The MU Faculty Council voted to implement a pilot program of the Duolingo English Test during its meeting Thursday.

The Duolingo test would function as an acceptable alternative to the traditionally-accepted Test of English as a Foreign Language used to test English proficiency for international students at MU.

The online-administered test offers a few advantages to students including a lower cost and shorter assessment time. The TOEFL assessment time is four hours, whereas the Duolingo test is about one hour.

Ryan Griffin, director of international admissions, said this test would allow MU to be competitive in drawing international admissions. Griffin noted that international students often apply to multiple universities that compete with MU. 

“We are seeing a number of our peers that are beginning to accept this test, in particular, midwest public research universities like Mizzou,” Griffin said.

The proposal presented to the council listed Iowa State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Indiana and a few others as institutions accepting the Duolingo English Test. 

MU COVID-19 dashboard draws criticism

During the Chair's Report, Faculty Council Chair John Middleton discussed COVID-19 dashboard data currently available and noted that the number of active student cases and number of faculty and staff cases are decreasing.

Anand Chandrasekhar, professor of biological sciences, said that other MU faculty had contacted him about some confusion with data being presented to the MU community in the COVID-19 dashboard. 

“I'm happy that our numbers are looking very encouraging, and we all want campus to continue to do really well, but what I'm finding very frustrating is why can't we be very transparent in what we're reporting?” Chandrasekhar said. “The more information you provide to people, you're going to have less stress, less confusion and less uncertainty among the community.” 

Chandrasekhar said data points such as the number of tests administered and the breakdown of their locations should be included as part of the COVID-19 dashboard.

“The kind of dashboard Mizzou has is just pitiful,” he said. “A lot of us are curious to know more. It's not that those numbers aren't fine, it's just that we have more questions than answers when we look at them.”

Middleton said that some of the data is dependent on the health department, and that other universities with detailed dashboards were doing surveillance testing in research labs.

“(MU tests) are medically-indicated tests that go in somebody's medical record,” Middleton said. “Therefore, we don't have access to complete data on where somebody was tested.”

  • Fall 2020 Education Reporter Studying Investigative Journalism Reach me at rsandurkar@mail.missouri.edu, in the newsroom at (573) 882-5700 or on Twitter @rsandurkar731

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