Tutorial: Creating your own exercises
Thijs Gillebaart avatar
Written by Thijs Gillebaart
Updated over a week ago

`At Grasple, we are always thinking on how to balance two things: provide you with powerful functionalities to create great didactical exercises, while keeping the flow and user interface as simple as possible.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create increasingly interactive and adaptive exercises. You can follow along step by step, while we point you to the relevant articles.

Ps. Want to see how to create an exercise in real time? Scroll to the bottom of this article or click here for a video on how to create a parameterised exercise!

I. Create a simple math exercise

In this first step, you will create a simple math exercise.
For example: f(x) = 5x^3 + 6. What is d/dx f(x) ?

  1. Go to your repository

  2. Create a Math exercise (read: which answer types can I use?)

  3. Separate the context and the actual question

  4. Write the functions using Math notation (through the menu or LaTeX)

  5. Calculate the correct answer, put them in the answer box

  6. Add feedback

That's it. You have just created your first exercise in Grasple!

II. Create a parametrized exercise and link it to your course

A simple exercise is nice, but a powerful feature of an online practice platform for math, is that you can parametrize the exercise (different numbers everytime).

  1. Use the exercise you created in I. Now add parametrization.

  2. Link the exercise to a new Subject

  3. Add the Subject to your course map

  4. Practice the exercise from the subject and notice it will provide you with different numbers every time (or select different parameter sets the the preview mode of the exercise)

III. Add specific feedback

When learners practice, they often make similar mistakes. This can be due to a typing error or due to a misconception. It would be great if we could provide specific feedback on those specific errors. (read more on how to do this)

  1. Use the same exercise

  2. Click on additional answers and specific feedback

  3. Add feedback for people who forget to apply the power rule correctly and forget to multiply the expression with the original power.

  4. Preview the lesson and make the mistake. Do you get specific feedback?

(Click on the above image for a more detailed view)

IV. Use operators

Instead of having to manually calculate all the answers, you can use the Computer Algebra System (CAS) to calculate answers for you. In Grasple, these functions are called Operators. (read here which operators are currently available)

  1. Create a new exercise with parametrization

  2. context: [funcF] = ([coef] x^ [power1] + [constant] )*ln(x) ,
    question: d/dx f(x) = ?
    Where the [coef] etc are parameters

  3. Instead of manually calculating the answer, now use a (derivative) operator (at the bottom of the article) to calculate [answer] , being the derivative of f(x).

  4. Put the answer parameter in the answer box

  5. Preview the question and see if it works!

V. Add subquestions

You can add multiple subquestions to a question by clicking the "+ Add Subquestion" at the bottom of the screen (scroll down to find it).

If you think of an additional question later on you can easily add the sub-question and move it to the correct place using the 'move up' and 'move down' buttons:

Note: you will be able to move all but the first question.

VI. Distributing points over subquestions

When using multiple subquestions you might want to indicate how much each subquestion weights relative to the other. You can do this by changing the weight per subquestion.

For example, the first question could be a simple multiple choice question, while the second one is a more elaborate calculation question. Weighing them both for 50% as shown in the example below, might not be desirable.

By altering the weights, we can change how many points can be earned per subquestion by students in practice mode and in tests.

If we want the second subquestion to count for 70% and the first for 30%, we change the weights accordingly.

Above you can see that

  • we changed the weight of the first subquestion from 1 to 3

  • we changed the weight of the second subquestion from 1 to 7

  • this results in a total weight of 10 for the complete question

  • the first subquestion now counts for 30%

  • the second subquestion now counts for 70%

When using this question during practice, the first subquestion will be worth 0.3 points and the second subquestion will be worth 0.7 points.

When using weighted subquestions during formative of summative tests, you can change the total number of points as well.

IMPORTANT: adjusting weights in a question alters the point distribution in ALL tests and subjects the question is used in. Weights are part of the question settings, NOT part of the test settings.
​Be careful when changing weights of questions used in multiple test and/or subjects.

VII. Sorting multiple choice answers

Multiple choice exercise answers by default are displayed in a random order during practice and tests. Enable the setting "Custom answer order" to define your own order instead. Answers can be dragged and dropped in your preferred order.

VIII. Assigning partial points to answer (rules)

Besides distributing points over subquestions, you can also automatically assign a percentage of the full points to an answer (rule). To do this, go to the edit screen of the question where you want to do this. See an example below for an open math question

Click on the button "edit answers and specific feedback" below the answer field. In that screen you will find your specific feedback, correctness and percentage of full points per answer rule.

For multiple choice questions you can directly edit this in the edit view itself.

Consequently this will be applied during tests and practice. See an example of the feedback after a test below.

To read more about this functionality, see the article: "How do I automatically give partial points to an (open) answer (rule)?".

IX. Subquestions and decisions trees to create a help sequence

Now what if a learner doesn't know what to do in the exercise above?
You could provide the solution, but that would spoil the practice opportunity.
What you can do is create a helper sequence with "counter questions". With that we mean more simple questions that you would "counter" if a learner would ask "how do I solve this?" They will help the learner go through the steps and that way solve the exercise (with some help).

To get more detail on how to use decision trees to achieve this, check out this article: https://help.grasple.com/en/articles/3545208-how-to-create-a-decision-tree-with-logic-within-your-exercise


  1. Create a new exercise.
    context: f(x) = (5x^3+6)^4 (use parameters)
    question: d/dx f(x) = ?

  2. Add some subquestions (in the correct order) that you would ask if a learner would not be able to answer this questions correctly.

If you would be helping the learner, what questions would you ask to help the student to get to the answer, without providing the answer?

  • Which rule can you best use to find the derivative? (open question or multiple choice : power rule, chain rule, sum rule etc)

  • What is the chain rule? (multiple choice, f( g(x) ) = f'(g(x))*g'(x) )

  • Calculate d/dx of x^4 (use operator!)

  • Calculate d/dx of 5x^3 + 6

  • The original question again

Now add logic. In this case we want to show the next question whether or not the question is correct or incorrect. Only with the first question we want to stop when the first question is correct.

Video: Creating a parameterised exercise in Grasple

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