Question types ::: qtype_shortmath
Maintained by André Storhaug, George Schaathun
A question type for writing beautiful mathematical expressions using MathQuill. This question type is an extension of the shortanswer question type.
Latest release:
338 sites
20 fans
Current versions available: 2

What is it?

The plugin is based on the short answer question type, but the students enter their response in a maths editor. The student interface is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

The editor interface is provided by MathQuill, which produces LaTeX code that is used as the internal representation. Rendering relies on MathJax which provides mathematically correct visual rendering.

ShortMath has been designed for use with JazzQuiz, where auto-grading is not used. However, if desired, auto-grading based on syntactic string match on the LaTeX code is supported.

See also


Documentation is available here, including installation instructions.


Project lead: Hans Georg Schaathun

Developer: André Storhaug


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André Storhaug (Lead maintainer)
George Schaathun
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  • Mon, Dec 24, 2018, 5:09 AM
    Please see CONTRIB-7462 for a summary of the review status on this plugin - thanks!
  • Fri, Jul 5, 2019, 8:59 AM
    I love this plugin, the interfase is amazing, but i think, i would be better if the plugin has an option to add random parameters for the constants of the expressions.
  • Mon, Jul 8, 2019, 3:41 PM
    We are working on an extension of STACK, using the same GUI editor for the answer. We are working together with the STACK development team on this. Hopefully, STACK will provide what you want in the future. Unfortunately, there are several challenges to resolve before it all works together, so I am unable to give a time frame for the project.
  • Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Is it possible to allow for a range of values in a constant? For example 2.1 +/- 0.1
  • Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 8:00 PM
    No, it isn't.ShortMath is not designed for autograding, but rather for in-class discussion where the answer is debated rather than cast in the digital stone.

    We are working on an adaptation of STACK, using the same front-end as ShortMath with the advanced auto-grading backend of STACK. If you could send me a complete sample question with desired grading behaviour, we can have a look to see if it can be implemented easily in STACK. If you want to try for yourself, the current alpha version is here: It will take time before we see it incorporated in the official STACK because it depends on multiple refactoring exercises.

    If the student answers with only a single floating point number, you do not need the maths editor. I would suggest to use calculated instead, or possibly, STACK. They allow you to set tolerance freely.
  • Sun, May 17, 2020, 4:20 PM
    How can I customize the symbol menu to my needs?
  • Mon, May 18, 2020, 11:09 PM
    Sorry, we have not really thought about that yet.
    Exactly how configurable do you want it to be?

    We are working on a similar front-end interface on top of STACK where we have implemented a couple of alternative toolbars, and I think we can copy that feature across fairly easily. It would be rather limited configuration possibilities though.
  • Sun, May 24, 2020, 4:48 PM
    Some symbols are unnecessary, others are missing. This is essential for students who do not know TeX. E.g. empty set symbol. In addition, the system interprets the notation "\ emptyset" as "\ varnothing", which causes problems in evaluating the correct answers.
    I would like to define which symbols will be visible in the symbol menu, according to the needs of the question.
    I will try the STACK plugin, maybe it will be a solution ...
    Thank you.
  • Mon, May 25, 2020, 6:37 PM
    STACK will not solve your problem, yet.
    We have made a fork of STACK, here:
    The fork has a similar GUI frontend to ShortMath. We are (have been) in dialog with the STACK team about integration, but they are in the middle of a massive refactoring exercise. It will make more sense, and be easier, to add GUI formula editing after the refactoring. Unfortunately, it takes longer than we originally hoped.

    Our fork is still very limited with respect to the desired customisation, but since we are hoping to integrate with the official STACK, we are not motivated to improve it until we know and risk double work in the integration later.

    When it comes to ShortMath, it was created for a particular use case, namely JazzQuiz. My experience from class was that ASCII coding of formulæ worked very well in practice, and the GUI was not really necessary. Admittedly, I did not auto-grade, so the ASCII coding did not have to be consistent. Nevertheless, I can see what we can do over the summer.
  • Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 6:59 PM

    There is a problem with ShortMath questions. I don't know if it is a problem that my administrator can solve or not (I already contacted) but I post the problem here too.

    I can't duplicate quizzes with a ShortMath question (dmlreadexception error). The problem is that I also can't make a course backup with the question bank (same error).

    Does anyone know how to solve it? I want to help my administrator with some information about it.
  • Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 5:18 PM
    It sounds like a possible problem with the backup functions. We are looking into it.
  • 2018-2019
    Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 9:58 AM
    I was wondering if a solution to the problem brought up by Javi on 6/3/2020 is in the process of being resolved. I had the same issue in 3.9.2. I had to uninstall ShortMath to resolve the issue, but I'd love to be able to use it again.
  • Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 11:01 PM
    New release today, solving the backup problem.
  • 2018-2019
    Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 9:39 AM
    I am now able to duplicate a test with a ShortMath question on it and I was able to back up my course! Thank you so much! As an algebra teacher, this question type is invaluable!!!
  • Fri, Sep 3, 2021, 3:45 AM
    Hello! First of all, thank you so much for the plugin.

    But unfortunately I have a problem. I added a button to the default template and I want to delete it, 'cause it doesn't work properly. Is there a way?
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