Short-Answer question type
Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.1. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle is probably available here: Short-Answer question type.
- Managing questions
- Question behaviours
- Question types
- Simple Calculated
- Drag and drop into text
- Drag and drop markers
- Drag and drop onto image
- Calculated Multichoice
- Embedded Answers (Cloze)
- Multiple Choice
- Random Short Answer Matching
- Select missing words
- Third-party question types
- Questions FAQ
In a short answer question, the student types in a word or phrase in response to a question (that may include a image). Answers may or may not be case sensitive. The answer could be a word or a phrase, but it must match one of your acceptable answers exactly. It's a good idea to keep the required answer as short as possible to avoid missing a correct answer that's phrased differently.
The Quiz and Lesson modules both have short answer question types. The analysis of the question given below works for both modules. However there is another analysis type available for Lesson which is not available in a Quiz (see note below).
- Give your question a descriptive name.
- Create the question stem. If you want students to fill in a blank, use the underscore to indicate where the blank is.
- Select an image to display if you want to add a picture to the question (see step 3 in Multiple Choice question type for more detail).
- Choose whether capitalization is important. Case sensitivity can be tricky. Will you accept george washingtion as well as George Washington as an answer?
- Next, fill in the answers you will accept. You could give common misspellings partial credit with this option. If the "Case sensitive" option is selected, then you can have different scores for "Word" or "word".
- Add score for each of your answers.
- Create feedback for any and all answers.
- As a best practice, add a single wild card * for the last answer, so you can create a feedback response and a score for all other answers students might have.
- Click Save Changes to add the question to the category.
Wildcard usageYou can use the asterisk character (*) as a wildcard to match any series of characters. For example, use
ran*ingto match any word or phrase starting with ran and ending with ing. If you really do want to match an asterisk then use a backslash like this:
\*If you want one question with the two answers fuel and oxygen, you ought to be able to limit the number of variants by writing
fuel*oxygen 100%. This would accept "fuel oxygen", "fuel, oxygen", "fuel; oxygen", "fuel and oxygen", "fuel & oxygen" "fuel oxygen", "fuel und oxygen" "fuel&&oxygen". It would even accept "fuel or oxygen", "fuel but not oxygen" "fuel|oxygen" which might not be so good but you can never be completely safe!
Here are some answers and scores for a question "What does a rocket burn?".
oxygen*fuelwith a score 100%
*fuel*with a score 50%
*oxygen*with a score 50%
*air*with a score 40%
*with a score of 0%
The order of the answers is important. The answers are evaluated from 1st to last. When a match is found the process stops. If no match is found the question is scored wrong and the general response is used. It is a good practice to put a wild card as the last answer so the evaluation process knows what to do when nothing above it matches.
Without wildcards, the answers are compared exactly, so be careful with your spelling!
Feedback for wrong answers
When you wish to have short answer type questions, you naturally have a limited number of variations that would be acceptable. So in case you wish to give a feedback in case of a wrong answer, you must spell out the right answers exactly and then use * as another answer which will have grade as zero and feedback will be the one for wrong answer. Effectively, ANYTHING other than the specific answers mentioned by you will be treated as this option due to wildcard and will be deemed wrong; it'll give 0 marks and show the feedback for a wrong answer. here is an example:
What is a rabbit?
answer1: animal feedback: right grade: 100%
answer2: mammal feedback: right grade: 100%
answer3: vertebrate feedback: right grade: 100%
answer4: * feedback: ouch! that was wrong grade: none
Remember: you cannot do negative marking in this type and ANYTHING other than your right answer will be treated as option 4 due to the wildcard and given that feedback and zero marks.
You can use the same system to stop students seeing the wildcards when the question shows them the right answer, but make answer 1 a model answer with no wildcards, and the answer 2 be the more flexible version. For example:
answer1: Beautifully formatted right answer feedback: right grade: 100%
answer2: mammal feedback: *Beaut* format* right answer* grade: 100%
answer4: * feedback: ouch! that was wrong grade: none
Short answer questions tip
You may like to prototype your short answer questions to catch common acceptable answers you hadn't thought of. Start out by creating a few acceptable answers, then include the question in a quiz for no points. Be sure to tell students you are testing a new question. Once the quiz is over, review students' answers and add their acceptable answers to the list.
Lesson module note
Template:Moodle 1.6 Starting with Moodle 1.6 in the Lesson module, there are two different student answer analysis systems available for the Short Answer type of question: the simple system is used by default. The second type only available in Lesson Module is called "Regular Expressions". See Short answer analysis for a description of the new type, with examples.