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Matching question type

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Matching questions have a content area and a list of names or statements which must be correctly matched against another list of names or statements. For example "Match the Capital with the Country" with the two lists "Canada, Italy, Japan" and "Ottawa, Rome, Tokyo". In the Quiz Module, each match is equally weighted to contribute towards the grade for the total question.

Question set-up in Question bank

  1. Select the question category
  2. Give the question a descriptive name - this allows you to identify it in the question bank.
  3. Enter a question stem in the 'question text' field to tell the students what they are matching.
  4. Select an image to display if you want to add a picture to the question. For the student, it appear immediately after the question text and before the choices.
  5. Set the 'default question grade' (i.e. the maximum number of marks for this question).
  6. Set the 'Penalty factor' (see grading below).
  7. Moodle 1.7+: If you wish, add general feedback. This is text that appears to the student after he/she has answered the question.
  8. Check the 'shuffle' box if you want the answers in the drop-down menus to be shuffled. Note: The Quiz display setting must also be set to shuffle within a questions for this to work.
  9. For the first matching item, enter the question and a matching answer.
  10. Fill in at least three questions and answers. You can enter as many as 10 items (or more - see 'See also' below). You can provide extra wrong answers by giving an answer with a blank question.
  11. Click Save changes to add the question to the category.


  • Each sub-question is equally weighted to contribute towards the grade for the total question. For example a student who correctly matches 3 of the 4 possible matches will receive 3/4 or 75% of the total possible score for that question.
  • The 'penalty factor' only applies when the question is used in a quiz using adaptive mode - i.e. where the student is allowed multiple attempts at a question even within the same attempt at the quiz. If the penalty factor is more than 0, then the student will lose that proportion of the maximum grade upon each successive attempt. For example, if the default question grade is 10, and the penalty factor is 0.2, then each successive attempt after the first one will incur a penalty of 0.2 x 10 = 2 points.

Repeated entries

It is possible to have repeated entries in one of the lists but care should be taken to make the repeats identical. For example "Identify the type of these creatures" with the lists "Ant, Cow, Dog, Sparrow" and "Insect, Mammal, Mammal, Bird".

Ordered questions

In the Quiz module, it is possible for both the question list and the answer list to be shuffled. The answer list is always shuffled. The "shuffle within questions" must be "Yes" as a quiz setting under Display AND the shuffle question box must be check on the individual question.

Consider the question "Match the letter with its position in the alphabet" with the question list "1, 2, 3, 4" and answer list "A, B, C, D". The answer list is always shuffled for each student in the pull down list of the possible matches. However, only when both the quiz and individual question shuffles are turned on, will the question list be shuffled to something like "2,4,1,3".

Version differences

  • From Moodle 1.7 onwards, there can be more answers than questions. This makes it harder for the student if they do not know the right match. The extra answers are added by leaving the question field blank.

Lesson Module matching questions

Matching questions are also used in the Lesson Module. However, while they look similar to the student, they are different for the teacher. Quizes don't have jumps.

  • In the Lesson Module, all matches must be right for the question to be scored as correct.
  • What is called the question list in a Quiz, does not shuffle in the Lesson Module. In the earlier example, A, B, C , D will always be in that order and 1,2,3,4 will always be shuffled in the Lesson Module.
  • Lesson Module has an "answer" and a "matching answer" instead of a "question" and "answer".
  • In Lesson Module there has to be matching pairs. It is not possible to have 4 items in one list to match with 1 of 5 items in another list. Both lists will be equal in their number.

Ordered questions in Lesson Module

In the Lesson Module, unlike Multiple choice questions or the Quiz Module, the question list is always the same order and the choices are shown in a random order.

Lesson Module version differences

  • In Moodle 1.5, when creating this type of question the items for the first list go into the Answer boxes and items for the second list go into the Response boxes. Once created a more sensible labeling scheme is shown. When the student successfully matches the items the jump on the first answer is used. An unsuccessful answer jumps to the page on the second answer. The question does not support custom responses, the student is told how many matches are correct or if all the matches are correct.
  • In Moodle 1.6, when the student successfully matches the items, the Correct answer jump is used. An unsuccessful answer jumps to Wrong answer jump. The question supports only 2 response (= feedback) messages: the Correct response message is displayed if all matches are correct, and the Wrong response message otherwise.


Tips and tricks

  • Matching questions look better on screen if you put the longer piece of text in the question and not the match. For example, when vocabulary matching put the single word in the match and the definition sentence in the question. Otherwise the drop down for long questions will be awkward to use and difficult to read.
  • Matching questions in a Lesson module are slightly different than in a Quiz module when the teacher is in edit mode. For example, there are scoring differences and a quiz does not use jumps.

See also