A TOEFL style English test for $20?

Duolingo to offer standardized English language tests similar to TOEFL

Do you want to take a TOEFL style English test for $20?

Duolingo plan to offer standardized English language tests through its translation game app. From 13 May, Android device users will be able to access a 20 minute English language proficiency test by using the Duolingo app. The Duolingo English test is similar to the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service) in the USA.
The Duolingo English test will provide a verified score (by Duolingo), at the moment it is not clear if Duolingo English test scores will be accepted by college admissions or valid for visa applications.

The TOEFL test is normally administered in authorized test centers with strict rules and time limits. The integrity of TOEFL scores is therefore protected, but it also increases costs. The cost of taking the TOEFL test can be hundreds of dollars including travel to an authorized TOEFL test center.

Duolingo’s app-based standardized English test would be much more convenient and will probably improve access to higher educational opportunities, especially for students in developing countries.

Will students be able to cheat on the Duolingo English test?

This is an important question, as there will be no proctors or authorized test centers involved in the test-taking process. Duolingo say that onboard cameras and microphones which modern smartphones have are the answer to any potential cheating problems.

Not only will all the audio and video be recorded by the front-facing camera throughout the test, but test takers will be required to provide a 360-degree panoramic view of wherever they are taking the test, therefore proving that nobody else is there helping them with the test. The audio and video from the test will be analyzed by experts at Duolingo for any evidence of cheating.

For universities and colleges to accept Duolingo’s English test scores in the future, the possibility of cheating will realistically need to almost zero. There is also the question of whether or not independent authorities will be permitted to validate the fairness and accuracy of the test. It is anticipated that Duolingo test scores will correlate directly with current TOEFL scores.