Count Responses With Syntax Errors As Incorrect Submissions for Assignments

When question part submission is allowed, you can choose whether or not to count responses containing syntax errors toward students' total submissions. You can configure this separately for numerical, symbolic, or algebraic questions.

When assignment or question submission is required, syntax errors are always counted as incorrect submissions.

Syntax errors can occur in responses to numerical, symbolic, and algebraic questions, and often include the following kinds of incorrect notation.

Question ModeProblemIncorrect NotationCorrect Notation
AnyIncorrect grouping operator.4{x+3}4(x+3)
AnyMissing operand.50*50*3
AnyToo many consecutive operators.x++++2x+2
AnyUnrecognized symbol. .00




NumericalMisspelled unit.3456 met/sec3456 m/s
NumericalResponse cannot contain variables.2*x+32*10+3
NumericalResponse cannot use implicit multiplication.3(14)3*14
Symbolic or AlgebraicComma in number.5,0005000

When your students submit responses containing these kinds of errors, a message is shown indicating either that the response contains a syntax error or cannot be evaluated. If you are using question part submission and do not count syntax errors as incorrect submissions, your students' used submissions is not increased for question parts with syntax errors.

By default, new assignments do not override the class settings for syntax errors. 

Tip: To change this default behavior, create an assignment template that overrides the class settings and set it as your default template.

The default class settings do not count syntax errors as incorrect submissions when question part submission is used.

You can change these behaviors for your classes or for your assignments. Your assignment settings override your class settings.

Best Practice: Do not change assignments that your students are already working on. You are likely to cost your students points, submissions, or both. Instead, consider creating a copy of the scheduled assignment and making your changes to the copy.

If you must change a scheduled assignment, notify your students of the change and rescore the assignment. See Rescore Assignments.

To change syntax error behavior for an assignment:

  1. Edit the assignment or assignment template settings.
    To do thisDo this
    Change the assignment templateIn the Assignment Templates Manager, click Edit for the template.
    Change the current assignment only

    In the Assignment Editor, click Edit Settings.

    If the assignment used a template, the settings from the selected template become editable in the Assignment Editor and the template is no longer used.

  2. If needed, expand the Display & Syntax Errors settings.
  3. Select Override class settings.
  4. Under Syntax Errors, select or clear for numerical questions, for symbolic questions, or for algebraic questions.
    These options apply only when question part submission is selected. When assignment or question submission is required, syntax errors are always counted as incorrect submissions.
  5. Click Save.