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Fill in the Blank Questions

This information applies only to the Original Course View.

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


_______ is the silicate mineral with the lowest melting temperature and the greatest resistance to weathering.

Fill in the Blank questions are graded automatically. Answers are scored based on if 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 you can provide is 100.

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.

More on Fill in the Blank questions with JAWS

Watch a video about Fill in the Blank questions

This video explains how to create Fill in the Blank questions, list answers, select an evaluation method, and provide feedback.

Video: Fill in the Blank questions

Create a Fill in the Blank question

Fill in the Blank questions have two parts: the question and the set of answers. A text box appears after the question for students to type their answers.

  1. Access a test, survey, or pool. From the Create Question menu, select Fill in the Blank.
  2. Type the Question Text.
  3. To add more than one answer, select from the Number of Answers menu—up to 100. To delete an answer, select Remove.

    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 Case Sensitive check box if you want to take capitalization into account.

  4. Optionally, type feedback for correct and incorrect answers.
  5. Select Submit and Create Another or Submit to add the question to the test.

About creating answers

Keep answers simple and brief in the answer sets. To avoid difficulties with auto-grading, you can limit answers to one word. One-word answers prevent issues such as extra spaces or word order causing a correct answer to be scored as incorrect.

  • Select Contains from the menu 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 you specify. For example, set up a single answer that contains Franklin so that Benjamin Franklin, Franklin, B Franklin, B. Franklin, and Ben Franklin are all counted as correct answers. Then, you don't have to list all the acceptable possibilities for the answer Benjamin Franklin.
  • Provide additional answers that allow for common spelling errors. Or, select Pattern Match from the menu in the answer and create a regular expression that allows for spelling, spacing, or capitalization variations.

Pattern Match

You can use regular expressions when you specify 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 select Check Pattern to open a new window where you test your pattern. Select Save & Exit to save your modified pattern as the answer.