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Creative Strategies for Engaging Exit Tickets

Creative Strategies for Engaging Exit Tickets

Quick, low pressure assessment strategies can often yield truer results about where your students are in their learning. You eliminate things like test anxiety while opening the possibility of a more consistent pulse on the classroom. For that purpose, teachers often use exit tickets.

But like any strategy that relies on consistency and repetition, exit tickets can get stale. Here are ideas you can use to refresh your exit ticket toolbox.

Parking lot

Create a poster or devote space on your board to a “parking lot” with three or more spaces. Your spaces are up to you, but popular ones include “I’m stuck at...”, “I really liked…”, and “I want to know…”. Then students finish the applicable statement on Post-It notes and stick them to the parking lot in the appropriate space on their way out the door. You then have a record of everyone’s understanding at a glance.

Pro tip: Concerned about how one segment of your students is doing over another? Assign different colored Post-Its to genders, class periods, language statuses, or any other group where you’re worried they may fall behind.

Go digital

Many places you go online ask if you would be kind enough to complete a survey once you finish using the site. Why should your classroom be any different? If you have no interest in adding to your pile of paperwork, conduct your exit tickets online using Google Docs, SurveyMonkey, or any other polling or survey site. It can take a little work on the front end to make sure you input your rosters and the organize the incoming data correctly but moving forward you have a lot less work to do in compiling responses and figuring out what they mean for your practice.

Pro tip: Many social networking sites, like Twitter, now feature polling functionality. If the use of such sites is approved in your school, this can save you a lot of setup compared to having to import rosters and design forms.

Don’t forget to be formative

Exit tickets make a great check for student understanding, but you can also use them to find out about your students’ background knowledge on an upcoming topic. At a point that makes sense, such as the beginning of a unit or chapter, switch up your exit tickets to preview upcoming lessons. Not only do you find out whether you need to backtrack or jump further ahead, but you also prime the students’ minds to expect the next topic.

Pro tip: The best formative exit tickets are like a good movie trailer that gets you excited without giving away the plot. When coming up with your prompts, err on the side of vague and let the student fill in the gaps.

Looking for more ways to make formative assessments valuable in your classroom? Check out these 4 steps to using your students’ assessment data to promote growth!

scott.sterling's picture

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.

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