Language learning is all about sticking with it! It takes a long time to build up proficiency in a new language, so it's important to develop good study habits and stay motivated.

How much can you learn by sticking with your Duolingo lessons? A lot! Previous research showed that our Spanish and French courses effectively teach beginner reading and listening skills, so our next project tested how much more beginners could learn if they stuck with their lessons and completed intermediate content, too.

Our new study shows great results for learning: Learners who completed the first sections of our intermediate content had reading and listening scores comparable to 5 semesters of university classes!

  • Who were the learners? We tested 273 learners in our Spanish course for English speakers who hadn't already studied Spanish and who only used Duolingo to learn the language.
  • Where were they in the course? We compared learners at the end of the A2 content with learners who completed half of the B1 content. These levels are from the international language standard that Duolingo uses to design our courses (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR).
  • How did we test them? Learners took an independent language assessment to test their reading and listening abilities, and we compared the scores of learners after the A2 content and halfway through the B1 content.
  • How did they do? After completing the A2 content, learners' scores were comparable to 4 semesters of university language classes, and after half of the B1 content, their scores were comparable to 5 semesters!

Graph entitled "Spanish Listening and Reading Proficiency." On the left, vertical axis are three ACTFL levels: Novice at the bottom, Intermediate in the middle, and Advanced at the top. On the horizontal bottom axis are two bars for listening scores (on the left) and two bars for reading scores (on the right). For each pair of bars, the left bar is for learners at the end of A2 and the right bar is for learners after half of B1 content. The bars for B1 content are higher than the bars for A2, and the reading scores are higher than the listening scores. Across the listening bars, there are also two dotted lines, one for Semester 4 scores and one for Semester 5 scores. The bar for A2 listening reaches the Semester 4 line, and the bar for half of B1 listening is about 75% of the way to the Semester 4 line. There are also semester lines for reading scores. The A2 reading bar is just above the Semester 4 line, and the half of B1 reading bar is well above the Semester 5 line.

These findings provide strong evidence that finishing more course sections leads to significantly higher proficiency in reading and listening! With these results, our learners can be confident that if they keep moving forward in their course, their skills will keep improving. So remember to stick with it! 💪