edX Syntax #

To create an edX problem using the MITx Grading Library, you need to create a "Blank Advanced Problem", which allows you to construct the problem description via XML. The library is used in customresponse problems, which means that there are two parts to setting up the problem: defining the input that the student sees, and defining the grader that will grade the result. Here is an example.

<problem>

<!-- Define the grader -->
<script type="text/python">
from mitxgraders import *
grader = FormulaGrader(variables=["x"])
</script>

  <!-- Ask the question -->
  <p>Enter the derivative of \(x^2\).</p>

  <!-- Define the problem -->
  <customresponse cfn="grader" answer="2*x">
    <textline math="true" />
  </customresponse>

  <!-- Ask another question -->
  <p>Enter the derivative of \(5x^2\).</p>

  <!-- Define the problem. Note that the grader is reused -->
  <customresponse cfn="grader" answer="10*x">
    <textline math="true" />
  </customresponse>

</problem>

Note that the customresponse tag contains the answer that is passed to the grader. You can also use expect="2*x" instead of answer="2*x"; edX treats these parameters indistinguishably (although we strongly suggest not using both!). Also note that a grader can be used multiple times if desired.

Using an answers key to a grader #

If you provide an answers key to the grader, it will ignore whatever is specified in the customresponse tag. Here is an example.

<problem>

<script type="text/python">
from mitxgraders import *
mygrader = FormulaGrader(
    answers={'expect': '2*x', 'msg': 'Good job!'},
    variables=['x']
)
</script>

  <p>Enter the derivative of \(x^2\).</p>

  <customresponse cfn="mygrader" answer="2*x">
    <textline math="true" />
  </customresponse>

</problem>

The answers key is provided to the grader explicitly, and so it ignores whatever is in the customresponse tag. However, the answer key in the customresponse tag is still important, because it is what the students see when they click on "Show Answer".

Also worth noting is that the grader is stored in a python variable, which in this example, we've called mygrader (the previous example just called it grader). The cfn key in the customresponse tag needs to tell edX which variable stores the grader you want to use for that problem. If you have multiple customresponse tags, you can provide a different grader to each one.

Using correct_answer for multiple inputs #

If you are using multiple inputs (such as when using a ListGrader), you must provide the answers key to the grader explicitly, as the expect or answer parameters in the customresponse tag are ignored by both edX and the grader. When using multiple inputs, it's recommended to provide a correct_answer parameter on the textline tags, which is what is used to show students the correct answer. Here is an example.

<problem>
<script type="text/python">
from mitxgraders import *
grader = ListGrader(
    answers=['x-2', 'x+2'],
    subgraders=FormulaGrader(variables=['x'])
)
</script>

  <p>What are the linear factors of \((x^2 - 4)\)? Enter your answers in any order.</p>

  <!-- Note there is no 'expect' or 'answer' parameter in the customresponse tag -->
  <customresponse cfn="grader">
    <!-- correct_answer is shown to student when they press [Show Answer].
         Its value is not used for grading purposes -->
    <textline math="true" correct_answer="x - 2" />
    <textline math="true" correct_answer="x + 2" />
  </customresponse>

</problem>

Note that the correct_answer parameters are never sent to the grader, which is why you must provide them independently.

When using lists, such as with a ListGrader or a SingleListGrader, you only need to provide an answers key to the top-level grader (the one that is specified in the cfn key).

Passing a grader directly #

Because the cfn parameter of the customresponse tag is executed as python code, it is possible to provide the definition of the grader in-line, as the following example shows.

<problem>

<!-- Make sure to remember to import the library! -->
<script type="text/python">
from mitxgraders import *
</script>

  <p>Enter the derivative of \(x^2\).</p>

  <customresponse cfn="FormulaGrader(variables=['x'])" answer="2*x">
    <textline math="true" />
  </customresponse>

</problem>

We want to stress the simplicity of this example compared to implementing the same problem using standard edX problem types! This method of defining a grader is very handy for simple grader constructions such as this one. For more complex graders, we recommend the previous style. One must be careful to make sure that quotation marks ' and " do not conflict if using the in-line method.