The Math Essay question type (best for math assessments) gives students a space to type out their work using a wide variety of math symbols and operations. The student will toggle from using their keyboard to using the math keypad as shown below.

Elementary Example:

Middle School / High School Example:

While in the response area, students have the option of switching back and forth from the math keypad to the use of their keyboard.


Creating a Work Space Using Math Essay

After you have created your Advanced Assessment and started to build an item, follow the steps below to use Math Essay for showing work.

  • Once you are in the Advanced Assessment builder, select Create, then choose the Math essay option.

Step 1: Compose Question and Choose Formatting Options

  • Compose question: Type your question in the Compose question section.
  • Add additional text formatting: the four default options are bold, italic, underline, and bullet list. You can choose to delete any of those, or replace them with another option. To add additional formatting options, select the blue + ADD button in the bottom-left corner, and choose from the options:

Step 2: Adjust the Keypad (optional)

  • There are several mathematical keypad options to choose from. You can even "build" a custom keypad to include only certain symbols.
  • In the Keypad section, you can adjust the placement of the keypad, change the default mode (math or text), and change the keypad(s) used.
  • Under the Symbols section (bottom-right of the image below), you can determine which keypads to make available to your students. Remember, the standard numeric keypad is always included, this section is specifically for the mathematical keypad.

Here are a few of the most common keypads used:

Other keypads are also available.


Set the Scoring

The Math Essay question type is not an auto-scored question. This question will be manually scored by the teacher once the assessment has been turned in.

  • Step 1: Expand the More Options section.
  • Step 2: Add a point value into the Max score field.


Optional Formatting Adjustments

Each of these options can be found by expanding the More Options menu.

Allowing Spellcheck

  • Found under the Scoring section.
  • This setting is enabled by default. Misspelled words will be underlined in red.
  • If disabled, students will not have any indication of misspelled words.

Keypad Location

  • Found under the Keypad section.
  • This is disabled by default - which means that the keypad could appear above or below the response area depending on the screen resolution the student is using.
  • If enabled, the keypad will always appear below the response area. Sometimes this is easier for the students, so that it doesn't appear over the question.

Default Keypad

  • Found under the Keypad section.
  • This is set to Math by default. This means that when the student clicks into the response area, the math keypad will appear.
  • If changed to Text, the student will be using their keyboard by default when clicking in the response area.

Maximum Lines

  • Found under the Keypad section.
  • This is set to unlimited by default.
  • The maximum number of lines can be set using a numeric value here.

Keypad Hints

  • Found under the Keypad section.
  • This is enabled by default. Keypad hints will give the "name" of a symbol as it is hovered over. For example: the image below shows the keypad hint while the student is hovering over the less than symbol.

Font Size

  • Found under the Layout section.
  • This is set to Normal by default. There are five total options: Small, Normal, Large, Extra Large, and Huge.
  • Changing this setting will change the font size of both the question and the response area.



  • The work will appear exactly as the student entered it.
  • A score will can be given in the bottom-right corner of the item.
  • Because Math Essay is a free-response question, it does not have the option to be auto-scored.


Other Ways to Show Work

  • Question type: Drawing - provides works pace directly within the item that includes options like a line tool and protractor, as well as free-hand writing or drawing.

  • Question type: File Upload - students can attach a picture of their work by uploading an image, or taking a live picture with their device's camera.

  • Use a pre-built work page - students can show their work on a work page designed for the specific assessment. They can then turn in the work page for the teacher to reference while grading the assessment.


Next Steps

Did this answer your question?