Duolingo English Test: Computer Adaptive Testing

Duolingo English Test uses a different testing methodology compared to other English exams. Instead, of using the same or similar standardized questions for all candidates, the test’s difficulty changes based on each candidate’s proficiency level. This system is called Computer Adaptive Testing.

In this post, we’ll look at the adaptive testing system’s nature, as well as its benefits and how it revolutionizes English Language Proficiency testing.

What is a Computer Adaptive Test?

An algorithm controls how a test is presented in computerized adaptive testing. It is programmed into a software platform that selects objects and scores examinees using IRT’s machine-learning technique. The algorithm repeats itself till the test is finished.

Taking this in the context of the Duolingo English Test, it is a graded section. This component assesses your ability to read, write, talk, and listen. 

The Adaptive Test portion of the Duolingo English Test 2022 is granted 45 minutes to applicants. Each component of the exam, including the Adaptive Section, has its own criteria allotted by the test provider.

 Make sure to test your device’s speaker and microphone to ensure that they are functioning in order before answering questions. In addition, you must also observe all of the Duolingo English Test’s rules and regulations, or you risk being disqualified.

What are the Advantages of Using Computer Adaptive Testing in Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Exam is the first and only high-stakes test in the world to leverage AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning from start to finish. They utilize these technologies in particular to:

  1. Automate the creation of thousands of test pieces;
  2. Assess the linguistic ability necessary for each exam item — specifically, by automatically aligning them to the CEFR competence levels;
  3. Adaptively administer items for each exam, resulting in a shorter and more secure test;
  4. Automatically evaluate test-taker responses, which might be complicated and aren’t just multiple-choice questions;
  5. Gather all of this information into a final test score; and
  6. Before test results are validated and published, assist in doing the human review and proctoring step more reliably and efficiently.

English Duolingo Test results are also very dependable, which means they are constant across test questions and retakes, which is critical for any high-stakes exam. Furthermore, since it employs AI to produce questions for a computer-adaptive exam, 

(1) there is a wide pool of items from which to choose, and 

(2) no two test administrations are the same

This is critical for test security, and the DET demonstrates that efficiently. On average, you would have to take the exam 1,000 times before encountering the identical test item.

  • The questions change in response to the answers you provide. Throughout the test, the difficulty is arranged to alter dynamically.
  • Because the questions are created automatically by Duolingo’s grading system, the algorithm selects from a broad pool of questions, reducing the likelihood of a question being repeated. According to Duolingo, just one out of every thousand examinations will include a copied question, ensuring that each test taker gets a unique experience.
  • The amount of questions is neither restricted nor specified, even though the exam lasts an hour. The test will end when the grading machine is satisfied with the candidate’s score.
  • Duolingo is now the only exam that has a single part with a variety of graded questions. To put it another way, distinct questions will be asked one after the other, regardless of their nature or area.

What is the DET Exam Format?

The Duolingo English Test is a one-hour online test that evaluates a candidate’s overall English language abilities, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The questions are designed to test a person’s ability to think critically and adjust to new situations.

Unlike previous English Proficiency Tests, the Duolingo English Test is done in one sitting. The 60-minute examination consists of two parts: an adaptive exam and a video interview. The first 45 minutes are followed by a ten-minute extension in the second segment. The first five minutes of the exam are allocated to an introduction portion in which applicants are walked through the rapid setup of the test, and the regulations and requirements are discussed.

The Duolingo English Test varies from previous English Language exams taken at testing centers in terms of exam structure. Because the Duolingo English Test is completed at home, cutting-edge technology like Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is employed to ensure the test’s accuracy.

The essential thing is to make sure that all of the rules are followed. In terms of the actual exam, if your fluency and knowledge are excellent, you should do well. Before exiting the test app, be sure the test has been uploaded.

