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Duolingo is so successful that both Apple and Google awarded the app with app of 2013 titles. The language learning software is the result of the work two Carnegie Mellon University affiliates, Luis von Ahn, professor of computer science at CMU and Severin Hacker, whose Phd diploma was awarded this year by the same university. Now, together with CMU, Duolingo will offer a Test Center for Android users. Yes, a language proficiency test will be available on your smartphone. The standardized tests will be proctored through the front facing smartphone camera, to prevent cheating. A real person will supervise you while you take the test, if any thought come to mind.
The Duolingo Test Center is great news for a couple of reasons. Right now, the official standardized English tests have a couple of disadvantages. Tests like TOEFL or IELTS have to be taken in accepted locations, meaning that test takers will have to travel. This raises the total costs, because of rent, equipment and personnel expenditures. So besides paying for a trip to the test center, test takers have to cover the costs maintenance costs.
But ironically, language testing might become obsolete if translation software such as Skype Translator will become a reality.
Duolingo Test Center will cost only $20 and for the moment is free of charge
Because the test will be taken on your smartphone, the Duolingo Test Center will be much cheaper. While a TOEFL test costs around $250, the Duolingo Test Center will cost only $20. The app is offered for free at the moment for Android and Windows platforms. The iOS version will come in the fall.
Duolingo Test Center will probably be adopted by a wide range of institutions in the near future. Duolingo lures the institution to adopt this type of testing with the strong argument that they will now have much easier access to top applicants from all over the world. As in any program development, the faster institutions adopt the new language test, the better for everyone, as the product is refined.
Because it is a computer-adaptive test, the Duolingo Test takes about 20 minute to complete, a much lower amount of needed time than TOEFL. You can download the app from Duolingo Test Center page.
Academic institutions are among the top targets of the Duolingo Test Center. Duolingo claims that over 30 million job seekers and students per year have to prove their language skills as a part of job and school applications.