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.
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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
Picture of Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson: Product owner
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  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Thu, Aug 4, 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, Jun 12, 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, Oct 16, 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, 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 ?
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