Create mathPad Questions Using Symbolic Mode

You can create mathPad questions that use Symbolic mode to evaluate arithmetic and algebraic expressions, but not equations, for equivalency to the answer. Because responses are graded for mathematical equivalency, the form of the student's response is not considered. For example, 4x+12 would be equivalent to (x+3)4.

Note Do not require your students to use function notation in an answer. WebAssign cannot grade answers that use function notation.
  1. Click Questions > Create.
    The Question Editor opens.
  2. In Name, type a name for the question.
  3. In Mode, select Symbolic.
  4. In Question, type your question.
    • Use the answer placeholder string <_> to specify where the answer box should be displayed.
    • Be sure that your question identifies any variables that the student should use in their answer.
  5. In Answer, type the following items on a single line:
    <eqn $PAD='devmath'; ''>variable_list:answer_key

    where variable_list is a comma-delimited list of the variables used in the answer key, and answer_key specifies the correct answer to the problem in symbolic notation. For example:

    x_1, y_1, x_2, y_2: sqrt((x_1-x_2)^2 + (y_1-y_2)^2) 
    • If an answer extends beyond the right side of the Answer box, it is wrapped to the next line, but it is still considered a single line so long as you do not press ENTER.
    • For information about specifying answer keys for Symbolic questions, see Create Answer Keys for Questions Using Symbolic Mode.
  6. Optional: Type a Solution.

    The solution helps your students understand the steps they need to take to determine the correct answer to the question. Your assignment settings specify when to show the solution.

  7. Click Test/Preview to test the appearance and behavior of the question. See Test Questions.
  8. Click Redisplay to show certain kinds of errors in the Display section of the Question Editor. Make any needed changes to your question.
  9. Optional: Click Show Additional Information and change the question's sharing permission or add descriptive information.
    • By default, other instructors can use your question only if you provide them with the question ID, and only you can edit the question or find it in search results. To change the permission, see Share Questions With Other Instructors.
    • If you make your question publicly available, you might want to provide descriptive information to help others search for it. See Add Search Metadata to Questions.
  10. When your question displays and functions correctly, click Save.

    WebAssign assigns it a unique question ID (QID), which is displayed in parentheses after the question name.

    You can use your question in an assignment and see it in your My Questions list only after it is saved.

Example mathPad Question Using Symbolic Mode

The following table summarizes an actual question.




Template2 4.MATHP.01.




<watex>What is the formula for the distance \[d\] between the two 
points \[(x_1,y_1)\] and \[(x_2,y_2)\]?\\
\[ d = \] & <_>\\


<eqn $PAD='devmath'; ''> x_1,y_1,x_2,y_2:sqrt((x_2-x_1)^2+(y_2-

Display to Students

Question as displayed to students