Question types: Pattern match

Maintained by Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Tim Hunt, Picture of Phil Butcher Phil 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.
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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
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  • Picture of Phil Butcher
    Wed, 15 Jul 2015, 3:21 AM
    Should of course have added the o and w matching options too so that any order of 'y decreases x increases' will work as well as allowing extra words. So complete it's match_owp0 (x_inc* y_dec*). Will that do what you want?
  • Picture of Joe Harris
    Wed, 15 Jul 2015, 8:55 PM
    Hi Phil,
    Thanks, the minimal working example always elucidates things! My syntax was off in the match. Should have read the documentation more thoroughly!
  • Picture of umapathi duttuluru
    Thu, 19 Nov 2015, 8:03 PM
    Hi Tim/jamie/jil,

    Thanks for your hardwork providing us pattern match question type

    I have tried to create the pattern match question type when i entered the text "match_mow(Talk about what happened to the rooms in the house and why they couldn’t stay in a hotel Use two sentences)" in the "Answer" field then click "Submit".

    It shows error message "Missing closing bracket in code fragment "match_mow(Talk about what happened to the rooms in the house and why they couldn".

    Please let us know how to allow single quotes like "couldn’t".

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, 19 Nov 2015, 10:39 PM
    I think you escape single quotes with a \. So couldn\’t

    Note that the question type works better if you just try to match the keywords, not every word in the sentence.
  • Picture of umapathi duttuluru
    Sat, 21 Nov 2015, 5:56 PM
    Hi TIm,

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    "match_mow(Talk about what happened to the rooms in the house and why they couldn’t stay in a hotel Use two sentences)"

    Sorry in the above content it is not "single quote" it is given as a "left single curly quote"

    ‘ ‘ ‘ left single curly quote

    Thanks for your help.

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Tue, 24 Nov 2015, 2:02 AM
    Sorry, I am not sure without some in-depth debugging that I don't have time to try now.

    Can you just avoid using that character?
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, 4 Aug 2016, 11:08 PM
    I have just pushed a major set of changes which adds helpful tools for teachers creating questions, and verifying that they work as expected. That is all thanks to the hard work of John Bedell and Colin Chambers.
  • Picture of J P
    Mon, 12 Jun 2017, 5:22 PM
    Guys, great plugin, thank you for the effort put in here.

    Is there a max number of answers that can be used? Does performance get affected?

    I'll find out shortly I guess, am about to try 100+ answers. Will feedback.
  • Picture of Gavin Botten
    Mon, 16 Oct 2017, 7:37 PM
    Afternoon Guys

    Let me start by saying I love this question type, however, we have one issue with it, because it is not Moodle Mobile App compatible, we are not able to make use of it. Our school just recently implemented the Drag & Drop type questions into our quizzes, and thanks to a bug, they are not usable in Chrome on android devices(don't know who to contact about this), so while I'm chomping at the bit to teach my English teachers how to use your Patter Match question, IT does not work and is not supported by the Moodle Mobile App.

    Please could you guys look into this for us and give me some feedback as to whether you will be making it App friendly, I really hope you do because I think that our English teachers could make good use of it.

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Mon, 16 Oct 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, 3 Nov 2017, 5:32 PM
    Hello ,

    Is Pattern match question type compatible with moodle 3.3
  • Picture of J P
    Fri, 3 Nov 2017, 5:48 PM
    We are using successfully on 3.2.2
  • Picture of Gavin Botten
    Tue, 7 Nov 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, 8 Feb 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, 8 Feb 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.
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