Create Ranking Questions

Ranking questions require your students to put a list of items in the correct sequence based on some characteristic of the items.

If you can think about the sequence in which you want your students to rank items as its own list — from low to high, or some other progression based on the ranking characteristic — you can see your ranking question as a special case of a matching question, with the ranking characteristic defining the left list and the items to be ranked as the right list.

To create a ranking question:

  1. Decide how you want to identify the endpoints for ranking, and if you need to label any other points in the series. For example, you might want to use "dimmest" and "brightest" as endpoints, or you might want your students to rank items from 1 to 10. The list describing your ranking characteristic does not need to specify text for every item being ranked.
  2. Click Questions > Create. The Question Editor opens.
  3. In Name, type a name for the question.
  4. In Mode, select Matching.
  5. In Question, type your question.
  6. In Answer, type the following code:
    <eqn $ORDERLEFT=1; ''>
  7. On the same line, type the first item in your ranking characteristic list, followed by the characters {tab} and the item having the corresponding rank. Then, press Enter.

    For example, if you were ranking types of electromagnetic radiation by energy levels and the lowest energy item was microwave:

    <eqn $ORDERLEFT=1; ''><i>lowest</i> {tab} microwave    
    Note:
    • To add the {tab} operator, either type the characters {tab} or click Add tab.You cannot enter {tab} by pressing the Tab key.
    • 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.
    • Because second-column items are displayed in a drop-down list, they are displayed without any text formatting. If you need to include text formatting, such as chemical or math notation, see Match Formatted Notation or Images.
  8. Type successive items in your ranking characteristic list on separate lines, each followed by the characters {tab} and the item having the corresponding rank. Press Enter after each line.
    Important: If your ranking characteristic list does not specify text for every item being ranked — for example, in the middle of a ranking from slowest to fastest — type &nbsp; for the ranking characteristic list item. This will ensure that the list item is displayed correctly.
  9. After typing the final ranking characteristic followed by {tab} and the final item to be ranked, do not press ENTER. Unlike other matching questions, ranking questions must have the same number of items in both lists.
  10. 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.

  11. Click Test/Preview to test the appearance and behavior of the question. See Test Questions.
  12. Click Redisplay to show certain kinds of errors in the Display section of the Question Editor. Make any needed changes to your question.
  13. 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.
  14. 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 Ranking Question

The following table summarizes an actual question.

QID

1078579

Name

Template2 2.RANK.01.

Mode

Matching

Question

Rank the following types of electromagnetic radiation from lowest 
energy to highest energy.

Answer

<eqn $ORDERLEFT=1; ''><i>lowest</i> {tab} microwave
&nbsp; {tab} infrared
&nbsp; {tab} visible
&nbsp; {tab} ultraviolet
<i>highest</i> {tab} x-ray

Display to Students

Question as displayed to students

Example Ranking Question with Equality

Sometimes, you need to allow your students to specify multiple items as being equal to each other in rank. You can use distractors to facilitate this behavior. The following table summarizes an actual question.

QID

1247378

Name

Template2 2.RANK.02.

Mode

Matching

Question

The figure shows a series of sound waves leaving a moving source.
<div class="indent"><userimage(103873)></div>
Rank the locations by frequency heard by a stationary listener at 
each letter location.

Answer

<eqn $ORDERLEFT=1; ''><i>lowest</i> {tab} B
&nbsp; {tab} A and D
&nbsp; {tab} C
<i>highest</i> {tab} E
A
D
A and B
A and C
A and E
B and C
B and D
B and E
C and D
C and E
D and E

Display to Students

Question as displayed to students