Why can't my students skip skills for assignments?

This is a common question, and the quick answer is that it is currently not that easy for us to do that. It could happen in the future but it is not currently in development.

The long answer: Duolingo's courses are science-based, personalized, and thoroughly tested. There is an order to the progression of each student, and we base each skill on the words the student was exposed to in the previous lessons. We assume you are familiar with all the previous vocabulary, and that you should have been previously exposed to each word used in a challenge. We highlight new words and introduce them carefully, which makes Duolingo effective and work at just the right level for every student (not too difficult and not too easy).

There is currently no way for us to allow a teacher to unlock a tree for all their students, unfortunately. There is no switch we can flip to smoothly allow all teachers to assign everything out of order. This is not to say we will never offer something like that, but there are significant challenges to consider and resources that need to be invested (as is the case for any new feature). We do take all the feedback we get from teachers into consideration, and want to do our best to continue to do wonders and delight educators from all countries and contexts. We understand that this is important to teachers because most follow either an external or their own curriculum and that Duolingo does not necessarily align with that. But right now a custom tree is not available.

With that in mind, here are four ways people have found to get around that:

  1. If you believe your students have all the necessary skills and vocabulary to work on the skill you want to assign, have them each test out of the previous skills and unlock everything up to that point. This should be much faster than actually doing the lessons one by one. Here is a handy article on how to skip the basics.

  2. Slowly work towards the skills together and have students catch up and do each skill before the assigned skill. In other words, allow appropriate time for each student to catch up to that skill, or reward them for doing so.

  3. Do the desired skill together using the curriculum mode on a projector or shared screen. The teacher has access to sample skills that can be used in a classroom. The teacher can also use their own tree on the projector (assuming they have already reached it themselves) and do full-on lessons together on the screen. The images below show you how to get to the sample lessons on schools.duolingo.com after clicking on your classroom:

    Zoomed out version:
    sample lesson

    Zoomed in version:
    Spanish Curriculum Zoomed In

    Duolingo for Schools Sample Lesson Zoomed In

  4. Allow students to use Duolingo "on the side" as a way to improve their skills no matter where they are in the tree, and independent of the curriculum. This approach to differentiated learning is a great way of encouraging each student to learn to love the new language they are studying! 


Of course, none of these substitute assigning Duolingo trees out of order, we understand that. But we hope the ideas will give you some inspiration for what you can do right now to continue enjoying Duolingo with your students while we wait for the shiny new features we want to see!