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Math Essay Question for Advanced Assessments
Math Essay Question for Advanced Assessments

Allows students to input text and math formula within the same response, usually when a response needs further explanation

Monica Burke avatar
Written by Monica Burke
Updated over a week ago

Now that you've started to build an advanced assessment, you may want to add an Math Essay question.

The Math Essay with Rich Text 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 as shown below.

There are other types of essay questions:

Essay with Rich Text

Students have many formatting options such as bold, underline, italics, and bulleted lists.

Essay with Plain Text

Students only have basic formatting options: cut, copy, and paste.

Chemistry Essay

Students can use the chemistry keypad in conjunction with the regular keyboard.

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 Essay with Rich Text.

Compose the Question

  • Type your question in the Compose question section.

  • 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.

Text Formatting Options for Students

  • There are 8 text formatting options that are turned on by default, those are:

    • Bold, italic, underline, increase indent, decrease indent, math keypad, undo, and redo.

  • The icons highlighted in grey have been enabled. The white icons are disabled.

    • Click on a white icon to enable it, and click on a grey icon to disable it.

  • These tool options are draggable; you can drag and drop the tools into a different order, and the new order will be displayed on the toolbar.

💡 Tip: The DIV icon stands for divider. Adding a divider allows you to separate the formatting options as you see fit. Here's an example of what the above question looks like with the formatting options that have been identified:

  • The remaining text formatting options available are:

    • Remove all formatting, align left, align center, align right, align justify, bullet list, numbered list, block quote, superscript, subscript, text direction left to right, text direction right to left, insert horizontal line, insert table, special characters, and image.

Word Limit and Word Count Options

  • The maximum word limit is 10,000.

  • The three options for the word limit visual are:

    • Always Visible: the word limit will be seen while the student is answering.

    • On limit: the word limit will only appear once the student has reached that limit.

    • Off: the word limit will not be visible to the student at any time.

  • Showing the student's word count is checked on by default.

Adjust the Math Keypad (optional)

  • 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.

  • Show Keypad Hints

    • 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.

  • Enable Horizontal Keypad

    • Checking this box makes this keypad the only one available to the students:

Click the button below to see details regarding the other available math keypads.

Set the Scoring

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

  • First, expand the More Options section.

  • Next, add a point value into the Max score field.

    • If the "submit over limit" option is checked, that will allow the students to still submit their answer, even if their answer contains more words than the word limit.

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. Since this question is not auto-scored, you are previewing for formatting purposes here.

Click to see a short clip of this question type from the student's perspective.

More Options

There are additional layout options found under the More Options menu.


Click to see the minimum score if attempted option.

  • Minimum Score if attempted: this will award students points for just attempting the question. If the student types anything into the answer, they will earn these points. If they leave the question blank, they will not earn these points.


Click to see spellcheck and text correction details.

  • This setting is enabled by default. Misspelled words will be underlined in red.

  • If disabled, students will not have any indication of misspelled words.

Click to see how to adjust the size of the response box.

  • You can adjust the size of the text entry field by adding values to the Min and Max height sections. For example:

Click to see how to use placeholders.

  • You may want to add a placeholder which will be displayed inside the text entry field. It will disappear when the user starts typing text in.

Click to see how to change the font size.

  • 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.


Click to see the "Details".

At the very bottom of the More Options menu, you will see "Details". These options are not applicable to Otus assessments - they do not have any impact on the questions or the assessment.

Learnosity Resources

You can read more about this question type on Learnosity's Author Guide.

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