Create Fill in the Blank Items

Fill in the Blank (FIB) type of item has a blank in the Stem, which the candidate must fill with an answer.

  1. Select the Develop Questions → Write Item menu.
  2. Click Write Question.
  3. Select Fill in the Blank from the Question Type drop-down list.

  4. Enter the question text in the Question Stem.
  5. Place your cursor where you want the Fill in the Blank answer and click the FIB (Fill in the Blanks) button. A blank line is added to the Question Stem.
  6. Finish entering your text if needed.
  7. Enter the answer to the question in the Fill in the blank 1 field.

    The answers can contain synonyms as pipe (|) delimited text.


    In the above example, the answer can either be entered as “six” or “6”, and the candidate can answer with either option and still be scored as correct.

Using multiple FIB placeholders

It is also possible to use multiple FIB placeholders in a single FIB item as shown in the example below.

  1. Write the Question Stem and create FIB placeholders by placing the cursor at the appropriate location and clicking the FIB button on the toolbar.
  2. Additional Answer Options can be created by clicking the  Add Distractor icon, while extra Answer Options can be removed by clicking the  Remove Distractor icon. The default number of Answer Options is four, but this can be altered by specifying a number and selecting the Allow Differing Option Count setting on the Questions tab of the project's Configuration page.
  3. Specify the correct answers in the Answers text boxes in the proper order - Option A for the first FIB, B for the second, and so on.
  4. Once the Answer Options are specified, they can be moved up or down to reorder by clicking one of the  Move Up or Move Down arrows on the right as required.


Apply Rules and Restrictions to Answers

Rules and Restrictions may be applied to Answers. Click the  Expand Restriction icon on the right to expand a control as displayed below.

Set the Alignment

The Alignment drop-down list is used to set the alignment of the answer in the FIB placeholder to LeftRight, or Center.

Select the data Type

The Type drop-down list can be used to restrict the type of data that can be used as the particular Answer Option. The allowable data types, which can be selected from the drop-down list, are TextInteger, and Decimal.

If a candidate enters the incorrect data type in the Answer Option, a Response Validation error message appears.

If you select Text for the data Type, candidates are allowed to enter both letters and numbers in the fill in the blank answer field. The Response Validation error message does not appear when candidates enter numbers into a Text data type Answer Option field.


Control Whitespace

The Whitespace drop-down list allows you to define how space characters should be treated when evaluating candidate responses in the Fill in the Blank item. Whitespace only applies to the Text data type. When Integer or Decimal are selected, whitespace is disabled.


PreserveAll space characters entered are considered when evaluating a candidate's response. No spaces are ignored.
RemoveLeadingAndTrailingIgnores all leading and trailing spaces in candidate responses.
NormalizeIgnore leading and trailing spaces and replaces two consecutive space characters with a single space in candidate responses.
RemoveAllIgnore all spaces when evaluating candidate responses.

Control Case Sensitivity

The CaseSensitive drop-down list allows you to define how to evaluate the candidate response using case sensitivity. CaseSensitive only applies to the Text data type. When Integer or Decimal are selected, casesensitive is disabled.

YesThe response is case sensitive. The candidate must use the exact capitalization specified in the Fill in the blank field.
NoThe response is not case sensitive.


Add Restrictions

You can add data restrictions to further define what type of data may be entered into an Answer Option.

  1. Three restrictions can be specified for the selected Answer Option.
  2. Click the  Add Restriction icon below the Type drop-down list, which expands additional control boxes as displayed below.

    1. Restriction Type: You can select one of the following restriction criteria: Character CountPrecision, and Word Count.
      • Character Count - Available for all data types, Operator and Value options are applicable to the character count of the Answer Option.
      • Precision - Only applicable to Decimal values, it is used to restrict the number of digits after the decimal point.
      • Word Count - Only available for Text data type.

    2. Operator: These are Boolean operators. One of these can be selected and applied to the Value.

      If you select the Word count restriction type, you must use the >= [Greater Than Equal] operator. For instance, if you expect candidates to enter two words in the fill in the blank field you must select Word count >= 2.

      If you were to select Word Count = 1, candidates are only allowed to enter one character in the fill in the blank answer field.

    3. Value: This is an integer value used to decide the amount of restriction to be applied to the Answer Option using the Operator.
    4. Click Apply to save the rules and restrictions for an Answer Option. The applied restrictions are then listed below the rules in a Restriction table.
    5. Additional restrictions can be created for each Answer Option by clicking the  Add Restriction icon, while extra restrictions can be removed by clicking the  Remove Restriction icon.

      If you enter a certain type of data for the Answer Option and specify a different data Type, an error message is displayed. For instance, if you enter Text in the Fill in the blank answer field and select the Integer data Type, when you apply a restriction the system identifies that you have selected an incorrect data type. You should correct the problem. The system does not prevent you from saving the item.

