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Essay With Plain Text Question for Advanced Assessments
Essay With Plain Text Question for Advanced Assessments

Students can answer in the form of an essay with basic formatting options, such as Copy, Cut, and Paste.

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 essay question.

The Essay with Plain Text lets students give long, detailed answers to questions (up to a maximum of 10,000 words). This Essay Question type only allows for basic formatting options such as Copy, Cut, and Paste.


There are other types of essay questions:

Essay with Rich Text

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

Math Essay

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

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 Written and Recorded category from the options on the left, then select Essay with Plain Text.

Compose the Question

  • Type your question in 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.

Choose Text Formatting Tools and Word Limit

  • Student Format Tools: You can choose to remove the tools for copy, cut, or paste by unchecking those options.

Note: Disabling these tools will remove the buttons from the text entry field, but students will still be able to copy, cut, and paste using keyboard shortcuts or by right-clicking for a context menu.

  • Word Limit: Choose a word limit and if you'd like that word limit to be displayed for the students when they are taking the assessment. See the image below; the text entry field becomes red if the student exceeds the word limit.

Set the Scoring

The Essay with Plain Text question type not auto-scored. 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. The default is 1 point.

Submit Over Limit:

  • If you leave this option unchecked (by default), the student will not be able to submit the answer if it is beyond the word limit.

  • If you check this option, the student will be able to submit the answer regardless of the word limit.

Student Preview

It's highly recommended to Preview the question before adding it to the assessment. 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.

💡 Tip: The text entry field will expand as the students type, so they will always be able to see the entirety of their entry.

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 how to use the special characters option.

  • Checking this option will give the students a special characters tab in their toolbar, which will allow them to insert any of the provided special characters.. You can also type special characters into the "Characters to display" field if there are only a few you'd like your students to use.

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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