Learn@UW/D2L - Creating Significant Figures Questions

This document describes how instructors can create significant figures questions in the Learn@UW Question Library. A significant figures question is very similar to an arithmetic question except that the answer is specified in scientific notation, as a mantissa between 1 and 9.999... times an exponent as a power of 10 (e.g, 4.56 x 107). Scientific notation is useful if the magnitude of the answer is very large or very small.

Creating a new Significant Figures Question in the Question Library

  1. Log into the Learn@UW system as an instructor.

  2. Access your course.

  3. Access the "Quizzing" tool.

  4. Access the "Question Library."

  5. Select Significant Figures from the "Create New" drop-down menu and click Go.

  6. Optionally, enter a title for the question, so you can easily look it up in the future.

  7. Assign the desired values to "Points" and "Difficulty".

  8. Enter the question text in the "Text" field. Enclose any variables in curly braces "{ }".(E.g., "What is the product of {x} and {y}?")

  9. Enter the variables:


    1. Name – the name of the variable is entered here (e.g., "x"). Variable names are case-sensitive and limited to 1 or 2 characters.
    2. Min – the minimum value of the variable. Enter both the mantissa between 1 and 9.999... and the exponent as the power of 10.
    3. Max – the maximum value of the variable. Enter both the mantissa between 1 and 9.999... and the exponent as the power of 10.
    4. Step – the increment taken within the min and max values. Enter both the mantissa between 1 and 9.999... and the exponent as the power of 10. (e.g., if Min = 6 x 105, Max = 1.8 x 106, and
      Step = 3 x 105, then the values { 6 x 105, 9 x 105, 1.2 x 106, 1.5 x 106, 1.8 x 106} will be used.)
  10. To add more variables, select Add Variable. To delete a variable, select Remove by the variable.

  11. Enter the formula:


    The Formula field is where you will combine the variables with mathematical operators, functions, and constants to calculate the answer to the question. As before, all variables must be enclosed in curly braces. ( e.g., 5*{x}^2 * {y}^3 / {z} ).

    The available operators, functions, and constants are those listed in Learn@UW - Creating Arithmetic Questions.

  12. The "Test" button will cause the variables to be tested in the formula and the potential solutions will be displayed.

  13. The "Tolerance" field allows you to set a range of values for which the answer will be flagged as correct. The available options are:

    • plus or minus one half of the least significant figure (See "Significant Figures" below.)
    • within a specified number of units of the correct answer
    • within a specified percent of the correct answer
  14. The "Significant Figures" field allows you to set the number of significant figures that should be specified in the answer. You may optionally specify a penalty as a certain percentage of the score to be deducted for specifying the incorrect number of significant figures.

  15. The "Units" field allows you to specify units for the answer (if desired). The field can optionally be case sensitive. Correct units can (optionally) be designated as a certain percentage of the score.

  16. Click Save (or click Preview, to see the question before it is saved).

  17. The following items may be added to questions if desired:

    1. Image: Add an image to the question
    2. Question Hint: Add a hint to the question
    3. Question Feedback

Here is an example of a significant figures question:

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Preview of Created Question
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