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The Fluency Level Is Unhelpful and Annoying

I've studied German for years and know the language well enough that I can make my way around Germany or Austria. Duolingo has been a great help in improving my grammar. My fluency level? 52% It's just frozen there. While I taught myself some basics in French, I've learned a lot more here, but I couldn't manage even conversational French right now. Yet my fluency level was just raised to 53%! This is downright frustrating since I work 3 times as hard at German than French or Spanish. Does anyone else feel their efforts are not being accurately measured?

July 5, 2015


[deactivated user]

    It's meaningless and very inaccurate when one does reverse trees. Eg. I'm "learning" French from Spanish. I speak French pretty well and the actual language I'm trying to acquire is Spanish; I just find the reverse direction more efficient. My French fluency shows as 15%, which is of course a baseless figure and I just ignore it... Of course, Duolingo cannot know if a user is doing forward or reverse trees, so the figure doesn't bother me in any way, I'm just saying that the percentage must be completely inaccurate in many learning scenarios.


    Agreed. I'd like to add that it assumes the only exposure you've ever had to the target language is with Duolingo. Just that is sufficient grounds for it not to be implemented. I hope they remove it soon, I don't like it being shown on my Home page so prominently, being so meaningless.


    I agree. I have been doing German for 9 months (3/4 way down the tree) and it initially stated that my fluency level was 22% (which I thought was reasonable 9although slightly harsh) - this subsequently dropped down to 8% (for no good reason) and has now slowly increased back to the dizzy heights of 11%!


    Hi Aidan60.

    How long did it take you to get to level 25? I've done the tree twice and all lessons are complete but I'm still only on level 15. About three lessons a day need to be re-done. Which only takes me about 5-6 minutes at almost 100% accuracy but I still don't seem to move ahead in levels ... and indeed the 'language fluency' which is a silly marker ... is actually going backwards?!?.

    I got into Duolingo to use as a teaching aid, so I thought I'd best understand how it works first. I'm now finding it really frustrating seeing as I'm actually fluent in the language and I can't imagine how it must be for people who really need it as a tool to learn!


    My German fluency level has been at 13% for weeks! Just now it has leveled up to 14%. : ( I have been working pretty hard. Good luck yodydee with French and good luck with German Raisinnoir. : )


    It seems to be based on the 'fluency' with which you answer the question, i.e. without hovering over words in the prompt before checking your answer. I did some experiments and when I answered a long series of French questions without hovering, my 'fluency' score progressed quite rapidly. I don't believe it is in any sense a measure of fluency in the normal use of the term, i.e. how well someone may speak the language in everyday conversion.


    Yes, I feel the same way. I hadn't been on for a while and even though I had completed the entire tree of French, it was showing somewhere around 50% fluency. As an experiment, I worked on all of the lessons to get them back to "gold" and even with the entire tree in gold, it has 62% fluent listed. Makes no sense whatsoever. I am highly fluent and not sure what is required to get 100%. They should not put up a feature like this without explanation; it will do more to discourage new learners than anything else IMHO.


    Rasinnoir, my Spanish is my weakest language of the 3 I'm doing on duolingo, but my fluency is way higher in Spanish (according to duolingo) than it is in German. I can read books in German, and communicate with people, whereas with Spanish I'm still learning.

    It's definitely got to do with how much time you spend doing duolingo exercises. So just ignore it and breathe. It would probably give you 0% for English because you're not doing an English tree! I wish they would remove the %age.


    Gourmekat, we seem to have similar experiences. I just started studying Spanish here at Duolingo last fall. But I'm getting a 47% Fl rating which is definitely not merited! Not to offend anyone, but I really don't like the language; I'm taking it out of practicality, Spanish has become so widely spoken. My true love is of German which I can speak, read and write. I do ignore it, but it's so inaccurate and so in your face. I'm not letting it distract me because I ignore it. But I'd be happy if it were removed.


    I like it, although it doesn't seem many other people do! I am around the halfway point in my tree and it keeps going up, sometimes when i learn a new skill, sometimes when i get better at one i have done before. So this encourages me. I can imagine when it stops moving that it will annoy me. I know you can not reach 100%, but it would be nice to know what the highest you can get is so i can aim for that.


    The fluency measurement is wrong. Just ignore it.

    [deactivated user]

      BTW, can the fluency percentage go backwards? Eg. if someone doesn't do lessons for a few weeks?


      I'm glad to know that others find it meaningless. I just started the other day. I am, IRL, fluently bilingual in french, so I took the advanced placement test and started in level 9. But even that is too easy. After I had done a few lessons, and watched my fluency get up to 36%, I realized there was a 'test out' option for the lessons. So I've been working my way through each lesson doing the 'test out' option -- it gives me a little bit of review for some topics that I might slip up on, but I'm not stuck doing hundreds of boringly easy exercises.

      What I've noticed, though, is that when I do the 'test out' test, my fluency does NOT go up! I've tested out of dozens of lessons and still was stuck at 36%. I did a couple of lessons 'properly' just as an experiment -- and it went up to 37%.

      Very frustrating that demonstrating that I'm already fluent in various areas does nothing to my fluency score.


      I just noticed my German Fluency level was REDUCED to 51%! This, as I am closing in on Level 21. In a sense it's laughable, but newer Duolingoists probably think it's an accurate measure of how they're doing. Whether it's a rogue robot or something else, I'm calling for it to come down as meaningless!


      Why get annoyed and frustrated? It's just a bit of fluff, and at beginner level it is quite fun to watch the level go up.


      I'm with you you. It's utterly frustrating. I'm fluent in German, and have used Duolingo to brush up grammar in French, Spanish and German. It takes me on average 1-2 minutes to do each lesson with nearly 100% accuracy at speed. German is my strongest foreign language - I studied at University, and worked in Germany for 5 years and still use it on a daily basis. YET my German Tree which has been finished (twice) is behind my French and Spanish, which I've not even finished. Where is the logic in this???

      My German tree is consistently gold, and yet I'm actually going backwards (I got up to 51% and now it's dropped to 48%!!!).

      Not only that the tests are so utterly basic as to be useless. And when the lessons on the tree need to be done again they don't appear to be teaching anything new.

      I only got into this to encourage my daughter who I am teaching four languages to.

      But this is simply demotivating in an otherwise great tool.

      DUOLINGO - are you listening !


      They are not being accurately measured. I am fully fluent native German class. I served it the Berlin Brigade from June 86 to June 88 can speak English and German equally well. Have been learning German 31 years. I think, if a person can't learn German after 31 years he or she is mentally impaired. They want to pretend you have to go to the University, to learn German.

      Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.