FC Assessment: Lesson 2

Assessment: Lesson 2

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.


Another common type of question is the fill-in-the blank item. In the sample test, Part 5 included these items. They are often found in assessment of grammar and vocabulary. While they do require students to produce language, which is different from multiple-choice questions, they are rather inauthentic in terms of language use.
Advantages of Fill-in-the-Blank

Language teachers discuss advantages of using fill-in-the-blank questions in assessing language.
Duration: 00:23

Some of the advantages to fill-in-the-blank include:
• high reliability,
• easier to write, and
• limits guessing.
Disadvantages of Fill-in-the-Blank
Although they may have advantages, there are a number of problems with fill-in the blank questions.


Language teachers discuss the problems in using fill-in-the-blank questions.
Duration: 03:23

Some of the disadvantages with these kind of questions are that
• they are harder to score,
• numerous possible correct answers may exist,
• what is being measured is hard to define,
• takes more time for students to complete them, and
• they are not communicative.












[Module Instructor Dr. Lia Plakans]. 2010. [Assessment]. In Foreign Language Teaching Methods. Carl Blyth, Editor. Texas Language Technology Center, University of Texas at Austin. http://coerll.utexas.edu

The material is provided free of charge for those that wish to study it.

How ever a no obligation  exam is available at the end of this module.