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Creative Exit Ticket Strategies and Best Practices

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

Exit tickets have been a great way to accomplish formative or summative assessment for some time now. They are a low-stress way to see what your students know and what they are still struggling with. For the uninitiated, exit tickets usually work like this:

  1. The teacher asks some sort of summative question at the end of the lesson, about five minutes before the bell. Usually, this is an “essential question” that the class was working toward based on the standards.
  2. Students write down their answer on a small piece of paper.
  3. Students give the teacher their answer in order to leave the classroom.
  4. The teacher reviews the answers at the end of the day to find out what went well and where the lesson fell short.

That’s the basic gist, but there are some more creative uses of the exit ticket strategy that can add flavor to your assessment practices.

Tweet the lesson

In 140 characters or less, have students summarize the contents of the lesson in which they just took part. Next-generation standards call for students to be able to “scale” their writing. This is great practice.

Self-assessment

Instead of “What did I learn today?” maybe your question to students should ask, “What did I accomplish today?” By the students’ own estimations, in what areas did they improve? Where do they still need practice?

Relate to real life

Ask students where they think the day’s lesson will fit into their daily lives. Is there a specific activity or task (that they do on a regular basis) to which they could apply it? The brain needs to attach meaning to new information in order to store it properly in long-term memory.

Outside-the-box analogies

Spice up your exit tickets with analogies to seemingly incongruous concepts. If today’s lesson were a pizza, what would the toppings be? Which new vocabulary term would make the best name for a new car? This starts moving concepts from recall into the synthesis skill level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

The parking lot

Set aside some space on your board or easel for students to “park” their exit slips for everyone to see. It makes it easier for you to assess their learning, and students who are struggling will find out that they aren’t alone. This works great if your slips are Post-it notes.

Entry slips

Want a real assessment of students’ retention? Don’t ask what they remember from a lesson that just ended—ask them what they remember from yesterday’s lesson! This is effective as bell work, or if you don’t mind them waiting out in the hall, make it a requirement in order to enter the room.

Have any other cool exit ticket strategies? Share them in the comment section below.

Want more assessment tips and strategies? We’ve put together 4 Easy Ways to Boost Scores