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March 13, 2015 Using Exit Tickets as an Assessment Tool By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Here’s the scenario: You just completed teaching a unit of study in your subject area. You made sure that you covered all learning modalities (tactile, visual, and auditory) and differentiated your teaching to meet the needs of all the learners in your classroom. Now it's time for your students to take an assessment to see how well they mastered the content. As you grade the assessments, you are shaking your head and are saying to yourself, "I know that I taught this — what happened?” I think we all have had moments like this and wonder what we might have been done differently in our teaching to ensure a successful outcome. As a matter of fact, I still have such moments. I find myself becoming very reflective. At such times I remind myself that my students need to be able to reflect on their learning as well. Enter, the exit ticket.

    An exit ticket is a device that students use to communicate with their teacher as to how their learning is going for them. Typically, a few minutes before the class is dismissed or at the end of the lesson, a slip of paper is handed out on which the student comments on the instruction for the lesson taught. Students are frequently asked to jot down a success and/or a struggle that they had with the day’s lesson. Some teachers prefer to have a "parking lot" poster where the students can place sticky notes with their comments and some prefer to have an actual form for students to complete. Either way, it is helpful to see how the students perceive their successes and their struggles. With this information, we can maximize our teaching and work more efficiently, especially for small group instruction. Target groups can be created using the “data” from the exit tickets.

    Sample Exit Tickets

    Exit tickets usually have one to three prompts that students respond to. Sometimes students are asked to select from a menu and sometimes they are given a specific prompt. For example:

    • One thing I learned...
    • I have a question about...
    • Name one important thing you learned.
    • What from today's lesson will you try to apply to your learning?
    • What was helpful?
    • What was a light bulb moment?
    • What was a struggle to understand?
    • What do you think you would be able to teach to your classmates?
    • What was confusing?

    Scholastic (Free) Printable

    Scholastic has a FREE printable exit ticket that you can download and use with your students. 


    Here is a sample template that I found online and have used with my students. You will need to write prompts for your students, or feel free to use the prompts that I have provided.


    New and hot off the presses: Scholastic's Word Workshop. Fellow blogger Genia Connell offered some really good tips on how to use this online tool, and creating exit tickets was included. Here's my attempt to add a little pizzazz to an exit ticket.

    Housed in my classroom are two posters that can be used for the "parking lot" activity. There are a couple of ways in which the students can complete their exit ticket. One method for the parking lot is to wait until almost the end of class and have students write their success and struggles on a sticky note. As the students are dismissed from class, they place their exit ticket on the poster. The other method is for students to jot down any questions they have on a sticky note, and place on the poster before the end of class. If time allows, you can address a few of the exit tickets before the class leaves. Hint: have students write their initials on the paper so that you know how to direct your instruction to assist them.


                   Parking Lot for Questions                                       Learn Something New


    I recently attended a workshop where the following exit ticket was demonstrated. It's an online tool called Our school is in the middle of PARCC assessments, so as soon as we are finished with testing, I am going to give it a try.

    Join for free and create an account. Have students log in using your login code so that they can complete the task. They click on Exit Ticket and follow the prompts.


    Click on the number 1


    Prompt 1: How well did you understand today's material?


    Prompt 2: What did you learn in class?


    Prompt 3: Please answer the teacher's question.
    (You must include a question to which students can respond.)


    Teacher prompt: How would you like to receive the results?


    Pearls of Wisdom During state testing, remember to stay as calm as possible. Kids pick up on our nervous energy. Think of a fun activity to help to relieve the stress in the classroom.

    Exit tickets are just one way to quickly assess what's going on with your students. Tune in next week where my focus will be on quick formative assessments for the classroom.

    What exit strategy do you use that works in your classroom? Please share! I enjoy sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!


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Susan Cheyney