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I would like to make some nice looking worksheets, tests, and quiz papers for my wife's classroom. I see her and other teachers typing up a simple quiz and then wasting a lot of time fighting Word to get it to look decent. TeX seems to be a perfect fit for this (especially if I code up a database of questions to pull from). I'd like some way to incorporate an image or two (ideally vector-based) and have an easy way to enlarge the text for any vision-impaired students.

Where would be a good place to start for reading up on this (websites, books, podcasts, etc.)? Are there any editors and packages that would fit this role better than others? I've attempted to do this a few times but I end up getting lost in a sea of dependencies or using bad practices that lead to broken documents with strange errors.

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WebWork is a nice system for handling databases of mathematics questions, and typesetting them in LaTeX or as web pages. webwork.maa.org/moodle –  Benjamin McKay Oct 27 at 13:49

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I do this a lot but I use homegrown classes. If I were you, I would start looking at suitable document classes, such as eqexam, examdesign, exam, and mathexam.

TeX is not going to help with querying a database. If you really wanted to do that, you could write a tool in Perl or another scripted language that would do the querying and write TeX files. But unless you have a large database of problems ready-to-go, this project might be a huge time sink.

Importing graphics is easy with the graphicx package. TikZ will help you create your own if you want.

Enlarging the fonts document-wide is also just a few additional lines to your tex file, such as \fontsize{20}{15}\selectfont.

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Right, I understand that the database component would have to be some script/program that pulls records and generates TeX (poor wording on my part). That part is what keeps bringing me back to TeX for this... alternatively, if I can have a simple webpage that a teacher can put in the text of the questions in and have PHP, Perl, etc. spit out a valid TeX document, run the necessary programs to convert it into a PDF, and send that to the user, what a win. :) –  Curtis Mar 16 '11 at 18:58
    
@Curtis: each time I've tried to start a database of questions, I've been bogged down by the wealth of different kinds of problems I ask. I can't write a schema that contains them all. Then there is the issue of tagging problems by characteristic--either you have to develop that vocabulary or find a good one, and I never found a good one in my domain. –  Matthew Leingang Mar 16 '11 at 23:44
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May I also mention exsheets? –  cgnieder Oct 15 '12 at 8:38
    
@cgnieder: You sure may. Looks nice! I'll have to try it. –  Matthew Leingang Jun 13 '13 at 18:30

A good starting point is always CTAN, the place where all official packages are stored

Here is a section about exams, quizzes, etc.

You might as well start with a simple article class and define some boxes

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www.ctan.org has ctan.org/keyword/exams and also ctan.org/characterization/primary/document-types/… . –  Jim Hefferon Oct 15 '12 at 13:53
    
ctan link is now ctan.org/topic/exam (but I've fixed this in the answer). –  Thruston Oct 27 at 12:25

at the 2010 tug meeting, pavneet arora gave a presentation on "using latex to generate dynamic mathematics worksheets for the web". a video of the presentation can be found at the river-valley web site. the paper was published in tugboat 31:2, pp.151-153; at the moment, it is accessible only to tug members, but later this year it will be available to all on the tugboat web site at tug.org.

the web site containing a demonstration of this project is www.bansisworld.org, named after arora's maternal grandfather, a professor of mathematics who "spent much of his career focused on the teaching of mathematics".

additional tugboat articles of pedagogical interest are linked from the contents keyword list under "tex teaching".

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If you're interested in commercial alternatives I'd mention AcroTeX eDucation Bundle http://www.acrotex.net/aeb_index.php .

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