The attached patch (random_essay_questions.patch.txt), which applies to the 1.9 stable branch, allows essay questions to be selected by random questions. It appears to work following some quick testing, but it now needs more thorough testing.
1. Apply the patch to a recent 1.9.3+ test installation.
2. Go to Admin -> Miscellaneous -> Experimental and turn on the option 'Random questions can use manually graded questions'.
How it is supposed to work:
They key point here (in addition to the admin setting) is ensuring that the random questions show up in the manual grading report, but only if they actually need manual grading. And then that manually grading them actually works. (Manually grading random questions from the attempt review page has worked for some time.)
What needs to be tested: (If possible, test with Admin -> Server -> Debugging settings turned on to full, and report any errors/warnings/notices seen.)
A. That it works when you have a category of
i) all essay questions.
ii) some essay and some non-essay questions
iii) all non-essay questions.
B. That it works both when selecting both
i) questions just one category
ii) questions from a category and all its categories.
C. Nasty situations like this: Create a category with one essay question and five short-answer questions. Explicitly add the essay question to the quiz as a non-random question, then add two random questions from the same category (which will then pick from the remaining 5 questions). Ensure that the essay question still shows up in the report, but the random questions don't.
D. People who can test on a COPY of their production site with a huge question bank would be greatly appreciated.
Just to be clear in cases A i) and A ii) the random question should appear in the manual grading report. In case A iii) it should not.
In case A ii) when you go in to grade a particular question, all student's attempts at the random question, both the ones where that student got an essay, and the ones where they got something else, should be shown in the manual grading report. I know that is not ideal, but that is what is possible.