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Best format for Coordinate points for fill in the blank questions?

Amy Rountree
Hi, I would like to have students fill in the blank for short answer questions that has the format of a coordinate point (x,y). You can choose several different types of format options for filling in the blanks -- number, exact expression, equivalent expression, Normal, or Case insensitive. Which would be the best choice? For some reason using the "normal" setting makes student answers that look the same to me not come up as correct. Here's the question: Solve the system and put their solution in coordinate format:


  (12,-23) I've been getting around this by using two blanks and parentheses around them and the "number" format but I would like to make students responsible for remembering the coordinate point format. Thanks! Amy

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Bruce Sharp

Hi Amy,

If you want the students to type the parentheses and comma I think "normal" is your only option. Number won't let them type the parentheses (nor the comma I think). Math exact/equivalent doesn't like symbols like commas. When it comes across a symbol it doesn't like, the server just ignores anything after it. This makes it appear to be grading correctly, but it really isn't. So if the x-coordinate is correct, then the student types a comma, they could put anything they want after the comma and it wouldn't be marked wrong. I also run into this with quadratic equations. I would like the students to type both answers separated by a comma. The server won't check the second answer though because of the comma. That's why I've found it so vital to try many incorrect answers when I am testing a new question. Personally, I do what you suggested, which is have two answer blanks inside the parentheses like this (____,____).

If you use normal as your answer type student answers must match your answer character for character and space for space. So if you put a space after the comma students must have the space. Likewise, if you don't use a space. I would put an alternate answer to account for both situations. There is still the issue where a student accidentally puts a space before or after either of the parentheses. It will be marked wrong due to the extra space(s). I'm sure you know how to do the math to find out how many alternate answers you would need to account for all of the different combinations of spaces. ;)

One limitation of using normal is that you can't use a calculated answer. If your answer includes an eval normal won't calculate the answer. That could be why the server is marking wrong apparently correct answers. If you want to use an eval in your answer you must use number or math exact/equivalent. This is the main reason I use the format of two answer blanks with math exact; most of my questions use eval in the answer. Math exact also doesn't care if students type extra spaces.

That's my experience. Hopefully, someone from Agilix can chime in with a better solution for both of us!

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Amy Rountree


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