Thanks for the ringing endorsement! Glad to know that I am not the only one seeing this as an essential (must-have) feature. The absence of this really struck me as odd, given how much simpler (relatively speaking, compared to the code for a calculated type question) it must be to have a text box field included with each calculated type question.
In a month, I am supposed to conduct the final exam for my course, and I need to have this available/enabled in some way. I guess a workaround could be to create some dummy questions, which are essay type, have their grade contribution set to zero, and tell the students at exam time to go hunt for the corresponding essay type question to plug their reasoning or steps into. Since shuffle is on (and that is something I will not change), this could result in "question 18" (say), being the justification for the answer in question 3. Really untidy way of doing things, which is certain to lead to wasted student time, and needless time crunch as they frantically search for the right "question" to "answer".