How do I use the equivSymbolic mathematical scoring method when creating a math item?

When you create a math item in Mastery Connect, you can select one of the available mathematical scoring methods. The equivSymbolic scoring method checks that the answer entered by a student is mathematically equivalent to the correct answer entered by the item author, even if they are in different forms.

Use equivSymbolic when working with equations or expressions with variables where order or form is not important. For example, if the correct answer is 6, any response that is mathematically equal to 6 is scored as correct, such as 6/1, 12/2, 3+3, or 6.0. Refer to additional examples below.

The equivSymbolic scoring method supports additional options that let you override default scoring rules.


  • The equivSymbolic scoring method works with decimals, fractions, variables, and percentages.
  • The equivSymbolic scoring method works with trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential expressions.
  • You can combine the equivSymbolic scoring method with other scoring methods.

Create Math Item

Create Math Item Stem

Create or edit a math item. Learn more about creating a math formula item, image cloze math formula item, or cloze math Formula item.

Enter a question stem in the Compose question field [1]. You can also enter a formula template [2].

Select Method

Select equivSymbolic

In the Set correct answer(s) section, click the Method drop-down menu, and select the equivSymbolic option [1].

Note: To view the Method drop-down menu, you may need to click the response Expand icon [2].

Enter Correct Answer

Enter Correct Answer

Enter a point value for the item in the Point(s) box [1].

Enter a correct answer in the Value field [2].

A student answer is scored as correct if it is entered exactly as it appears in the Value field, or if it is mathematically equivalent to the correct answer in the Value field. For example, if the correct answer entered into the Value field is 1/3, a student answer is correct if it is 1/3 or .333333333 or 2/3 - 1/3 or any other expression that is mathematically equivalent to 1/3.

Select Additional Options

Select Additional Options

You can use the following additional options with the equivSymbolic method:

  • Significant decimal places [1]: Allows answers to be correct using a minimum number of decimal places. For example, if the correct answer is 1/3, the equivSymbolic method allows the decimal point number .3333333333 to be correct. However, you can allow .33 to be correct by entering 2 into the Significant decimal places field.
  • Compare sides [2]: Ensures that the student response is symbolically equal to the equation set in the validation area. For example, if the correct answer is 3+4=7 and the Compare sides option is enabled, a student response of 4+3=7 is scored as correct, 6+1=7 is scored as correct, but 3+2=5 is scored as incorrect.
  • Allow interval [3]: Allows students to enter answers using interval notation. For example, the student can enter: [1, 4).
  • Ignore text [4]: Ignores LaTeX text entered in the answer. For example, if a student enters 10/sqrt and Ignore text is enabled, it is interpreted as 10.
  • Treat 'e' as Euler's number [5]: Interprets the variable 'e' as Euler's number; by default, 'e' is interpreted as scientific notation.
  • Treat all letters as variables [6]: Interprets all letters as variables. You can use this if you want to use letters as variables that are scored as units of measurement by default. The following are letters scored as units by default: g, cg, kg, mg, nmg, m, cm, km, mm, nm, s, cs, ks, ms, ns, L, mL, in, ft, mi, fl, cup, pt, qt, gal, oz, and lb.

To enable an option, click its checkbox [7].

Allow Decimal Marks

Allow Decimal Marks

To allow separators in student responses, click the Allow decimal marks checkbox [1].

To specify a decimal separator, click the Decimal separator menu [2], and select the Dot or Comma option.

To specify a type of separator for thousands, click the Thousands separator drop-down menu [3], and select the Dot, Comma, or Space option.

Note: You cannot select the same option for both the Decimal separator and the Thousands separator. For example, you cannot select Dot for both.


  • If the correct answer is 3+4=7, any equivalent response is scored as correct, including 4+3=7, 7=7, 8-1=7. Any true response is also scored as correct including 2+3-5, unless you set the Compare sides option.
  • If the correct answer is sin(x)+cos(y)=54, a student response of cos(y)+sin(x)=6*9 is scored as correct.
  • If the correct answer is 3 fill in the blanks of _ + _ = _ , any response that is true, such as 3+2=5 or .5+.5=1, is scored as correct.
  • If the correct answer is set to x, any response equal to x is scored as correct, including x+0, (x-2)+2, or 2x/x.
  • If the correct answer is (3+1)+5, a student response of 3+1+5 or 3+(5+1) or 9 is scored as correct.
  • If the correct answer is 2342, a student response of 2,342 is incorrect, unless you enable the Allow decimal marks option.
  • If the correct answer is 1/9, a student response of .111 is incorrect, unless you set the Significant decimal places option to 3.
  • If the correct answer is log(xy), a student response of log(x)+log(y) is scored as correct.

Validate Answers

To preview the item interaction, enter an answer into the sample answer field [1]. Correct answers receive the full number of points [2].

Incorrect answers receive 0 points.