Last year, I finally resolved to end the “wandering eyes” problem during tests. It seemed like there was no way to ensure that nobody would sneak a peek during tests, and when kids had the same test they would easily be able to cop an answer from their neighbor and it would be really really hard for me to catch/notice. Nobody wants to go around accusing kids of copying especially when it’s as flimsy as I saw you look at X’s paper. So, I figured, there must be an easier way.
Solution 1 instead of writing one test, I wrote two. It temporarily fixed the problem but it sucked my time to write two versions especially if there were going to be roughly equal in difficulty but tough to copy from with quick glances.
Solution 2 employ some software to write multiple versions for me. See an example inspired by Kate’s Perfect Challenge. I wrote 20 questions on a quick quiz for the kids to memorize the perfect squares from 1 – 20. Using a sweet piece of open source free software I then generated 20 different versions of the test. Now I can give them a different test for as long as it takes until they have it all mastered. (Obviously 20 is hopefully overoverkill, but it seems like a good demonstration of how easy it is to create multiple versions).
Googling this was not so straightforward, but I ended up with “much”. I love much. I have a test template that I use over and over again. All I must do to write a test is make a set of test questions – 1 per file
if I want them to be multiple choice they are formatted
fake ans 2
Up to 6 possible answers work I believe. Much can shuffle around the order of the questions, and on multiple choice tests it shuffles around the order of the answers. If you make a strictly multiple choice test you can even use an output file that lists the correct answers.
Implementation I’ve been the best at keeping this thing updated for my Algebra 1 class, here’s a shot of the folder with all the questions.
The fine print for this is that it can be hard to get comfortable with all the technology behind it. But if you know LaTeX, and are willing to dabble in commands from the command line, it’s a pretty quick process. I’ll outline the steps below in case it’s helpful to anyone (The much page has all the relevant info, and I taught myself from it, so head there if this isn’t so helpful)
1. Write a set of questions with some sort of standardized naming scheme, i.e. if I want to have 5 questions on linear equations name the files lineq-1, lineq-2, and so on.
2. Create a file named “test-info” also copy the “exam.tex” file into the current directory. These files are provided as part of the much download, here’s the test-info file I used for the perfect squares quiz and here’s my exam.tex.
3. In the “test-info” file copy the exact formatting, and set the number of tests you want to generate, and then define what goes on each test. For example, if I wanted 2 of the 5 linear equations questions on each test I’d add the line:
use 2 from "lineq-*";
To tell the computer to insert two questions with the file name beginning “lineq-” and the * indicates that any ending is acceptable. If I had a file named lineq-toughproblem5 it might potentially be chosen as one of the 2 lineq-* questions.
3. Once your test-info file is set up with all the questions you’d like on the test, use much to prepare the tests by typing
much create test-info at the command line, once you’ve navigated to the folder with all your test files and test-info file.
4. Command line: