Exit Tickets

Paul Main

How can exit tickets be used as an effective formative assessment tool?

What are 'Exit Tickets?'

Exit Tickets or "Tickets to leave" are a formative assessment tool offering an effective way to end a class. Teachers may use exit tickets to assess students' understanding of the topics they are teaching in class. These are the tools that can be used weekly or daily, according to the student's needs or according to the material being taught. The most effective and carefully-designed exit tickets can show whether learners have an in-depth or superficial understanding of the topic. The very next day, teachers may use this data to modify instruction to fulfil students' needs.

This simple formative assessment strategy is a really effective tool for teachers. As well as providing evidence of student learning, the responses can be used to inform the next step of the learning process. The process traditionally involved administering cards for students; recent advancements in technology mean that responses can be provided instantaneously through handheld devices, providing classroom teachers with immediate progress data.

Designing an Exit Ticket

Teachers can design their exit tickets according to the objective of the instructional lesson they are teaching in the class. Exit ticket ideas may focus on one particular concept or skill that students are expected to study that day. Exit ticket ideas may include multiple choice or short questions, or even a few sentences answering an exit question. A good exit ticket may contain 3 to 5 questions on a piece of paper that students should be able to answer in just a few minutes before a unit ends.

Exit ticket ideas are merely as useful as how they are created. Teachers may need a little practice to get their questions precise enough for learners to give teachers the information about the students level of understanding. General questions ("Is this easy?", "No or yes?", etc.) do not provide the information that will help teachers assessment of student understanding of the topic. Exit tickets work best when they have questions that demonstrate or apply the concept.

Students may also use their smartphones, or tablets to fill out exit slip templates. A digital tool provides an easy way to use digital exit tickets, through Google Forms or Poll Everywhere. Teachers may also use exit slip templates from paper and pencil. These apps may instantly compile the desired information for instructors. Although, this involves more teacher effort to compile student responses, still offers the advantage of gaining a better understanding of where pupils stand in learning.

Teachers need to spend some time and design an exit ticket, or use a built-In exit ticket option before teaching a concept in class. They can print out the exit slip templates if it's pencil and paper; or in the case of Google Drive, teachers may upload the form and set it up for the students to access the digital exit tickets.

Exit ticket
Exit ticket

What are the main objectives of using exit tickets?

Teachers can create exit tickets in several different formats, including clickers, quizzes, surveys, and games. Each format offers unique benefits and drawbacks. Clickers are typically used during lectures or lessons to gauge student comprehension. Quizzes and surveys are useful for collecting data about student knowledge and skills. Games are fun and interactive, but they require additional resources like computers and printers.

Regardless of the format, exit tickets offer a number of advantages over traditional tests. First, they allow teachers to collect data about student performance in real-time. Second, they provide immediate feedback to students, allowing them to correct mistakes immediately instead of having to wait until after class. Finally, exit tickets are less stressful for both students and teachers. Students aren't required to write essays or memorize facts; rather, they just answer questions based on what they learned in class.

There are two main types of exit tickets: closed-ended and open-ended. Closed-ended exit tickets consist of multiple choice or true/false questions. Open-ended exit tickets ask students to explain their answers. Both types of exit tickets are effective ways to measure student learning. However, closed-ended exit tickets tend to be easier to administer and score.

In addition to exit tickets, teachers can use other forms of formative assessments to evaluate student learning. For example, teachers can give students practice problems to solve, quiz them on key concepts, or assign projects that require students to research and present findings. These methods are especially helpful if students struggle with certain topics or concepts.

Exit tickets are not tests. Teachers primarily use classroom exit tickets:

  • To assess what pupils have understood from the current day's lesson;
  • As valuable feedback to the instructor about the class;
  • To guide teachers' instruction in future lessons;
  • To divide the class into groups, according to students' understanding;
  • To improve students' attention in class;
  • To identify where the gaps in knowledge exist?
  • To challenge the pupils through a single question asking them to apply what they have learned in the lesson.

Exit ticket builders
Exit ticket builders

When are exit tickets used in the classroom?

Depending on the students or lesson, some educators use a simple exit slip once or twice every week; whereas, others may use them on daily basis. Students must complete exit tickets within a few minutes at the end of a unit. Teachers need to tell the students that the exit tickets are not a test or quizzes. They are not graded and are just a reflection of what students understood the same day.

After collecting filled exit tickets, the teacher would compile and "read" the outcomes. In the case of a Google form, data will be uploaded to Google Drive to generate an Excel spreadsheet automatically. If the teacher has used pencil and paper, it would take a little additional instruction time to organize and compile data to get a complete picture of the classroom.

How can teachers use exit tickets to differentiate instruction?

A simple exit slip outcomes allow teachers to differentiate instruction by providing answers to the following questions:

  • How is the overall performance of the group of students?
  • How many children understood the objective of what has been taught in the class and can go further with it?
  • If some children could not give correct answer to the simple question, how will the teacher modify the lesson plans such that students can understand the following day?

Teachers can use an assessment exit ticket to identify students' strong areas and weaknesses. Then they can plan what to teach the following day. Perhaps, one group of students would work independently; whereas, the second group will receive more direct instruction on the topic. Perhaps, just one or two pupils are needing extra help, and the teacher will plan accordingly. The key is to have a clear objective and the teacher must have high expectations of each student. If teachers know what they want pupils to master, differentiation supports teachers to use different strategies to assist each student get there.

Gauge student understanding with an exit ticket
Gauge student understanding with an exit ticket

Additional uses of Exit Tickets

Teachers may use exit tickets to preview what pupils know about a concept that has never been discussed in the class as yet. It allows the teacher to decide where to begin the lesson on a new concept the following day. Sometimes instructors may also distribute entrance tickets. These are distributed at the start of a unit.

According to Educational Researcher, Robert Marzano, there are 4 types of prompts teachers mostly use with exit slips — prompts that:

  • Provide open communications with the instructor (What might I do differently to support you learn better?)
  • Focus on teaching strategies (How did today's group work support understanding of the content?)
  • Offer formative assessment data (How do you rate your present degree of understanding of what we did today?)
  • Motivate student analysis (How much hard work did you do today? What might you have done to support better learning?)

Teachers start the lesson with 2 questions examining what learners know from the previous day's lesson. And it tells them how they need to introduce today's lesson. Entrance tickets allow teachers to answer the question: "What do I have to do differently for meeting the needs of my children?"

Exit tickets provide an effective way to assess students' understanding, document their learning process, or highlight major parts of a lesson. Finishing the lesson with a clear focus on the learning goals provides students with clear learning expectations. Also, it is a low-pressure and informal assessment used to guage student progress. They offer teachers an informal measure of how well learners have understood a lesson or a topic. Exit tickets enable students to reflect on what they have understood. They allow learners to show how and what they think about new knowledge.