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Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

20:32
Test-generating software 

Last year, I found myself thinking that some test-generating software could be nice. I've installed, but not used the software which came with the textbook, but I decided it would be more "fun" to write my own. And so I have. I had an early version for the first two tests which could only shuffle the questions. For the third test, I wanted to have a section where all students would have to do some calculations on a dataset, so I decided that it was time to incorporate the ability to select between alternate versions of a question. Mission accomplished. Next up is the ability to shuffle the selections of multiple choice questions and I may (assuming I can figure out how to do so) post the program here. It's a fairly simple perl script and takes ugly text files as its mark-up and I use it to output LaTeX. I suppose it could also do troff assuming anyone still uses that. Or even XML.

My wife thinks that the question and template files should be XML and she's probably right, but I learned to program in the 80s and old habits die hard. It's also not object-oriented code. And the whole program is just over 100 lines. So it doesn't fit any contemporary programming paradigms at all.

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