Buzz: Questions & Answers

Fill-in-the-blank questions -- math expression-exact

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Amy Rountree

I'm writing fill-in-the-blank questions like this, which are not getting graded correctly. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? (the question prompt did not have exponents that copied and pasted, but they look ok in Buzz and shouldn't impact the answers). 

Which give me this result when I took it: 

 

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Bruce Sharp

I don't see anything obvious. When this happens to me the first thing I do is turn on the question option "show correct" so when it is counted wrong I can see what answer the server was looking for.

Can you post a screenshot of the question in the text editor? It's easier to see all of the options that way.

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Amy Rountree

Here's the text from the question:

 

Type: F, Match
5) [HTML]Simplify this expression:&nbsp; <span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">4</span><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">x</em><sup style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">2</sup><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">&nbsp;+ 2</span><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">x</em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">&nbsp;− 8 + (−2</span><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">x</em><sup style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">2</sup><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">) + 5</span><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">x</em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; font-size: 16px; font-weight: 400; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: none;">&nbsp;+ 1</span>&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>
<br>
____________________&nbsp;[/HTML]
a. 2x^2+7x−7

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Amy Rountree

And the incorrect answer with the "show answer" feature turned on: 

 

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Bruce Sharp

Amy, I have to admit this had me stymied for a while. Thanks for the intriguing puzzle!

I copied/pasted your code above and had the same result as you. Then, I wrote my own question that was identical to yours (other than the html formatting) and mine works fine. The Type: F, Match is the same and the correct answer is the same. That should be all that matters. I deleted everything from your question and copied your correct answer and pasted it into your question and mine and yours was still marked wrong. I tried changing your question type to normal so it would literally grade every space and character. Still no good. Finally, I copied the answer I had coded from my question and pasted it into your question code as the correct answer and it worked! So now I knew that what you had typed for your correct answer was the issue. Look at my question below.

Type: F, Match
2) Simplify this expression:    `4x^2 + 2x − 8 + (−2x^2) + 5x + 1`
   __________________________
a. 2x^2+7x-7

This is what the answer is in your code:  2x^2+7x−7

Notice the difference between our subtraction signs in the answer. Yours is a longer dash than mine. In ASCII those are different characters so the server is marking the answer wrong. The really insidious thing is that if you click on the equation editor and type in your answer (long dash) and my answer (short dash) the preview window at the bottom shows them to be identical, yet one is incorrect.

Maybe someone from Agilix can pipe in and explain why that is...

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Amy Rountree

Wow! thanks for all the work!!

 

So, I guess the way to help my students is to tell them to use the equation editor every time, even if they know they can write the answer with the keyboard? And I should write all my answers with the equation editor? And that will give me the correct ASCII characters? 

 

Thanks again!!

 

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Bruce Sharp

You're welcome! I actually enjoy troubleshooting. It can be frustrating at times though. :)

I always tell my students to at least open the equation editor to look at their answers before submitting. They should make sure the equation looks like what they want. Students often miss the difference between 1/7x and 1/(7x) for example.

The equation editor wouldn't help with this problem. The issue was the answer you typed was actually incorrect because the subtraction sign was the wrong character. I'm not sure how that can even happen. Did you by chance type the question in Word or Google Docs or something then paste it in Buzz? I know if you type "space hyphen space" in Word, it will autocorrect to the longer em dash. I think if you type 2 hypens in a row it does this too in many word processors. I have no idea whether Buzz does this or not, maybe give it a try to see. You could have accidentally typed -- and it autocorrected to the em dash. If so, that is a really unfortunate "feature" for math people. If you just type your answer 2x^2+7x-7 it should be correct.

Now that you are typing your own questions, you need to learn variables. That way every student gets a similar, but different question. That has been a game-changer for the us. The students can't say "what's the answer to #2" because everyone's answer is different. Instead I hear "how do you do #2?"

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