If you use Duolingo you will on occasion get a Fluency Estimate. I’ve talked with people and read forums online and there is a lot of mystery on how it is calculated. I know of people that got 50% or more fluency that were nowhere near that level. Conversely, I know people near fluent that had lower scores. I have no clue how it is calculated or if it is an accurate measure.
What I am providing in this post is my data for other Duolingo users to look at. Maybe it will help them make sense of their own progression.
I began Duolingo on May 5, 2015, and have been using it almost every day. On two days when I was driving all day, I used the streak freeze feature. In early December 2015, Duolingo robbed me of my streak. (Boring story that I won’t tell). Currently, I am at a streak of 393 days. My level is 21 at 18,644 points.
My first fluency estimate came in at 6% on September 5, 2015, which was 143 days after starting. It may have been a new feature then, so I’m not sure if it really took me that many days to reach 6%.
Duolingo Fluency in Spanish (September 5, 2015 – December 23, 2016)
NOTE: Whenever I’ve earned a new milestone fluency level, Duolingo will immediately drop me back down 1-3%. Then I need to re-earn the levels again and ultimately reach a higher fluency score. I find this discouraging, but at least be aware they are doing this.
UPDATE April 12, 2017: Since I posted this my account has been capped between a range of 22-25% fluency, despite never missing a day and blasting through most lessons without missing a single question.
UPDATE April 19, 2017: What happened today? My fluency which was frozen in the 22-25% spiked to 36%! I saw another user on Instagram that jumped 12% today with the Swedish program.
Duolingo is a Great Tool to Start
Every morning I do my Memrise and Duolingo lessons. Today I discovered that Duolingo is now showing ads when you complete a lesson. The worst part about the display of the ad is they are playing the same sound I would hear whenever I achieved a new higher Fluency Level. They’ve hijacked my Pavlovian queue. Not cool.
UPDATE April 19, 2017: They removed the sound and replaced it with a pause that forces you to look at the ad.
Today I decided to quit Duolingo when I hit my 400-day streak next week. I would have paid for an ad-free version, but now I’m just going to walk away. It was a great tool to get started, but Memrise is a far superior learning tool, especially at this stage. Duolingo is good for beginners, but the marginal benefits decrease over time.
If I ever decide to pick up a different language I’ll likely do a jump start of 200 days or so with Duolingo, but not as much as I did for Spanish. Until then, I’ll be over on Memrise. Follow me here if you join.
UPDATE: I’ve decided not to quit as the new chatbots are providing value.