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Giving extra credit for extracurricular study of DuoLingo?

I have tried to search for a thread on this topic, so I am sorry if this topic has been asked about and answered already. I have read on a few occasions that some of you teachers are looking to use Duolingo as an ancillary tool to reinforce language learning. My students really seem enthusiastic about using Duolingo, and I see this as a very beneficial tool for supplementary learning! As a motivation for them to use the program, I wanted to offer some extra credit opportunities for the students. However, I don't want to artificially inflate their grades by offering TOO much extra credit. I need to be able to cap the maximum amount of points possible. For those of you who have tried it, how did you calculate extra credit? Do you limit it? What about some of the tricks that I have read of where students can manipulate the program to rack up the XP points, etc? What do you do about testing, and the points accumulated with that? Thank you in advance for any good advice that you can give me.

June 16, 2015



If I were to use Duolingo in my classroom (still waiting for Latin ;)) I would use the levels, since they become progressively harder to reach. A student is unlikely to reach level 25 quickly and if he or she does, then it's well deserved.


Hi, DanD8. Thank you very much for your input. I have read on the other threads on different topics that some focus on XP and some on levels for awarding extra credit. My biggest concern is the students being able to circumvent doing the work to blow through the lessons to rack up the XP points, without learning anything and thus defeating the whole purpose of wanting them to use the program! They can run rings around me when it comes to computers, even though I am no slouch.

Do you know anything about the cheats, especially with regard to testing out, XP, or the levels?

Thank you again for your thoughts. I appreciate your response!


Make the extra credit a small amount, so that cheating would not be worth their time. Or maybe don't offer any extra credit. The learning should be its own reward. I know that probably sounds idealistic, but I've seen it work in my classes

I used Memrise with my Latin classes this year. I offered no extra credit, but eventually got 96% of students using it. I showed it to them then, after class, asked three well behaved students to do the course. After a week I called on them and let them demonstrate how much they had learned in a short period of time. I pitched it to my classes as the laziest way to learn, a game. The students who did it immediately saw the fruit of their labor. Memrise has leaderboards for each course and students took pride in being in the top spot, even if only for a week. They felt empowered and it made them want to learn even more.


Hi DanD8. I hear what you are saying. I wish that my students were motivated by learning for learning's sake. Kudos for having such a positive experience with your classes. My high school is the number one public high school in the state; it offers the International Baccalaureate program, which I participate in. I say this, not to brag, but to say it is a VERY high performing school, and my students, for the most part, are invested primarily in their GRADES. It is a private joke with me that the way to get their attention is to say that it will be assessed. I have found that they diminish the significance of almost everything if they will not be graded on it, or if it will not affect their grades. Even their parents are similarly motivated.

It is disappointing sometimes, but true nonetheless. There are MANY benefits and blessings to working in such a high-performing school, but this is one of the few downsides.

Meanwhile, your suggestion of Memrise is interesting. I will definitely have to check it out! I appreciate your input very much!!


Hi, I am not a teacher who uses duolingo. But I would recommend that you use the levels in your point system as opposed to the experience points. With what you teach in class, you can recommend the level or "test out of skills" portion as a refresher before the test that the students can do on their own. And if they completed the test or moved up that level, then you can award EC points. But of course, keep in mind that they can also search up the answers as it is online. So be wary of the amount of EC points you want to award regardless. Otherwise, you can offer a project like "choose a lesson off of Duolingo and write a paragraph in foreign language that includes the vocabulary from that lesson" or somethign to that effect. I hope this helps you with your ideas! Good luck to you and your students!


Hi, Funkytrolline! Thank you for your input. I share your reticence for awarding points that could be attained through shortcuts or cheating. I tend to be stingy with extra credit points in general! I especially like the idea of writing a paragraph in the target language that incorporates vocabulary from the lesson. It seems that would ensure some form of comprehension from the lessons. Thanks again!


I'm not a teacher, but you could add an assignment labled "Duolingo Extra Credit" and if they reach a certain amount of XP, then they would get a 100 on that. You would add this assignment every month so that it won't affect their grades too much.


Hi, Dr.Bimic. Thank you very much for your input. I did do a modified version of that last semester, though not for nearly that many points. As I said in the next post, I am worried about the students and their savviness with computers, in their ability to cheat the program to rack up extra points without actually learning a thing. I will continue to study on this; I appreciate your response!

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