English Language Proficiency TestDuolingo English Test
Exam Sections2 (Graded and UngradedSpeaking/Writing Sample)
Type of QuestionsObjective and Descriptive
Exam Length60 minutesExam Introduction: 5 minutesGraded Adaptive Test: 45 minutesUngraded Video and Writing Sample: 10 minutes

What are the Different Duolingo English Test Graded Adaptive Section Question Types

The Duolingo English Exam is an adaptive computer test, which means that the question order and complexity vary depending on the test taker and test session. The exam differs from previous tests you may have taken due to its adaptive nature.

Here’s a table that summarizes the key features of each question type in the Duolingo graded section:

Question TypeSub-scoresTime LimitFrequency in the Test
Read and CompleteLiteracy, Comprehension3 mins3 to 7
Read and SelectLiteracy, Comprehension1 min3 to 7
Listen and SelectComprehension, Conversation1.5 min3 to 7
Listen and TypeComprehension, Conversation1 min3 to 7
Read AloudComprehension, Conversation20 secs3 to 7
Writing About the PhotoProduction, Literacy1 min3
Speak About the PhotoProduction, Conversation0.5 – 1.5 mins1
Read, Then WriteProduction, Literacy5 mins1
Read, Then SpeakConversation, Production0.5 – 1.5 mins2
Listen, Then SpeakConversation, Production0.5 – 1.5 mins1

How Adaptive System Revolutionizes the Testing Process?

These high criteria preclude you from taking traditional high-stakes assessments.

Fortunately, new assessment technology has rendered many of these outdated. Incorporating three key principles: each test taker is unique, testing environments must be inclusive, and opportunities for growth are limitless.

The Duolingo English Test aims to revolutionize the assessment process by adhering to three essential principles: each test taker is unique, testing settings must be inclusive, and there are unlimited chances for development.

  • Each Test Taker is Unique: Traditional English proficiency examinations are meant to be performed in person at a testing facility and run for around three hours with restricted breaks. The form of administration and strict time constraints present difficulties here: a test taker suffering from chronic pain may find it difficult to get to and from their test session or to keep focus for many hours. As a result, even if they have excellent English language abilities, they may struggle on the test.
  • Testing Settings Must be Inclusive: Duolingo English Test is characterized as construct-irrelevant variance: extra skills or talents being examined that have nothing to do with the test. A good test reduces construct-irrelevant variance to the minimum. The construct-irrelevant variance may be reduced by making a test shorter. The Duolingo English Test does this by using computer adaptive testing (CAT), which allows the exam to choose questions depending on your previous responses and ability level, guaranteeing that the test is neither too easy nor too challenging. As a result, a shorter test may be just as thorough and reliable as a longer one. The barrier to continuous focus is lessened by employing CAT technology, but the abilities being examined remain the same.
  • Unlimited Chances for Development: Computer-based assessments offer many significant benefits over conventional paper-based tests when it comes to being inclusive. For starters, they’re made to work with assistive technologies like electronic braille readers for visually impaired test takers. This implies that those who have access to computer-assisted technology at work or school may use it to access exams.

However, inclusive testing encompasses more than just assistive technology; the design of a test may also influence its accessibility. The Duolingo English Test features a simple interface with little scrolling and big print to provide a pleasant experience for you; its design minimizes obstacles for those who suffer from visual stress or who have physical challenges that limit their working capabilities. 

How to Prepare for the DET Adaptive Graded Section?

This component of the Duolingo English exam combines elements from all four sections, as well as a wide range of question styles. The Duolingo app’s adaptive exam preparation suggestions include tactics for coping with various sorts of questions:

