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Exit Ticket Examples: Creating a Formative Assessment Tool to Gauge Student Understanding

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You’re nearing the end of today’s lesson, and you can’t help but wonder — did your students understand everything? Did any of this actually stick?

Exit tickets are a useful classroom technique that can help you answer these questions and more. The feedback from exit tickets can help you build a strong classroom community where students feel supported and heard. 

Exit tickets also help you gauge student understanding so you can effectively plan the next day’s lesson. They can improve student learning while driving home the most important information from the day. 

In this article, we’ll go over exactly what exit tickets are and review some key examples to help you create your own. Then we’ll wrap up with some of the many ways exit tickets can benefit you and your students in the classroom.

What is an exit ticket?

If you’ve never heard the term “exit ticket” before, you may be struggling to picture exactly what we’re talking about.

Some educators call them “exit slips” as they’re often presented as small slips of paper given out at the end of a lesson, class period, or school day. Whether you use an actual slip or do a verbal exit ticket, they’re used as an informal assessment of the day’s lesson. 

Each student answers the exit ticket question (either verbally or on the slip) as they transition to the next part of their day. Or you can request their answers shortly before the next activity, allowing you to review them before or after your students are dismissed for the day.

If your students are younger or you prefer the verbal style of this teaching strategy, try writing your exit question on the board for the entire class to see. You can ask them for their answers before the class dismisses, or take the pressure off and have them share on their way out the door. 

It’s best to get a response from each student so you can accurately gauge where everyone’s understanding, so be sure to leave plenty of time for everyone if you choose this method. 

Why use exit tickets in the classroom?

Exit tickets might seem like an extra level of classroom admin to manage, but they can be really useful. The information you gather from exit tickets can help you gauge how well your students understood the lesson, better inform you where the next lesson should pick up and help increase class engagement.

Exit tickets provide valuable feedback in every grade level, from pre-K to high school. You can only help your students if you know where they’re struggling. And as class sizes increase (especially in older grades), personal check-ins get more difficult. Exit tickets allow you to make the check-in process streamlined and a part of your daily routine. 

12 Exit ticket ideas teachers can use to gauge student understanding

As you may know, it’s incredibly difficult to engage a full classroom of students who all have different learning styles and skill levels. But with exit tickets, you can quickly learn each student’s understanding of the material — without needing to find time for lots of individual conversations. 

This real-time feedback helps you shift your lesson plans to best meet your students’ needs. With exit tickets, you’ll uncover which areas need to be revisited the next day, or maybe choose to move on knowing you can address the students who need extra time with a topic separately. 

There are tons of exit ticket types in all sorts of formats. And online templates are a great place to start for inspiration. We’ve compiled a list of our 12 favorite exit ticket templates to help you create a more engaging classroom environment. Let’s get started!

1. Put the students in the teacher’s shoes

One of the best ways to get your students to provide honest feedback on the day’s lesson is to ask them to respond to the following prompt: “If you were in the teacher’s shoes, what part of today’s lesson would you spend more time on?”

This can help you identify knowledge gaps, see which parts of the lesson are difficult to grasp and get real-time feedback on your lesson plans from your students.

If you’re looking for which areas of your lessons need to be revisited, this exit ticket type is perfect. Your students’ answers will help ensure that they’re getting a full understanding of the learning material. It can also help you learn where to focus your time during this same lesson next year.

2. Use emojis to gauge understanding

If you teach at the middle school or junior high level, this option is sure to be a huge hit! Asking for feedback via emojis is a fun way to keep your students engaged with your learning material. 

These familiar little faces can quickly bring excitement to their learning day and help them better relate to the material.

There are lots of ways you can use emojis. Try printing a few different faces on notecards, then ask each learner to circle how they felt about the day’s lesson. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could suggest students draw the emoji that best represents their feelings. Just be ready for some interesting submissions if you take this route. 

But don’t stop with just the emoji! Make sure you add a question asking each student to explain why they chose that option. This will give you a better understanding of their feelings and understanding of the material. 

There are plenty of printable templates available for this exit ticket idea. And it can be easily generated in Google Classroom for virtual sessions.

3. Record a flipgrid video

Exit tickets don’t have to be just slips of paper with words and pictures. Mix it up by asking your students to make a Flip (formerly Flipgrid) video. Flip is a mobile app students can use to create short video responses to a prompt. This app is currently used in classrooms across the country. And it brings loads of fun to the learning process in a medium kids already enjoy.

One of the best perks of Flipgrid is its flexibility — it can be used in all kinds of classrooms, virtual, hybrid or in-person. And when students know this activity is coming, they’re likely to pay even more attention during the lesson because they’re excited to create their video. 

4. Gauge student progress

Exit tickets can also be used to gauge student progress on larger projects or activities. If your students are working on a large assignment over weeks or months, an exit ticket provides insight into the student process. Are they struggling in one area? Where are the most common bottlenecks? 

With these answers, you can determine where the class as a whole needs extra support. It also helps you identify which students are struggling with independent work and need some extra assistance. 

Help your students with their time management skills by establishing milestones at various points during big projects. Not only will this help them know when they need to report progress on their exit tickets, but it will also help them break the large task into more manageable steps.

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5. Print your exit tickets on sticky notes

A classroom community gathers around a desk brainstorming ideas with post-it notes.

Keep your kids engaged by mixing up your exit note paper. Sticky notes make great exit tickets! Your students can hang them on bulletin boards or stick them to your desk for easy reviewing. And don’t worry — you don’t have to spend time each day writing the prompts on each student’s sticky note. You can actually print the ticket text right onto your notes!

