2023 was another busy year for the DET, as we continued to harness the latest tech to deliver the most modern, convenient testing experience to people around the world! How did we do it? We were hoping you’d ask!

We supported test takers worldwide

Year after year, we’re seeing more people taking the Duolingo English Test in more places, suggesting continued demand for convenient, reliable, and secure English testing that people can actually afford. And we’re happy to provide exactly that! 

Last year test takers certified their English in over 225 countries and regions around the world. 2023 was the first year of full reopening in China, where the DET served test takers in over 950 cities and counties!

But for the second year in a row, India saw the highest volume of test takers, most of whom plan to pursue graduate degrees, with business, computer science and math, and engineering among the most popular subjects. In 2023, students in India applied to programs in over 83 countries, up 9% from last year.  

Demand is high for international study, and test takers have plenty of options—the DET is now accepted by more than 4,900 academic programs, including the top 25 highest-enrolling universities for international students in the US!

Anika, a DET test taker

We led innovation in testing

We’ve been using AI from the start to make the DET do everything a traditional in-person, paper-based test can do, but in half the time, and less than half the cost. In 2023, we upped our game, gaining exclusive early access to GPT-4, and introducing our latest, interactive test item, which simulates a real-time conversation with one of the Duolingo characters!

The DET's newest interactive test item puts you in conversation with our Duolingo characters

We want tests to be better for everyone, and we’re eager to see the testing industry as a whole strive to further improve access and experience while maintaining a high standard. Last year our team of assessment scientists and engineers published groundbreaking work on everything from score concordance to ensuring fairness of human and AI-generated test items to evaluating complex sources of measurement bias, to name a few!

We used AI for good

At Duolingo, making sure our products are delightful is a priority, But it’s about more than a delightful experience — by using AI to optimize our test for access, we are disrupting a decades old testing system that is inaccessible for millions of people. 

As we lead the way in AI-driven test development, we’re also helping to develop industry best practices for working in this rapidly-developing area. In 2023 we used AI in countless ways to improve the test taker experience, including making our free practice test available on mobile, and fine tuning its scoring algorithm to more accurately predict scores. At the same time, we published the first Responsible AI standards for Assessment, which we hope will serve as best practices for ensuring accountability, transparency, fairness, privacy, and security in testing.

The DET's free practice test, now available on mobile!

We stayed true to our mission

In line with our commitment to improving access to quality education for all, we proudly endorsed the UNHCR's 15by30 pledge at their Global Refugee Forum in December. This ambitious goal seeks to increase refugee enrollment in higher education to 15% by 2030—currently it stands at only 7%. This commitment comes at a time when only 7% of refugees worldwide are able to access higher education.

To help realize this goal, we partnered with the UNHCR to launch the Duolingo University Access Program, which aims to create improved pathways to higher education for refugee students by offering one-on-one guidance and assistance with the university and financial aid application processes, as well as immigration and visa processes. We recently selected a second cohort of refugee students for this program, who have already begun the process of exploring their best-fit university pathways for Fall 2024 enrollment!

Jessy, a DET test taker and Duolingo University Access Scholar

We also partnered with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), a non-profit organization that helps refugees find jobs and immigrate to other countries.They’re aiming to help place 15,000 doctors, engineers, and other skilled refugees over the next five years, and we’ve committed to providing free Duolingo English Tests for every one of them.

Onward and upward!

As we reflect on 2023, we recognize that our journey is far from over. The road ahead is paved with opportunities to continue improving access, enhancing the testing experience, and making a positive impact on education worldwide. Together, we'll shape a future where quality education knows no boundaries, and every individual has the chance to achieve their dreams! Happy new year!