Count Responses With Syntax Errors As Submissions for Assignments

Student responses to numerical or math questions that can't be graded because of syntax errors — for example, 2* — are never scored as correct. However, you can choose whether or not to count these responses toward students' used submissions when question part submission is allowed.

Note: Responses with syntax errors are always counted as submissions when assignment or question submission is required.

Syntax Errors

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

4&6

4.00

4+6

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 submissions, your students' used submissions is not increased for question parts with syntax errors.

Default Behaviors

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

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.

To change syntax error behavior for an assignment:

You can change these behaviors for your classes or for your assignments. Your assignment settings override your class settings. You can specify different behaviors for numerical, symbolic, or algebraic questions.
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.

  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 submissions.
  5. Click Save.