But you can also keep it super simple (without any sticky note printing). Ask students to write their names on the sticky notes and then place them on a graph or chart that shows their level of understanding. Some teachers use visuals like traffic lights to categorize how confident students feel about the lesson. 

If students are worried about putting the sticky note in the lower columns, you can instruct them to write their names on the back instead, and then place them on the chart as they exit for the day. 

6. Ask for student feedback

A small group of primary students participating in a class discussion during carpet time.

The best thing you can get from your students on an exit ticket is honest feedback. For the best shot at honesty, try posing questions like:

  • What topic do you wish I covered more?
  • Is there anything you want to learn more about?
  • How did you feel about today’s activity?

Students will feel supported and valued because you are directly asking for their feedback and thoughts in a positive way. And, like other exit tickets, knowing these questions are coming can encourage students to pay better attention during lessons.

For this to work, make sure your students know that the exit cards are a safe space to share. They can be totally honest and will not get in trouble for what they write. And in that same vein, remember that not every lesson can be your best. It’s okay if the feedback isn’t always shiny. Some lessons need to be tweaked and polished, and now you know how.

7. Use an exit ticket prompt

Beyond just asking for feedback, there are many other questions you can ask to gain student insight into lessons and the classroom experience. Some ideas include:

  • How would you define [term from lesson]?
  • How can you apply a skill you learned today in real life?
  • Which concept in [subject of lesson] is currently the most difficult for you?
  • What is one idea that you understand 100% from today’s lesson?
  • Do you prefer working independently, with a partner, or in a group? Why?

Some of these questions may be perfect for your exit slips. But you can also come up with your own exit ticket prompts, depending on what subject you’re teaching and what your students need.

8. Collect answers via Google Forms

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If paper and pencil aren’t your jam or you’re teaching virtually, Google Forms is a great option. Many of the ideas we’ve already discussed can be easily translated into a Google Form. And if you’re already using Google Classrooms, students will have little trouble filling out your form. And bonus — all of their answers will be collected into one nice, neat place for your review. 

You also have the option in Google Forms for students to answer your prompts anonymously. If you’re asking for feedback or ways to improve the lesson, learners may feel more sharing if they know it’s completely anonymous.

9. Use the 3-2-1 method

Another popular assessment tool used by teachers across grade levels is the 3-2-1 Method. On the exit card, you ask your learners to:

  1. Write down 3 things you learned during today’s lesson. This could be anything from vocabulary words to equations or new-to-them information.
  2. Write down 2 questions you have about today’s material.
  3. Write down 1 thing you need more help with from today’s lesson.

This strategy is great because it engages students in both areas of improvement and things they did well in the lesson. The focus isn’t specifically on the good parts or the bad parts. It encourages them to reflect on their progress while also setting new goals for tomorrow.

10. Brain dump

Elementary kids gathered around a table talking and writing during a student-centered learning activity.

For this style of exit ticket, all you need is blank paper and a pen. At the end of the period or day, give your students 2-3 minutes to write down whatever comes to mind about today’s lesson. You can prompt them to write down everything they remember about the lesson, or leave it vague and see what they write. 

This review of what they learned will help cement the concepts in their memory. Students can even share their brain dump with a classmate or small group before turning them in. Hearing what other students remembered and how they interpreted the information provides another learning opportunity.

This strategy can help them wake up their brains after taking in a lot of information. And it may even get their creative juices flowing. The more you do it, you’ll learn which prompts result in the best responses, and you can craft these brain dump sessions to be exactly what you and your students need.

11. Ask a lunch question

Teacher asking students a question on a whiteboard.

Before you dismiss your students for lunch, give them a question to ponder while they eat. This practice provides an easy pivot back into learning once they return to the classroom. And it can also help spark interesting conversations at the lunch table.

A simple question about the day’s lesson can help you gauge student understanding. Or a tease for what’s coming next can lead to a flurry of excitement. This also provides a little extra practice time for students who may be struggling with certain topics.

12. Analyze your student responses

Teacher reading her exit ticket responses on tablet in class.

After you decide what your exit ticket will say and how you’re going to present them, you need to think about how you’re going to review and analyze the responses. Most of the information you’re collecting is time-sensitive, so you’ll want to evaluate the assessment data quickly. Then you can implement lesson plan changes and provide extra support exactly when it’s needed. 

If you use exit tickets daily, you will want to review them daily. If that feels like too much, no worries. Some teachers choose to only use weekly exit tickets for this reason. Decide what works best for you and give it a try. You can always change it up later.

Benefits of using exit tickets at the end of class

It’s easy to see how exit tickets can benefit teachers and students alike. Receiving and incorporating feedback is a research-based instructional strategy. Lesson plans can be more customized, helping students learn. 

Additionally, exit tickets can encourage increased engagement. They give students a sense of ownership in the learning process, and it helps them know their feelings and accomplishments are important. Learners feel valued and respected when their feedback is implemented. 

This is also one classroom tool that is completely customizable. You can change them as often as needed to suit your classroom’s needs. And they can be tweaked for any subject, grade level or project. 

Finally, exit tickets can be a large portion of your professional development strategy. You’re getting constant feedback from the little people you’re serving. This can help direct your continuing education efforts, filling in any gaps your students call out. 

We all know that education is not stagnant. Educators need to grow and adapt with each new teaching strategy, classroom tool and educational study that’s developed. And exit tickets can help.

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Exit tickets can be a great way to wrap up your day and check in on your students’ progress.

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