We launched the Duolingo English Test in 2016 with a mission to use technology to lower barriers to higher education for students everywhere. As we reflect on our five year journey, we are proud that our original mission endures. Delivering a secure assessment any time, anywhere in the world for $49, was once a North Star goal; today, with hundreds of thousands of test takers and over 3,000 accepting institutions, it's clear the Duolingo English Test has made an impact on access to higher education. We lead the testing industry in implementing technology that is student-centered and provides more timely results for institutions—all while remaining reliable and secure.
Seeking education in times of uncertainty
With a 2,000% year-over-year increase in test takers in 2020, a significant number of international students took the Duolingo English Test. By being fully operational throughout the ongoing pandemic, we were able to support students who boldly sought education even during times of uncertainty. Duolingo English Test takers hail from 207 countries*, speak 144 distinct first languages, and all certified their English proficiency from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Additionally, Duolingo’s Access Program provided over 10,000 test fee waivers to organizations and institutions that work with high-achieving, low-income students around the world. We are the only testing organization to offer international student fee waivers for high-stakes admissions tests.
To date, the destinations Duolingo English Test takers share results to the most are universities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Top 6 result-sharing countries to all program types
Trends among Duolingo English Test takers are reflective of broader movements observed in international enrollment. India is especially well represented among students sharing Duolingo English Test results. Analogously, there has been an increase in applications from India to North America this past admissions cycle. All the while, China doesn't occupy the top spot for the U.S. and Canada, which tracks with reports that numbers of Chinese students studying abroad are holding steady or decreasing.
Domestically based international students emerged as a top source of scores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., suggesting pipelines for international students are not only based abroad.
Top 6 result-sharing countries to undergraduate programs
Top 6 result-sharing countries to graduate programs
Top 6 result-sharing countries to U.S. community colleges
Test taker demographics varied depending on whether the Duolingo English Test was being taken for undergraduate, graduate, or community college study, but what is consistent across these three groups is global representation. For the U.S. alone, the top regions where we see test takers applying from are Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. Countries like Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, not regulars on the top lists of leading countries of origin for students enrolling in the U.S., debut as top sharing countries, a signal there is a significant number of students seeking international higher education opportunities.
From Bangladesh to Brazil, the distribution and diversity of geographic representation is a manifestation of Duolingo’s mission. Students from across the world are benefitting from the accessibility of the Duolingo English Test.
Top 10 U.S. states to receive test shares
Within the U.S., California and New York are the most popular states to receive Duolingo English Test results. But our test takers are not entirely coastal in their preferences. Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Arizona are within the top ten destinations by test shares. The variety of our test taker geographic locations is mirrored in their interests in attending universities across the U.S.
As the Duolingo English Test grows in popularity and usage, we continue to draw from the support and inspiration from our thousands of accepting institutions, our network of counselors who span the globe, and of course the students who, together, we serve.