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Have Students Show Work Using Math Essay with Rich Text on an Advanced Assessment
Have Students Show Work Using Math Essay with Rich Text on an Advanced Assessment

The Math Essay question gives students a space to type out their work using a wide variety of math symbols and operations.

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

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.

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.

Step 1: Compose Question

  • Compose 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.

Step 2: Text Formatting Options

  • 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Here are a few of the most common keypads used:

Other keypads are also available.

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.

💡 Tip: Want to preview the entire assessment? Click here for details.

Additional Options


  • 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.


  • 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:


  • Placeholder: you can add placeholder text to your question.

  • Font Size: you can change the font size of the question.


  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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