  • Read and Complete: Begin by reading the sentence, then go on to the letters that are missing. It will be simpler to fill in the missing word or letter after you have a general understanding of the material.
  • Read and Select: In this area, you must have faith in your ability to communicate in English. Some questions may include more than one English word, and some words may seem to be authentic but have one or two letters changed. You may make modifications to the words by choosing or deselecting them.
  • Listen and Select: You must concentrate on the syllables of the word to comprehend the distinctions, similar to the previous one. Before moving on to the next question, it’s also a good idea to double-check the wording. You will be able to improve their abilities by using Duolingo’s English exam practice.
  • Listen and Type: As you respond to any inquiry, jot down the statement you hear once. Then, when you hear it a second and third time, make changes.
  • Read Aloud: For this question type, Duolingo English exam prep involves reading a variety of books, papers, periodicals, journals, and other materials. Examine each phrase for punctuation and speak appropriately.
  • Write about the Photo: It is recommended that you go above and above and write more than one phrase. Also, before moving on to the next Duolingo question, double-check your grammar and spelling.
  • Speak about the Photo: It is recommended that you use the 20 seconds given for preparation to create your spoken answer. You should describe the image as though they were describing it to a blind person in front of them, according to Duolingo. If you hesitate, don’t stop talking; just keep going.
  • Read and Write: In this part, you are free to write as much as you like. Before pressing the ‘Next’ button, double-check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You may obtain a sense of the sort of responses to writing by going through a few of the Duolingo English exam sample questions and answers. You must also practice writing skills from various Duolingo preparatory materials.
  • Read, Then Speak: You must read and speak with confidence and consistency. While speaking, they must concentrate on pronunciation. You may improve your speaking abilities by practicing using Duolingo practice test papers regularly.
  • Listen and Speak: Like the previous one, you must have a good understanding of the question’s requirements. You must talk for a total of 30 seconds.

Final Thoughts

Due to its computer-adaptive delivery, you can now concentrate on what matters most: your English ability, anytime and whenever you want to take the test.

Having this CAT, it is now considerably simpler for organizations to construct inclusive assessments with the recent development of digital-first testing. Everyone needs a fair opportunity to exhibit their language abilities, and no one should be barred from a test if they have the potential to excel.

Additional FAQs

Is the DET a Secure Test?

Both test takers and institutions need trustworthy and secure test results, which Duolingo understands. As a result, the integrity of the Duolingo English Test takes precedence.

Because the Duolingo English Test is given in such a unique fashion, it needs novel security methods. As a consequence, the Duolingo English Test incorporates many rigorous security features to ensure that the results are reliable:

  • Has a secured design
  • Employs remote proctoring
  • Uses digital forensics
  • Identify verifications process
  • Test lockdown if cheating is detected
  • Review of the video sample

Is the DET a Reliable Language Proficiency Test?

One of the most significant qualities of all tests in general, and language exams in particular, is their reliability. An unreliable test is useless.

Duolingo English Test Scores are now similar to TOEFL and IELTS scores, making them dependable and accurate. More importantly, the results are based on the CEFR, which is an internationally acknowledged standard for determining a person’s language competence.

There have also been previous studies that may corroborate its validity. When it comes to accuracy, any English Language Proficiency exams may provide accurate results provided all of the exam criteria are satisfied.

Can DET be a Substitute for IELTS and TOEFL?

As of the moment, DET is one of the most considered alternatives to traditional tests as this can be taken only. In addition, it is widely recognized since it is easy to use, convenient, and thorough. For example, Illinois Graduate College now recognizes Duolingo English Test scores for test results taken between February 2020 and August 2021 as a substitute to IELTS and TOEFL for evidence of English language competency with a minimum score of 105 for exams done between February 2020 and August 2021.

However, certain Graduate Colleges may demand the applicant with a 105-124 to take extra English exams and engage in a virtual interview before making an admission decision.

Other variables such as GPA, college application, letters of reference, transcripts, and interviews are all taken into account when deciding on acceptance. One of them is the English language competence test. 

How Will Duolingo Know If I Breach One of the Rules?

The program may begin recording your screen as soon as you begin the test. It also uses detection techniques to detect when you close the test browser or go to a new tab. A remote proctor will analyze all of these aspects once you complete the test. If you breach a rule during the exam session, the remote proctor will immediately invalidate your test result.

As stated in DET Rules and Requirements, they have the right not to verify your result or even cancel any previous certification without issuing a refund. Depending on the severity of the infringement, test takers may be permanently prevented from taking the Duolingo English Test.