# Quizzes.Next: Numerical answers need greater dynamic range

Thank you, Canvas, for deploying scientific notation in Numerical Answer questions. However, the system is rounding and truncating in a way that sets too many values to zero. For example, create a numerical question, and enter "1E-5" as one of the Exact Answers. Canvas will substitute zero for the answer. It is common in physics and chemistry for answers to be much smaller numbers than this. For example, the gravitational force between two humans separated by 1 meter is in the range 4E-7 Newtons. Other questions might yield answers much smaller than that, say in the range 1E-20 to 1E-30 (I would suggest a limit in the range of 1E-40 to 1E-50). Can Numerical Answer calculations be changed to double-precisions variables or whatever it takes? Thanks!

Community Novice

This issue is causing me a lot of grief as well.  Numbers should not be rounded to zero just because they are smaller than 0.0001!  The inability to have a formula question with an answer whose scientific form has a negative exponent is crushing my soul.  =\  Electrons, protons, & neutrons may be small, but they still matter!

Community Member

"Still matter" is kind of punny since it is science. I agree doing Physics and Math that there is a need for smaller numbers and negative exponent. In the mean time, I've instructed my students to enter scientific notation like this : 6.28*10^-12

I used fill in the blank and round to two decimals. This gets a little tricky if pi is involved like electricity and math, but for the most part it has been working as long as I put the effort in to math all the possibilities my students can come up with on the front side... Good Luck and UP VOTE!

Community Novice

Agreed. Allowing very small numbers is especially important in both physics and chemistry--in all sciences! In physics, the charge on an electron is VERY small and students sometimes need to use the value (9.11 x 10E-31) to calculate the force between two charges.

Community Novice

There's also a limit to large numbers: the exponent only goes up to 99. This should be fixed.

Community Participant

with the same topic comes the need to allow relative (percentage) tolerance margins, instead of just fixed ones. Consider calculated questions where the individual answers span over a factor of 10 or more, than an absolute accuracy of +/- x does not make sense.

Community Participant

today I accidentally found out that the tolerance field actually accepts relative values, e.g. "5%" - why is this feature nowhere documented?

The answer_tolerance property is not even mentioned in the API documentation?

Community Member
Author

That would be astonishing. And if I put in 5%, is that 5% of the correct answer, or a fixed value of 0.05? At this point I trust nothing.

Mark Hurwitz

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Community Participant

I learned to not trust anything, therefore I made a quick test. I made a question, two variables A and B and the result should be the produkt A*B.

Entering 5% gives you a margin of +-5% of the correct value, which is also then written out in the corrected results overview after the quiz.

So YES, it is a percentage value of the correct answer which will be accepted.

Community Participant

Community Member
Author

I do not see this option. When I create a numerical question, the answer must fall within a range, or be an "exact answer" with an "error margin." If I put (for example) 3% in the "error margin," Canvas ignores the % symbol and simply treats it as +/- 3. How do you get to the word "tolerance?"

Community Participant

That's weird, I can just simply enter e.g. 5% and Canvas does not ignore anything but gladly accepts the percentage sign and value. I have my course and my sandbox on instructure's own server - could it be that you are using a different version of the framework?

### Giving a correct answer - 36 is within 10%

Community Participant

...and I now see that this was the comment on quizzes.next to which I do not have access because I am using the free Canvas platform waiting for our university to give us teachers finally access to the on-site version of Canvas.

However, until quizzes.next at least reaches the current status of the old quizzes in Canvas I hope that nobody at Instructure is stupid enough to flip the switch and make quizzes.next the new current frontend.

From what I can see in the forums and FAQs quizzes.next is in an early alpha-stage at best.

Community Team

Please take a look at the Canvas Release Notes (2019-06-01)‌: Numeric Question Scientific Notation Responses.

Community Participant

... the release notes say nothing about relative tolerance margins on the results though, which makes wide range answers still not very useful - and those are the only ones where scientific notation would be recommended...

Community Participant

Numeric questions are a bad joke! I miss Moodle.

Community Contributor

I sat with a math teacher yesterday who basically said, "If you're wondering why secondary math teachers aren't using Canvas more, it's because it doesn't support math notation everywhere that it needs to." For example, if a student can't enter true math notation in a fill in the blank answer response in New Quizzes, it's of no use to a math teacher needing Canvas to auto-grade student responses. While the essay option might provide this functionality, teachers don't want to manually grade up to 180 students' free responses on a digital assessment. Is this on the radar for New Quizzes enhancements?

Community Participant

To what I can see someone at Instructure is pushing really hard to phase out the traditional quizzes which have a mature API and replace it with the "New Quizzes" which are immature, incomplete, don't have an API, don't have a documentation, are not directly import/exportable with the rest of the course content.

At the same time the development team behind the "New Quizzes" does not comment on questions in the forum...

Community Novice

Wow, I just encountered this issue and it blows my mind that Canvas won't accept scientific notation in formula questions!
Clearly this functionality is only intended for those who teach very low level math or science. How I am supposed to ask formula questions about numbers of molecules or atoms?

Community Explorer

Right now the Numeric question type in New Quizzes allow for one of the following types of answers:

1) Exact Response

2) Range of Response

3) Margin of Error

4) Precise Response

In many areas of STEM, a precise response is a requirement due to the rules of significant figures. The way grading works right now, if you specify a range (or margin) and precise response the item is marked as correct only if ONE of the conditions is correct. For example, if you gave a range from 1.05 to 1.15, it would mark an answer of 1.051 as correct. However, when considering significant figures this answer is actually INCORRECT. The only way to code a question like this right now is to specify 10 precise response answers instead of a range and precise response with 3 significant figures.

Users should be able to specify significant figures and one of the other three options. The logical structure should use an AND instead of an OR.

Instructure
Status changed to: Archived