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Fill in the Blank Questions

Fill in the Blank questions consist of a phrase, sentence, or paragraph with a blank space indicating where the student should provide the missing word or words. Use Fill in Multiple Blanks Questions to create a question with multiple answers.

Answers are scored based on whether the student answer matches the correct answers you provide. You can require student answers to match exactly, contain part of the correct answer, or match a pattern that you specify. You choose whether or not the answer is case sensitive.

The maximum number of answers is 100.

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In restored courses, case sensitivity is turned off for all existing Fill in the Blank questions. Edit those questions and select Case Sensitive, if needed.

Watch a Tutorial

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How to Create a Fill in the Blank Question

Fill in the Blank questions have two parts: the question and the set of answers. Phrase the question so that it is apparent where the answer goes in the context of the question, and so that there is only one answer. A text box appears following the question for students to type their answers.

  1. Access a test, survey, or pool. To learn more, see Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
  2. On the action bar, point to Create Question and click Fill in the Blank.
  3. Type the Question Text.
  4. To add more than one answer, select from the Number of Answers drop-down list. To delete an answer, click Remove.
  5. Type each answer and select Contains, Exact Match, or Pattern Match to specify how the answer is evaluated against a student's answer. For Contains and Exact Match, select the check box if the answer is Case Sensitive.

  6. Optionally, type feedback for correct and incorrect answers, and add question metadata. To learn more, see Question Metadata.
  7. Click Submit and Create Another -OR- Submit to add the question to the test.

About Creating Answers

Keep the answers simple and limited to as few words as possible. Limit answers to one word to avoid extra spaces between words or the order of the words causing a student answer to be scored as incorrect.

  • Select Contains from the drop-down list in the answer to allow for abbreviations or partial answers. This option counts a student's answer as correct if it includes the word or words that you specify, matching both capitalization and punctuation. For example, set up a single answer that contains Franklin so that answers such as "Benjamin Franklin", "Franklin", "B Franklin", "B. Franklin", and "Ben Franklin" are counted as correct, but a single answer such as "franklin", "Benjamin", and "B. franklin" would be counted as incorrect. This eliminates the need for you to list all acceptable possibilities for the answer "Benjamin Franklin."
  • Provide additional answers that allow for common spelling errors or select Pattern Match from the drop-down list in the answer to create a regular expression that allows for spelling, spacing, or capitalization variations.

Pattern Match

Pattern Match is an advanced technique that enables you to use regular expressions when specifying correct answers to allow for some variability in the answers that will be counted as correct. They enable you to count certain patterns as correct, rather than an exact text match. For example, regular expressions enable grading of the wide range of possible answers that are typical of scientific data.

In a regular expression, most characters in the string match only themselves and are called literals. Some characters have special meaning and are called metacharacters. You can conduct an internet search on regular expressions for a complete list. Here are a few examples:

  • A dot (.) matches any single character except newline characters.
  • Brackets [ ] match anything inside the square brackets for one character.
  • A dash (-) inside square brackets allows you to define a range. For example, [0123456789] could be rewritten as [0-9].
  • A question mark (?) makes the preceding item in the regular expression optional. For example, Dec(ember)? will match Dec and December.

Simple string examples:

  • b.t - matches with bat, bet, but, bit, b9t because any character can take the place of the dot (.).
  • b[aeui]t matches bat, bet, but, bit.
  • b[a-z]t would accept any three-letter combination that begins with b and ends with t. A number would not be accepted as the second character.
  • [A-Z] matches any uppercase letter.
  • [12] matches the target character to 1 or 2.
  • [0-9] matches the target character to any number in the range 0 to 9.

When you select Pattern Match for an answer, you can click Check Pattern to open a new window where you test your pattern to be sure it will produce the results you want. After testing and editing the pattern, click Save & Exit to save your modified pattern as the answer.

Type feedback for students when they give a correct or an incorrect answer. Feedback is optional. When partial credit is awarded, students receive the feedback message for correct answers.


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