Unusual kinds of answer

Page status: Outline

This is a rough outline of an article. It might not use full sentences everywhere and probably won’t make much sense at the moment.

When the answer is not one of the built-in data types, what do you do?

  • Use the ‘closest’ built-in part type.

  • Ask for just bits of the answer, with some scaffolding, e.g. coefficients.

  • Write a multiple choice question.

  • Make a custom marking algorithm for a built-in part type.

  • Make a custom part type.

There’s a cost/benefit calculus for making a custom part type.

If making a custom marking algorithm, make it reusable - if you spot a bug or want to make a change, you don’t want to track down every copy of the algorithm.

Think about:

  • How does the student enter their answer?

  • What answers are invalid? Try to accept all reasonable efforts, but reject mistakes which might not be what the students intended.

  • How much feedback can you give? Want to explain the marking, but minimise hints as to the correct answer. Again, there’s a cost/benefit calculus for how many cases to catch.

  • Configuration options: if several questions ask the same sort of thing, use a single part type with options.