Regular expression short answer

Question types ::: qtype_regexp
Maintained by Joseph Rézeau, Nicolas Dunand
This question type (for the Moodle quiz module) aims at a more advanced system of student's response analysis, through the use of regular expresssions. This question type is an extension of the SHORTANSWER type. It can be used on its own and can also be incorporated into the existing Cloze (embedded) question type.
Latest release:
1022 sites
39 fans
Current versions available: 5

Like the Short Answer question, the RegExp Short Answer question expects the respondent to answer an "open" question with a word or a short phrase. However, the RegExp system system gives you access to a more powerful system for analyzing the student's answers with the aim of providing more relevant immediate feedback.


This plugin is part of set Regular expression questions.


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1


Joseph Rézeau (Lead maintainer): Original author
CSE Université de Lausanne: Supporting institution
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  • Gavin Botten
    Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 6:32 PM
    Hi guys, I've come across a really interesting anomaly, it isn't REALLY a problem, but the functionality would be a great benefit, if you could get it to work properly in the App as well as in a web browser.

    Anyways, this is the "issue", one of my teachers added underscores(_) where her answers were supposed to be in the "Short Answer" question, the effect this had, is to place the Text Box in the place where the underscores were typed, this in itself, is an AWESOME feature as it means that you could put the box where you want it in a sentence to fill in a missing word or something like that, and it works GREAT in chrome, if you click on the box, it allows you to enter the word, and when you click on the finish attempt/Next button, it saves your answer, which means that it will allow you to submit the answer, however, when you do the same in the latest Moodle App(3.5.2), whether it is the android, iOS or Desktop, it does not save the answer and therefore does not submit an answer when you submit your quiz, just a side note, this problem does not exist in the Moodle Classic App, as the answer box still appears at the bottom of the question regardless of whether you add the underscores or not, in fact the Moodle Classic App does not even show the underscores at all.

    Like I said, this is an awesome feature, whether it was intended or not, and I would really like to see it added into the question type if possible, otherwise, would it be possible to remove the underscore "issue" completely, so that the underscore is visible, instead of the Text Box.

    We are currently running Moodle Web v3.5.2 and the same for Moodle Mobile App.
  • spoony liu
    Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 12:31 AM
    I updated moodle to 3.7, students can't see the small popup window upon mouse hovering for Cloze using RA or RX. I'm sure that questiontype.php and renderer.php need to be updated.

  • Yulia Ponomarenko
    Thu, Jul 4, 2019, 1:52 AM
    Thank you for the plugin! I want to ask, why are meta characters allowed in incorrect, but not in accepted answers? Why aren't they allowed in the first answer? Is there some technical reason for that?
  • Joseph Rézeau
    Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 11:14 PM
    The reason is that introducing meta characters in the correct answers might introduce an infinity of correct formulations. My question type only deals with a finite number of CORRECT answers ... and potentially an infinite number of INCORRECT answers.
  • bala chandra
    Tue, Oct 15, 2019, 2:50 PM
    Hello, I am trying to have atto editor for the regular expression.. for answers especially, I have changed the $answeroptions[] = $mform->createElement('text', to $answeroptions[] = $mform->createElement('editor'
    But, I am facing some issues when editing the same question again, it returns blank editor. but, when it is text it works properly...
    could you please guide.
  • mario gharib
    Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 7:59 PM
    Dear @Joseph Rézeau

    Is this a free plugin ?

  • Joseph Rézeau
    Sun, Jul 5, 2020, 5:41 AM
    Yes, it's free, of course!
  • Jeffrey Bannister
    Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:59 PM
    Dear Community,
    Has anyone experienced issues with upgrading to Moodle 3.9 and the plugin?
    I am using "RX" type questions in Cloze tests however since upgrading, I have two issues:
    1) When creating new questions, it does not detect that there are any embedded questions when using type RX
    2) For existing questions, I get the error "Coding error detected, it must be fixed by a programmer: PHP catchable fatal error" when I display the quiz
    Thanks for your help.
  • Joseph Rézeau
    Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 12:56 AM
    Just sent private e-mail to Jeffrey
  • Nicolas Dunand
    Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 9:16 PM
    @Joseph I was just contacted with a similar issue, that will hopefully be posted here too. How was this catchable error issue fixed ?
  • Nicolas Dunand
    Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 3:27 AM
    Merci Joseph, will do!
  • Andrew Lian
    Sat, May 14, 2022, 12:00 AM
    Bonjour Joseph,
    I have just discovered this plugin and I am very interested in it. I am particularly interested in the automatic feedback provided by the system as in your screenshot #1. I have experimented with your examples in the documentation pages and everything works except for the automatic feedback and colour coding. Do you have any useful hints for this issue? I am using moodle 4.0 and the Tréma theme. I have also tested with the Adaptable theme just in case the problem was theme related.
    Merci de votre assistance.
    PS I hope this reaches you.
  • Ludger R
    Thu, Aug 18, 2022, 1:33 AM
    Hi, this seems to be my best try to get short answer fields with multiple answers where the order doesn't matter.
    But does it work with cloze in version 4.0 as well? In the documentation you're only talking about older versions.

  • Joseph Rézeau
    Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 1:10 AM
    Unfortunately there have been many changes to the EMBEDDED ANSWERS / CLOZE question type in Moodle 4. I'm afraid my little hack will no longer work. I spent all afternoon to try to adapt it but to no avail. Sorry!
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