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Some thoughts on certificate test

I've just taken a French test and got a certificate. It was fun to test myself, but I have a few comments and suggestions for certificate test.

The test does not give you any information except the final score:

  • You don't even know if your answers are right or wrong.

  • We all know there are mistakes on Duolingo and some valid answers are not accepted - why not have a Report function in the test, too? Besides, it would be nice to know if you we really wrong or you just hit an answer that is not in the database.

  • Why not show the number of correct answers vs total number of questions in the result? Perhaps this is not necessary in the certificate itself, but in the "Congratulations" message that would be cool. Any other statistics would also be appreciated, like "your vocabulary is good, but you have to work on Past tense", etc.

Could there be some progress indicator? It is a little frustrating when you have no idea how long you still have to work on the test or how many questions are left.

It would be nice to have a note in the stream, like "olimo passed the French test with the score of..."

October 11, 2013



When I had taken an Italian test it felt a bit uncomfortable because we are so used to getting instant feedback. In my opinion when we are doing a test for a certificate it should be like that, we shouldn't get instant feedback. (edit: Perhaps even shortcuts could be like that, to make them a bit more difficult...)

Instead of showing us the solution after each question it would be great if they implemented the Review option from hackathon. So when we are finished with the test we can review all our answers. http://blog.duolingo.com/post/62723181502/duolingos-inaugural-hackathon

I totally agree a progress indicator would be great.

Some people don't want their scores to be public so Duolingo team could make a "publish" option for users that want to have their score visible to everyone.


I think it's a shame you cannot see people's certificates when you go on their profile. If you did well, you should be able to brag about it :-)


True.. well not the bragging part, but see that the user has successfully done the test. The user already has the Dou owl at the bottom of the completed tree. Why not give the owl a rolled up parchment or a graduation hat?


I like the bragging part ;-)


D'accord. I too just did a test myself, and felt that if we got instant corrections, or at least at the end of the test it would help us to evaluate ourselves better.


> "your vocabulary is good, but you have to work on Past tense", etc.

If Duo can make that kind of feedback, why limit it on tests? Why not all exercises?


I am really curious how progress in DuoLingo compares to a typical semester of college coursework or CEFR language proficiency levels. Could we have some sort of indication of that with our scores?


Thanks for the link - it was very interesting to read this report!


Wow! That was an interesting report! Have a lingot.


I scored 5.00/5.0 on my Spanish test, why can't I brag about it on my profile? :( Just kidding. Anyway, I agree that there should definitely be some kind of feedback, at least to let you know what are your weak sides... that'd be so helpful


I would love to see every trophy or passes exam / certificate as a small icon next to your username so that everybody can see it after directly entering your profile.


Good to know. I've been considering taking the French ( and maybe German?) test but if there is no feedback and just a score, I don't see the point. I especially agree with your point about statistics. I would want to come away knowing what areas I need to work on. A note in the stream would make sense, and I would have no problem with my scores being made public, good or bad.


I accidentally took a German test (which I had just started learning) instead of an Italian test (which I have been learning for a while) so I got myself more lingots and took the Italian test. The embarrassing thing is that I actually scored better on the German one!


Maybe I'll try the German test after all!


Hi Olimo,

These are good questions. The certificate test is currently in beta and we just started exploring this space. So what you see is work in progress.

The goal of the certificate test is to figure out your language level as accurately as possible (we're not trying to teach with the certificate tests). There is a chance that giving feedback on answers counter-acts this goal (by biasing you in one or the other direction). That's why we currently don't give feedback.

I like the stream message as an option (because you may not want to post to the stream if you get a low score :)).

I hope that makes sense.



What about giving an overview of the user's answers after the test is completed? This won't bias anything and the user will have a chance to know his/her weaknesses or research the topics he/she does not remember well. I believe the questions are not always the same in a test as it seems they are taken from the lessons (so there are a lot of other questions left for future tests).


yes, that's something to consider.


I tried a test once... half of the questions had words I'd never even seen before! :P


It would be nice to just be tested on just the stuff I have learned. Could a "pre-test" option be provided that just tests you on the levels you have passed? I'd like to know where I am weakest.


I guess "Practice lessons" button fits your goal ;-)


I hadn't thought of them that way. Gracias olimo. :)


I've just written a similar comment (Under the stream!!) "Certificates" again, and agree with every word you say.


Is the test a certain number of questions long? Or is it time-based? Or is it flexible depending on how well you're doing or what level you're at? I took the Spanish test for the third time today, and it seemed to take so-o-o much longer this time. Maybe because I skipped fewer questions? ;)


I have no idea really, sorry. There was no progress indicator, and I didn't count the questions manually


olimo Hi!! can i ask you how i get the certificate let's say i pass the exams in dutch then what.......do you know ??


Hi Kostas! I'm not sure I understand your question. This post is about a Duolingo virtial certificate.

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