Lesson 2: Indirect Assessment

Multiple Choice

Indirect assessment tries to assess the abilities that underlie the skills we are measuring and often uses items where the student selects a response, rather than constructing their own. One common kind of question used in indirect assessment is multiple-choice or binary questions (True/False), such as parts 1 and 4 of the sample test.

Advantages of Multiple Choice

Before watching the video, think about why teachers use multiple choice questions.


Language teachers discuss the advantages of multiple choice tests.

Duration: 02:29

To summarize, multiple choice tests have some advantages which include:

  • easy to score,
  • increase reliability,
  • may lower test anxiety,
  • requires little instruction, and
  • manageable for beginning learners who can't produce a lot.

Disadvantages of Multiple Choice

Having considered the advantages, let's consider what could be problematic about multiple-choice questions.

Before watching the video, think of several disadvantages of these test questions.


Language teachers consider the disadvantages of multiple choice questions.

Duration: 01:51

There are a number of problems in using multiple choice questions, some of which follow:

  • only assesses recognition of language,
  • limited inferences about language possible,
  • inauthentic to real language use,
  • students can guess the answers, and
  • writing successful multiple choice questions is difficult.