Inequalities and Exponents on Formative

Does anyone have any ideas on how to type the “greater than or equal to” or “less than or equal to” signs or exponents on Formative? Sometimes when my students type something like 3^2 it automatically formats to an exponent, but not at all consistently. Thank you!


There are not a lot of options I have found for students.

Usually I just have students use the old typewriter notation.

2^3 or y<=3 or 6.022E23 (scientific notation)

I have found that on a Chromebook, students can switch to the international keyboard and get it to convert the ^ to superscript.

In my chemistry class I don’t worry about subscripts and just have students write out the formulas anyway C6H22O11.

If I really want to see what the students are doing I will break some questions into two parts. One where they show work using the Show Your Work Option and then for homework I will add a second question where they just type the final answer in. This works great to let students see how they are doing on practice work when I turn on Return Scores Instantly for those specific assignments.


For the inequality signs, there are shortcut codes you can use. With the Chromebook, you press CTRL, SHIFT, U and then can type 2265 or 2264 then enter to get ≥ ≤.

If you have a NUM pad, I wanna say it’s SHIFT, ALT and 242 or 243.

Not sure about exponents though.


Awesome! We will try this. Thank you!

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This has been something that we have struggled with as well. I love the “show your work” feature, but with our chromebooks this hasn’t been the easiest either since students are writing with a trackpad.


We also use Chromebooks. I have many students who choose to work out the problems on paper and upload photographs. Some of them like the challenge of using the track pad. Hopefully there can be an upgrade that allows for math type. :slight_smile:


@Kendal_Whisnant @ecastillo Thanks for the feedback! We are definitely considering ways to make it the “Show Your Work” feature easier to use no matter what the limitations of the hardware are.