Elearning Tutorial:

Checking Long Answers

Creating and Scoring a Long Answer or Essay Question


This final section of the tutorial will show how to set the answers to ensure the correct words or phrases are checked and the scores they will be awarded.

Defining the Answers

Double-click on the question object itself and select the Question tab and check that the Question type is set to Multiple Text Input which tells Opus to look for more than one answer.

Now simply select each answer in turn - type a short descriptive name in the main grid - remember this is NOT the text to be searched for but a label to remind you what this answer does or is...

...and then type the text you want to search for into the "Search Text:" box at the bottom.

Finally use the spin buttons to change the score and click the checkbox to say the answer is correct.

Deciding the Scores

We can combine some of the keywords we identified as they indicate the same understanding. Any answers which include more than one word should be surrounded by quotation marks to ensure the whole phrase is scored. Note that we want to give an extra point for remembering to say green plants so these have been split across two answers so that both score.

  • "chemical reaction" = bonus point
  • green = core point
  • plants = core point
  • food = core point
  • chlorophyll = key point
  • chloroplasts = bonus point
  • energy OR sunlight OR sun = key point
  • water = key point
  • "carbon dioxide" = key point
  • oxygen = key point
  • starch OR glucose = key point
  • carbohydrate = bonus point

Moderating the Score

With a multiple answer question like this Opus will count all the scores we have set as part of the total available for this question and for the whole quiz. As it currently stands this question will add 12 points to the overall quiz score. If other questions in the test only score 1 or 2 points each this could skew this question to give it greater importance to an overall pass mark.

In addition the bonus marks represent 25% of the marks which is probably not what we want.

Fortunately Opus allows you to use fractions of marks and so you can score some answers as 0.25 or even 0.1 instead of a whole point. This also allows us to weight the answers according to difficulty.

Thus we might want to try combinations of fractions. It is perfectly possible to reduce the overall mark available to just 2 points and yet still make each element with appropriate weight.

In addition, you could combine all the bonus words into a single answer separated by OR which means the user will get a point with any of the bonus elements but not more than one.

You might think that any words which MUST be included could be put into a single answer which would work for certain cases but remember this means that if you use OR then the user can get the point for any one word and have missed all the others, and if you use AND they can lose a whole mark for missing one.

Once you are happy with your answers preview your publication and type in an answer yourself to see how it feels.

Complex Answers

The process above is ideal for simple text answers and thereby allows the instructional designer variation in the type of question available. However, in this instance we have used a question with a more complex answer to demonstrate the flexibility and power that is available in Opus Pro.

So far we have tested for certain key words and word combinations. However, we have not checked they are in the right order so we need to look for a specific phrase and if we do this in combination with the keyword search but give the phrase-match a higher weighting we can get a more natural and accurate score. Bear in mind that if the words in the phrase are also scored separately they will be scored twice, in the example publication we reduced the value of the individual keywords found in our key phrases so that being marked twice added weight to the correct phrase but also gave a token mark for including it if the user did not get the phrase correct.

In this case the key phrase is to convert or combine "water and carbon dioxide into starch and oxygen". Obviously this could also be phrased as "carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and starch" or "water and carbon dioxide to make starch and oxygen" or several other variations.

Thus can be achieved by checking for some key possible phrases as a whole and award quite a significant additional mark for these. Thus we can set up an answer to check for the following:

"carbon dioxide and water into starch and oxygen" OR "water and carbon dioxide into starch and oxygen" OR "water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and starch" OR "carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and starch"

We might also add a catch-all answer to look for additional keywords which are likely to be used to describe the same process in a slightly convoluted way and therefore won't score a match with the key phrase variations but still warrant some points.

Obviously this is only one solution to demonstrate the functionality available. Combining this flexibility with the experience and knowledge of an experienced teacher/trainer makes for a very powerful scoring system.


tutorial on checking a long text answer in Opus Pro