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Ireland: Duolingo permanently offered for visas

Duolingo’s English Test has been made a permanent offering as a current minimum English language standard for Irish study visas.

Some 96 institutions across Ireland currently accept Duolingo's English language test. Photo: iStock

The decision was predominantly bolstered by the overwhelming move to online testing as a result of the Covid pandemic.

It comes after the language learning app’s test was put on the list as a temporary measure 18 months ago.

The test requires takers to obtain a minimum score of 55 for a second level and foundation level or preparatory English course, while 75 is the minimum score for all other courses.

“We’re thrilled Ireland is recognising the Duolingo English Test at parity with other tests,” Duolingo research communications specialist Sophie Wodzak told The PIE News.

The decision was predominantly bolstered by the overwhelming move to online testing as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Traditional English language exams accepted in Ireland include IELTS, TOEFL among 12 others, but due to the pandemic the needs of students have changed.

“There are already over 3,500 programs that accept the Duolingo English Test – that number continues to increase because more and more universities, countries, and companies are finding that accessibility is critical for achieving their goals, but don’t want to sacrifice security or test validity,” Wodzak said.

“Already, test takers come from more than 12,000 cities across the world. We use computer adaptive testing to allow test takers to get a valid and reliable English proficiency score from home in under an hour,”said  Wodzak.

“Whenever the Duolingo English Test can be used to access immigration or higher education pathways, we view it as an extension of our mission of lowering barriers.

“The Duolingo English Test is being used by higher education institutions in issuing student visas across the world. ELTs can be a barrier to both students and migration visa applicants, so we’re actively working with governments and the higher education sector to lower those barriers,” Wodzak added.

“ELTs can be a barrier to both students and migration visa applicants”

“We had been asked for a number of years would we accept the Duolingo, and we always said no because we had all of these very well tested programs in place,” director of UL Global at the University of Limerick in Ireland, Josephine Page, previously said.

The University of Limerick, however, then made the decision not just to accept the test, but also to lobby for its presence on the list – and permanent inclusion.

“We looked at how the students were doing in the last academic year and they did really well,” Page said.

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