added a comment - - edited
Definitely still an issue in $release = '1.9 + (Build: 20080325)', and I stumbled upon the problem in our production server, which is $release = '1.8.3 +'. Students were submitting answers that looked right, but they were missing essential punctuation or something, and the teachers couldn't tell why Moodle was marking the answer wrong.
I have a patch that takes care of it, at least for shortanswer-type Cloze questions. I'll attach the patch in a few minutes.
I'm not really worried about this problem for any question types other than shortanswer, since that's all we're using in production. But the patch will also take care of NUMERICAL (though I haven't tested that, it's the same case). Multiple choice doesn't need it so much, because the teacher can probably figure out what Moodle was expecting even if it isn't specified.