      If you have saved incompatible data Types for the Answer Option and the data Type, when you try and preview the item an error notifies you of the problem. You must fix the data Type before you can Preview the item.


Set the Columns, Minchars and Maxchars


Set a Range of numbers for a response

Use the Set Range option to specify a range of numbers that will receive a passing score. For instance, you may want to say any number greater than 5 and less than 10 is considered a correct answer. If a candidate enters 6, 7, 8, or 9, they will received a passing score for the item. 

  1. Select the Set Range check box to the right of the Fill in the blank answer option. 
  2. Click the > [Greater Than] drop-down. You can select > or >= for the lower number in your range of values the candidate can enter. Enter the lowest number the candidate can enter for the answer into the value field to receive a passing score.

    In this example you could select either > 9 or >= 10.

  3. Click the > [Less Than] drop-down. You can select < or <= for the upper number in your range of values the candidate can enter. Enter the highest number the candidate can enter for the answer into the value field to receive a passing score.

    In this example you could select either < 21 or <= 20.

  4. You must also add a data Type restriction to the range of values. Click the  Expand Restriction icon. You can only select Integer or Decimal data Type for a range of values. You can also add a Character Count restriction if desired.

    Assigning a range of values does not prevent candidates from entering a number outside of the expected range of values. Setting the range of values determines what numbers will be scored as correct if the candidate enters a value within the range of numbers.

    In the example above where the range of values is >= 10 and <= 20, if a candidate enters 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20, they will receive a passing score for this item. Any number below 10 or above 20 would receive a failing grade for the item.

  5. Save the item.
  6. After saving the item, all the Expand Restriction sections are collapsed. Balance your mouse pointer over the Expand Restriction icon and a Restriction summary table identifies what restrictions were applied to the Answer Option.

Save the Item

You have several options to Save the item.

  1. Click the Add Question to Case button save the item and create a new case. The item is automatically attached to the case. Only users with permission to create cases will see this button.
  2. Click the Save button. The item is saved and the item is checked out preventing other users from making edits to the item. You remain on the Write Question page where further edits can be made to the item.
  3. Click the Preview button. Changes to the item are saved, the item is checked-out, and the item is opened in the Preview window. Only users with permission to preview items will see this button.
  4. To save an incomplete item, click Save and Exit. The item is saved in a Draft state and checked-in so any user with access to the item may make edits to the item. It is visible in the Draft/Returned Questions tab of the Project Writing Summary page.
  5. To submit the item for review, click Submit. The item is saved and checked-in so any users with access to the item may make edits to the item. The item is advanced to the next reviewer in the list or to the next stage in the workflow.


Please visit the Language-related features in Items page to learn about the Language Code drop-down list.

Weights affect the candidate’s score for an item. If weights are assigned to individual Answer Options, they affect the total score of an item depending on which (and how many) Answer Options are answered correctly or incorrectly. Assigning weights is optional and can be done via the Weight drop-down list.

The default selection item is Default, which assigns a score of "1" to the item. The candidate scores "1" only when he/she selects all the correct Options and does not select any incorrect Options. On selecting even a single incorrect Option, he/she scores "0".

If you choose to assign a custom weight for the item, then you must select Item from the drop-down list. A text box appears adjacent to the drop-down list, where you can enter the weight value for the item. The candidate scores the specified weight value, only when he/she selects all the correct Options and does not select any incorrect Options. Upon selecting even a single incorrect Option, he/she scores "0".

You can assign custom weights to individual Answer Options by selecting Option from the drop-down list. A Weight text box appears to the left of the Answer Options, where you can enter the weight value for the respective Answer Options. The weight value is a decimal number. Weights assigned to incorrect Answer Options are ignored.

The candidate scores the specified weight value of the correctly answered Option(s), regardless whether he/she also incorrectly answers one or more Options. The maximum score of the item is equal to the sum of the weight values for the correctly answered Options.

Item weight can be a positive decimal or integer value. It can range from ".001" to "9999".
Option weight can be a positive or negative decimal or integer value. It can range from "-.99" to "9999".

A user can click the Submit on Behalf of drop-down control and select one of the user names in the list to submit an item on behalf of the selected user. The user list contains names of users enabled in the current project, except for the user currently logged in and viewing the list. The list is displayed in ascending order by last name, first name, and user name. Once you click the Submit button, the item is saved to the Draft mode and does not show for the current user.


Submit on Behalf of drop-down list is not available at the time of Modify Question.

Click the Check Spelling link to check the spelling for text in Stem and Options. The spelling is checked first against the built-in or installed dictionary and then against the words specified for exclusion on the Dictionary tab of your project's settings.

Exam Adviser settings are not applicable to FIB type items.
Keep in mind that for users to write this type of item, it must be enabled on the Questions tab of the project's Configuration page. From Manage → Settings → Configuration → Questions → Allow question types, select Fill In The Blank from the list, and click Update. If you do not see this type of item in the list, please contact your Project Manager to change the project settings.