Looking for Math Fill in the Blanks, Math with Text, Math with Units, Math with Fractions, or Math with Matrices? Scroll to the bottom of this article for more information.

PLEASE READ FIRST: You might want to use CLOZE MATH instead of this question type. This question type is best for:

  • When there will be more than one response box that need to work in conjunction with each other.

  • When working with complex equations.

  • When there are multiple versions and formats for correct answers.


❗ Does the question you are authoring involve any of the above components?

  • If so, then keep reading!

  • If not, we highly recommend using Cloze Math instead, as it is generally easier to create and score. When in doubt, use Cloze Math!

➡️ Need help getting started with Advanced Assessments? Click here

Article Table of Contents

What is Math Formula?

We recommend reading through this entire article before beginning to build your question, as you'll want to make sure this question type is suited for your intentions. This question type allows students to easily enter complex math as a response, with advanced scoring methods and settings.


In this example, Otus will look for any two terms that add together to get 14x; the teacher does not have to specify each possible answer. For example, all of the following responses would be considered correct:

  • 10x + 4x

  • 4x + 10x

  • -6x + 20x

  • 13x + x

💡 Tip from the Otus Team: If you need the student to use multiple lines of math, you may want to use Cloze Math or Math Essay. Math Formula only allows for one line of entry.

Build the Question

If you are creating a new item, select the + Create button on the assessment builder, title the item, then select the Add New plus sign to add a question.

If you are adding to an existing item, simply select the Add New plus sign (as shown above) to add a question to the item.

Next, select the Math category from the options on the left, then select Math formula.

Step 1: Compose Question

  • Compose question: Type question prompt into this field.

  • You have many formatting options from the Rich Text toolbar, including changing the font size, adding tables, using math symbols, adding multimedia, and more! Click here for more information on the different functions of the Rich Text toolbar.

Step 2: Add Answer Content

  • In the Template field, you will type the content involved with the answer of the question:

  • This question type allows for only one line of answer entry.

  • You will use math symbols to build the answer. If students need to fill in blanks that are within sentences or multiple lines of text, use the Cloze Math question type instead.

  • To add a response box, select the r button in the upper-right corner of the math keypad.

Set Correct Answers and Scoring

Set Correct Answers

💡 Tip from the Otus Team: It is likely you will not need to use most, if any, of these optional settings. The one most commonly used is the Allow decimal marks option.

  • Step 1: Determine how many points the question will be worth.

  • Step 2: Type any version of the correct answer in the Value section.

IMPORTANT NOTE: anything that has been entered in the Template field (below the Compose Question field) MUST be entered in the Value field. If the Template field and the Value field do not match, the question will not be scored correctly.

  • In the example above, if = 14x is not included in the Value field, it will be impossible for the student to enter a correct answer.


Determine a scoring method.

  • equivSymbolic is the most commonly used method, and will provide the most flexibility when scoring.

➡️ Using equivSymbolic will accept any response that is mathematically equivalent to the correct answer. For example:

  • 10x + 4x

  • 4x + 10x

  • -6x + 20x

  • 13x + x

➡️ Using equivLiteral here will only accept 13x + 1x as the correct answer. It will not allow for other forms or combinations.

➡️ Using equivValue will not work for this particular example; equivValue can not be used with variables. Otherwise, It works in a similar way as equivSymbolic, but checks for equivalence in different forms, such as units of measure. It is most often not necessary to use equivValue, as the same can be accomplished with equivSymbolic.

➡️ Allow Decimal Marks: In any one of the above cases, if the answer allows for comma separators, please check the Allow Decimal Marks option!

💡 Tip from the Otus Team: wondering what the other scoring validations are, such as isSimplified? Check out this Learnosity author guide.

Student Preview

It's highly recommended to Preview the question as you are building it in the item. This displays the question as the students will see it and also verifies that the answers and scoring work as expected.

  • Step 1: Select the Preview button to go into Preview mode.

  • Step 2: Answer the question with the correct answers, including alternates.

    • Selecting Show Answers will present the correct answers.

  • Step 3: Verify that the auto-score correctly calculates the point value.

Here is a short clip of this question type from the student's perspective.

❗ Please note - while the video below looks at Cloze Math, all of the same concepts apply to the Math Formula questions from the student's perspective.

If you'd like to see specific parts of the tutorial, use the timing outline below:

  • Overview: Begins the video

  • Horizontal Keypad - 0:23

  • Moving the Keypad - 0:30

  • Basic (Default keypad) Introduction - 0:57

    • Fractions - 1:24

    • Mixed Numbers - 1:38

    • Exponents - 1:53

  • Using Additional Keypads - 2:17

➡️ Want to preview the entire assessment? Click here for details.

More Options

Other Scoring Options:

  • Unscored/Practice usage: removes all scoring from the item.

  • Check answer button & Check answer attempts: find more information here!

  • Penalty points: use this option if you want students to lose points for giving incorrect answers.

  • Minimum score if attempted: student will receive points as long as the question has been attempted (if the question is left blank or is unanswered, the student will not earn those points).

💡 Tip from the Otus Team: This question type can only be scored with Exact Match. If you are looking for the scoring options such as Partial Match per Response or Partial Match, those can be used with the Cloze Math question type.

Layout Options:

Here are the most commonly used layout options:

  • Change the font size: In the Font size dropdown menu, you can change the font size of all components of the question to small, normal, large, extra large, or huge.

  • Change the size of the response box(es): In the Width (px) and Height (px) fields, you can adjust the size of the response box. The default size is about 20px, so you can use that as your guide.

➡️ Do you have multiple response boxes you want to make different sizes? select the + Add button under Response Containers (individual); that will give you the option to change make each response box a different size.

Keypad Options:

There are several different keypads to choose from, as well as placements of the keypad. For more information, check out this article.

Math Fill in the Blanks Math with Text Math with Units

Math with Fractions Math with Matrices

  • All five of these question types are a form of the Math Formula question; they have the same scoring and formatting as Math Formula. The only difference is that the template section will include multiple response boxes, text, units, fractions, or matrices by default.

  • Multiple response boxes, text, units, fractions or matrices can be added to any math question type (including Cloze Math, which is our most recommended question type to use).

  • When building a Math Fill in the Blanks, Math with Text, Math with Units, Math with Fractions, or Math with Matrices question, follow the same steps and guidelines as written above for Math Formula. As an alternative, choose to use Math Formula or Cloze Math instead, and just build your template section accordingly.

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