# Are partial answer keys possible for card sorts?

I love card sorts. I teach computer science and use card sorts as a well to help categorize things.

I love having some things that clearly sort into categories, and some things that are ambiguous.
I’d like to be able to check for correctness that a few particular cards are in the same set, but ignore where the ambiguous cards where placed.

Currently I’m having students sort cards based on whether something is or isn’t an algorithm. A student could make an argument that choreography is an algorithm (because it is a sequence of instructions), or could make an argument that it is not an algorithm (because the instructions aren’t being executed by a computer, or because the instructions won’t be able to be followed exactly the same way every time – there will be slight variations in the movement).

In my ideal world I have a key that checks that the really obvious algorithm is in the “is an algorithm” set, the really obvious non-algorithm is in the “not an algorithm” set, and that “is an algorithm” and “not an algorithm” are not in the same set. I also would love to be able to source from the CL which set the choreography card is in, and then prompt the student to explain their thinking:

if the choreo card is in the “is an alg” set: “Why do you think this is an algorithm?”
else: “Why do you think this is not an algorithm?”

Right now from the sources I can just get a count of all the cards, a count of “correct” cards, and whether or not the student’s sort matches the key.

I think that card sorts are much more intuitive than a series of similar multiple choice questions, but the sources for MC give me more control on how to automatically determine if a student has met the requirements for the slide.

Hi Laura!

Not the answer you were hoping for, but here are some thoughts. The CL options you are seeing for card sorts are all I’m aware of, so there does not seem to be any way of determining where an individual card is sorted. Using several MC questions is probably the simplest solution, but you can also build a graph that emulates a card sort and gives you deeper access to where students place individual cards. Here’s one possibility: Graph "Card Sort" • Activity Builder by Desmos

It’s definitely more work to create as a teacher, and the visual is not as nice as a card sort component, but it does open up additional functionality you can’t achieve with a card sort. I hope this helps