LaTeX for Assessments

Long story short:

  • I wanted more ram but didn’t want to shell out $$$ for Windows 8. (Had 32-bit Windows 7.)
  • Switched to Ubuntu (12.10 at the time) once I bought a 4GB ram stick (they’re cheap these days!!)
  • Need to edit documents so used LibreOffice.  However, it doesn’t play super-nice with graphics and some other things so…
  • Found WPS (Chinese-made MS Word rip-off).  Works nice with .doc files, even looks and feels like Word 2010.  Except it’s not at all compatible with .docx files.
  • WPS also doesn’t use equations, but I (being a Math + Science teacher) need to write equations on assessments.
  • I also am moving to SBG, so I’d like to be able to clearly mark what students earned.

I was watching participating in this Global Math meeting where this guy (also has 1st name Jonathan) was sharing and he mentioned that he uses LaTeX for all of his assessments. I thought “awesome, but I haven’t used that since Grad School”.  But decided to go to his blog anyway and he has this page dealing with how to use LaTeX as a math teacher.

I guess the page isn’t super-friendly if you’ve never used LaTeX before, but he (Jonathan Claydon) points that out on the page.  And for someone like me, who used LaTeX long ago and dabbles in computer science (by “dabble”, I mean it in the “I-put-a-tiny-fraction-of-my-small-toenail-in-the-pool” sense of the word), it’s just perfect.  So now I’m making assessments for next year and adding a header for students to really understand what SBG is all about.

Check out my first assessment below (Yes, I’m giving these to Jr’s and Sr’s in Precalculus, and no, I’m not confident that they will all ace them…) and please give feedback.

Edit: now that I published this, the pdfs don’t look nearly as nice on Scribd as they do “in person” (when you download them).

Note that these standards are much broader than the ones that I’ll actually be teaching: this is just to make sure that they have the “basics” before we really get into Precalculus–otherwise they’ll be “up that creek”. I hope to be much more specific in my assessments and standards when we get to Precalculus topics.  I’ll also be incorporating some ideas from this year’s tiered assessments–more on that to come.

I’ll be using these Google Spreadsheets to keep track of their progress, and I hope that they will catch on pretty quickly what the heck SBG is.

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