Duolingo Test Center

HEDLINE: Duolingo Test Center brings Learners a $20 Version of the TOEFL

As announced earlier this year, Duolingo has officially launched its Duolingo Test Center this week. The first test learners can take via the platform is an English test. For the moment the test is free, but will it eventually cost $20.

The test can be taken via an Android device or the Google Chrome browser and takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Key Takeaway

With $20 the Duolingo certification is significantly lower priced than current options like the TOEFL for instance which comes at a price of around $250. On top of that users can use the Duolingo app to learn and practice their language skills for free.

In order to compete eye to eye with established standardized language certifications like the TOEFL or the newly launched Pearson GSE, Duolingo needs to make sure that its tests are as reliable and widely accepted.

The Duolingo test takes about 20 minutes to complete and can be taken on a mobile device or a web browser. The entire test is remotely proctored by a real human via webcam. Duolingo claims that its environment is less prone to exam fraud as all other activity that takes place on the phone is also tracked.

ETS Global, the company behind the TOEFL and TOEIC exams, just got itself into trouble due to exam fraud taking place in some of its partners’ testing centers, leading to a suspension of all English tests done through ETS Global in the UK.

A study from May 2014 conducted by the University of Pittsburgh found that the scores of the Duolingo English Test are substantially correlated with the TOEFL iBT, and Carnegie Mellon University is currently testing the Duolingo Test Center in order to eventually accept the certificate for applications.

Moreover, industry leaders like oDesk and LinkedIn will display the test scores in their user profiles and Google is also considering to accept Duolingo test scores in job applications. The launch of Duolingo on Android and Google Chrome further underlines Google’s interest in the space. And although there is no financial involvement from Google according to Fast Company, Google has supported the company with API integration and it will feature Duolingo’s certification exams in promotional materials. Duolingo is also working with the government of Costa Rica to distribute its exam across schools reports TechCrunch.

Duolingo, which just turned two last month, is one of the fastest growing language learning startups to date. In June it surpassed 30 million users, adding 20 million new users in one year. With the launch of its apps in five Asian markets, this number is poised to grow significantly again. For comparison busuu, the current leader in the space, has over 45 million users.

In February Duolingo announced a $20 million Series C led by Kleiner Perkins with participation of existing investors Union Square Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, bringing its total funding raised to $38.3 million.

Earlier this month Pearson announced the launch of its Global Scale of English which has been in development for 25 years and aims to become a globally recognised standard in English, offering one precise, numeric, universal scale for businesses, governments and academic institutions.


Further Reading

  • Why Duolingo (And Google) Are Entering The Standardized Test Game | Fast Company
  • Duolingo Launches Its Certification Program To Take On TOEFL | TechCrunch
  • Duolingo launches a test to certify foreign language fluency on a smartphone | GigaOm
  • Duolingo launches Test Center, a $20 alternative to standardized language exams | The Next Web
  • Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Will Partner With Duolingo To Evaluate English Language Certification Test | CMU
  • Duolingo brings free English language learning to 5 new Asian markets | Tech in Asia

Related Links

  • Will Pearson take the English Certification Crown from ETS? | EDUKWEST
  • HEDLINE: Duolingo raises $20 million Series C | EDUKWEST
  • HEDLINE: ETS Global suspended from offering English Tests amid Fraud Investigation | EDUKWEST Europe


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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.