have suggested that there be an option to allow an icon to be displayed on one's profile page, but no moderators have commented so far.
I really like Duolingo. I think that this move is a great additions to the website. It also, because it is a free "service", it makes foreign languages accessible to more people. Not to mention that the cool design makes learning a foreign language interesting. It is a huge difference to having to look at a super dry book and try to mumble words with a person that you do not really know. So, both thumbs up Duolingo. Keep up the good work.
To be fair though, there's been loads of cases of professional exam takers turning up for 'in person' tests with false ID, the certificate itself doesn't have a photo of the person on it. Additionally, they could use a persons webcam to record the person taking the test in real-time for a little more security.