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Question types: Combined

Maintained by Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Tim Hunt, Picture of Phil Butcher Phil Butcher, Picture of Jamie Pratt Jamie Pratt
A Moodle question type which allows questions to be built up from parts that are other simpler question types (requires you to have these question types installed)

There are working examples in eAssessment with Moodle on our OpenLearn site.

The documentation is in How to create questions in Moodle on that site.

This question types uses other question types as sub questions. It allows you to have one or more entry fields for any of these question types embedded in your question text. You must have at least one of these question types installed for this combined question type to work :

Here is an example of a question where a teacher has combined 1 variable numeric, 1 pmatch, 1 multiple response and 1 select missing word sub question in one combined question.

Example of a combined question



This plugin is part of set Open University.


Screenshot #0


Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Tim Hunt (Lead maintainer)
Picture of Phil Butcher
Phil Butcher: Question type designer
Picture of Jamie Pratt
Jamie Pratt: Developer
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  • Picture of Phil Butcher
    Wed, Sep 18, 2013, 9:33 PM
    I deliberately left variables out of the specification because I thought that adding them in would make the form too complex for most users.
  • Picture of Jamie Pratt
    Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 11:51 AM
    There are two possibilities I can think of for how we might allow for the creation of more complex questions with more options but at the same time keep the question creation forms simple for beginners. We might just use the 'Show advanced' feature of Moodle forms to initially hide some settings in the form until the show advanced button is pressed.

    And / or it would be possible to allow for more than one embed code per question type. We could create a second code for the varnumeric question type that if included in the question text brings up a more complex form. So 'numeric' would bring up the simpler form and 'varnumeric' would allow for the use of variables as well.

    The behaviour of each of the embed codes is controlled by plug-ins. I'm not sure if write now it would be possible to just write a new plug in to add a more complex varnumeric sub question type or whether some changes would be needed to the combined question type itself.

    Allowing the creation of more complex sub questions is a much requested feature. Someone else asked if it was possible to allow for different grades for different answers for text sub questions. Again this might be solved by creating a new sub question type with a different type code used to embed the question.
  • Picture of Fabien C
    Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 6:11 AM
    Thanks for your answers, both possibilities would be great.
  • Picture of Ian Hunt
    Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 4:31 AM
    As an organic chemist, the example was right on home turf smile
    Any plan to integrate other question subtypes ? I'd really like to see the molecule drawing type in this type of application. For example, we ask students to solve a molecule from a set of spectra. They are required to draw the answer, but I'd like to get them to enter other data too that they have extracted from the spectra.
  • Picture of Phil Butcher
    Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 5:16 PM
    As an ex-physical chemist I'm glad you like it.

    We are working on methods for stringing together sequences of questions yet allowing those questions to be fetched from pools - so the first question is chosen randomly from one pool then the next is chosen from the second pool using some criterion linking it to the first, ditto for the third question etc. So you can then have a pool of molecules to draw and then follow with other questions for the same molecule. And you will be able to block q2 until the student has answered q1.

    You can see that we have to get the form redesign right so that we don't scare folks off. We are not going to hit Moodle 2.7 but Tim Hunt and his team are working hard to get it into Moodle 2.8.
  • Picture of Phil Butcher
    Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 5:17 PM
    Oh and I should have added that we also intend to switch our Pattern match with JME to use JSME.
  • Picture of Laurence Dohogne
    Wed, Oct 1, 2014, 3:27 PM
    We tried to install the Combined plugin on two Moodle installations running Moodle 2.7.2+ . On the first one, we only get 1:selectmenu:1 available and on the second one the "OU multiple response" is missing. We installed varnumeric on both installations. What can be wrong ? Thanks.
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Wed, Oct 1, 2014, 9:10 PM
    It should detect and use whichever other questions types are installed (out of variablenumericset, oumultiresponse, gapselect and pattern match). If it does not do that, I can't think why.

    Can you go to Admin -> Notifications to verify that everything is properly installed. Also check Admin -> Plugins -> Plugins overview.

    Also, turn on DEVELOPER Debugging to see if that gives any helpful error messages.
  • Picture of Madhusudan Singh
    Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 5:13 PM
    Any chance that I could use this to combine the core essay type with the core calculated type (with wildcards) questions?
  • Picture of Phil Butcher
    Fri, Oct 31, 2014, 1:27 AM
    When we designed the combined question we accepted that we would have to lose some of the functionality of the underlying question types otherwise our authors would be overwhelmed by the form. So although we include the OU's variable numeric as one of the sub-questions it has been stripped of the 'variable' bit. And I think that's what you'd find if you tried to add all features of the underlying sub-questions.
  • Picture of Kim Diana
    Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 3:32 PM
    I tried to apply this type to shortanswer(question type). I did make 'shortanswer' folder into 'combinable' folder. And then copied 'combinablebase.php' file into 'shortanswer' folder mistakenly.... When I tried to make 'combined' question type, I saw error msg(HTTP 500 error). So uninstall Combined question type and Install again! But it doesn't help ! I still see the error message. Please help me how I can fix it. I cannot use this wonderful question type again! (I have already installed pmatch, varnumeriset and varnumeric plugins and they have combinable folder in themselves)
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 3:16 AM
    To fix the error, you need to undo all the changes you made. Did you keep careful notes? Or take a back-up before you started? If you want more help, I suggest you post in the quiz forum
  • Picture of Kim Diana
    Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 10:31 PM
    I uninstalled and install again but it doesn't help. Whenever I click 'Combined' question type to create new question, it shows a blank page...
    I will post on the forum. Thank you Tim
  • Picture of Jarreau Mathys
    Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 10:48 PM
    When will you update for 3.0. It seems to move certain question types around causing errors after plug in instal.
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 11:32 PM
    Ah yes. When the drag-drop question types were added to Moodle core, the 'combinable' bits were removed. We need a new release of the Combined question type to include those bits, in order for it to be 3.0 compatible. Sorry about that. I will try to do it soon.

    Thank you for reporting this problem.
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