WeBWorK Problems

revised error msg or custom hint

revised error msg or custom hint

by Dick Lane -
Number of replies: 1
If Library/LoyolaChicago/Precalc/Chap8Sec2/Q15.pg presents
    h(x) = 6 x^2 - 5
and student supplies  sqrt((x+5)/6)  for its inverse function (instead of NONE), the error message seen by the student says
    Your answer isn't a number (it looks like a formula that returns a number)

Although I know I can (eventually) write an answer checker which traps that particular response and supplies context-sensitive feedback,
(a)  what would be better feedback to this student?
(b)  are there simpler alternative answer checking which are pedagogically reasonable?

In reply to Dick Lane

Re: revised error msg or custom hint

by Gavin LaRose -
Hi Dick,

It looks to me as if the error message customization discussed at this problem techniques page might get part of the way to providing a better error message for the student. However, it doesn't address the questions of what better feedback would be and whether there is a better way to think about the answer checking in this case.

Another way to frame the problem would be to have a selector for "Does this function have an inverse?" and an answer blank for "If so, fill in the inverse; if not, leave the answer blank empty." But I'm not actually sure if we can ensure that the answer evaluator gets called (so that we could mark a blank answer correct) if there is no supplied answer. So that might not work.

Which is to say, I don't actually have an answer to your question, but maybe this will spur discussion.