Question types: Pattern match

Maintained by Tim at Lone Pine Koala SanctuaryTim Hunt, Picture of Phil ButcherPhil Butcher
Allows a short response of one or a few sentences that is graded by comparing against various model answers, which are described using the OU's pattern match syntax.
1322 sites
34 fans
Current versions available: 8

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 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
Picture of Colin Chambers
Colin Chambers: Developer
Picture of John Beedell
John Beedell: Developer
Picture of Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson: Product owner
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  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:54 PM
    This is something we want to investigate when we have time. I can't guess when that might be. But, thank you for your enthusiasm for this question type.
  • Picture of Sakshi Goel
    Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 5:32 PM
    Hello ,

    Is Pattern match question type compatible with moodle 3.3
  • Picture of J P
    Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 5:48 PM
    We are using successfully on 3.2.2
  • Picture of Gavin Botten
    Tue, Nov 7, 2017, 7:28 PM

    Yes it works fine in 3.3, it's only issue is with the Moodle Mobile App, but I'm sure these guys will get that sorted out when they have the chance.
  • Picture of Serge Fleussu
    Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 5:48 PM

    I encountered a little problem (and did not find any mention of it in forums) :

    The environment :
    Moodle 3.3.3+ (Build 20171201) (on Ubuntu 16.04.3 with MySQL 14.14 dist 5.7.21, php 5.6.33-3)
    Plugin qtype_combined 1.6 (2017061400)
    Plugin qtype_pmatch 2.0 (201608400)

    The problem :
    Make a first question Q1 of type combined with at least 2 entries PM1 & PM2 (PM1 and PM2 could be numeric or pmatch)
    Duplicate the question Q1 and obtain a new question Q2.
    Change question Q2 directly (without saving and editing) : delete in HTML the link to PM1 and change weighting to match 100%
    DO NOT "Verify the question text and update the form" and just "Save changes"
    You obtain a warning text "One or more embedded questions have been removed ..."
    Clic "Save changes" again
    Edit the question Q1 : the Answer for PM1 has been deleted (both answers for PM2 in Q1 and Q2 are OK).

    This leads (if you don't edit the Q1 and reencode the answer for PM1 again) to an error message when trying to pass a test that includes Q1 : "Coding error detected, it must be fixed by a programmer: This question is of a type that is not installed on your system. No processing is possible." and the test is not usable.

    Note:solution is to click "Verify the question..." and then answer for PM1 is not lost in Q1 but this is a bit annoying. You can also save the question Q2 without changing it directly and edit it and then all is OK too.

    I confirm that this great plugin is working well (except this issue) on Moodle 3.3.3+.

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 7:21 PM
    So, acutally, this looks like a bug in qtype_combined, not pmatch. Anyway, I can reproduce this. Thank you for reporting this. Very nasty bug.
  • Picture of Giovanni Fulantelli
    Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 3:56 PM
    Great plug-in! Is it compatible with Moodle 3.4?
    Any hope to have it running in the Moodle mob app?
  • Picture of Sebastian H.
    Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 8:00 PM
    Is there a chance to get it working under 3.4?

    Best regards and thanks
  • Picture of John Beedell
    Fri, Apr 27, 2018, 8:37 PM
    Sebastian, I've just checked on 3.4 and 3.5beta (current master branch) and it works. Was there a specific problem?
  • Picture of Sebastian H.
    Mon, May 14, 2018, 10:22 PM
    Hello John,
    we're planning to update from 3.1 to 3.4 and I pre-checked the compatibility-statements of our plugins. Glad to hear that it works, there was no specific problem. Thanks and best regards.
  • Picture of Adriano Ceccarelli
    Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Hi All,
    Pattern match is a very powerful resource, saving time and also allowing for some introspective journey into the structure of language, something that being busy all the time (with grading open questions for example...) is becoming increasingly rare. So thanks for giving us this possibility at the same time!
    However there is a potential risk in case the question is of the type "give a definition of.....[anything]" as it is possible, and very quick too, to open a wikipedia page, look for the wanted definition and paste it into the answer field. Many wikipedia pages start with short definitions, very often within the limit of 20 words suggested by the PM syntax help and inevitably matching the pattern set in the question rules. This can be worked around with formative quizzes (e.g interactive with multiple tries) where the feedback could state the wikipedia origin and the quiz ask for editing the answer, but in case of summative quizzes with deferred feedback I couldn't find a way to obtain the same (state the wikipedia origin + ask and allow for an editing), and in principle anyone with appropriate knowledge could generate the same sentence. Anyone experiencing the same problem or having already solved this issue?
    Many thanks
  • Picture of Marcus Green
    Wed, May 15, 2019, 9:12 PM
    Would it be possible to change the link to documentation to ?
  • Picture of Jocelyn Chappaz
    Wed, Aug 21, 2019, 9:21 PM
    Hi. I'm on moodle 3.5.5+ and trying to upgrade your plug in to 2019071200. It is stuck on "upgrade settings.php" part... and I can't undo the upgrade, can't get back, can't go on... my moodle is stuck because of it. I've loaded a backup but the database is still in "update" mode, so I got no way to get out of this... and I need to work on it tomorrow... please help...
  • Picture of Jocelyn Chappaz
    Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 9:25 PM
    After more than 10 hours trying to solve this problem or bypass it... I'm still stuck with my moodle broken... please help
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 9:29 PM
    Sorry. I have been busy with other issues. Your options include: Trying to go back to a previous version of the plugin; trying to set these settings directly in the database, if you can work ou which setting is causing the problem; wait for a proper fix.

    For some bugs, you look at the reported symptoms, and it is just obvious how you screwed up. In other cases, and sadly this is one, the symptoms make no sense until you have time to dig into it deeply, then hpefully, you can work it out and fix the problem.
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