"Effective Use of Exit Tickets
In this Edutopia article, educators at Hampton High School in Pennsylvania describe
how they use exit tickets to assess student understanding at the end of lessons and follow up
with differentiated help. “A good exit ticket can tell whether students have a superficial or in-depth understanding of the material,” they write. “Teachers can then use this data for adapting instruction to meet students’ needs the very next day… Exit tickets allow teachers to see where the gaps in knowledge are, what they need to fix, what students have mastered, and what can be enriched in the classroom… Perhaps one group will get more direct instruction around the basic concept, while another group will work independently. Perhaps only one or two students need some additional help, and you’ll plan accordingly. The key to differentiation is that you have high expectations for all students and a clear objective. If you know what you want students to master, differentiation allows you to use different strategies to help all students get there.”
In terms of length, 3-5 short questions make a good exit ticket, say the authors. They recommend multiple-choice or short-answer questions linked to the lesson objective and focused on key skills or concepts that students should have grasped. Students should be able to complete the exit ticket in a few minutes at the end of a class period. Exit tickets can be pencil-and-paper, but technology makes collection and analysis quicker and easier – Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, clickers, and other apps.
The authors advise against questions that are too general (Do you understand?) and questions that can be answered Yes or No. They provide these examples of effective questions:
- Name one important thing you learned in class today.
- What did you think was accomplished by the small-group activity we did today?
- Write one question about today’s content – something that has left you puzzled.
- Today’s lesson had three objectives. Which of the three do you think was most successfully reached? Explain. Which was not attained? Why do you think it wasn’t?
- Read this problem and tell me what your first step would be in solving it.
- One of the goals of this class is to have all participants contribute to the seminar. How well do you think this was achieved today?
- Do you have any suggestions for how today’s class could have been improved?
- I used the blackboard extensively today. Was its organization and content helpful to you in learning? Why or why not?
- Which of the readings you did for class today was most helpful in preparing you for the lesson? Why?
- We did a concept map activity in class today. Was this a useful learning activity for you? Why or why not?
“Exit Tickets: Checking for Understanding” by teachers at Hampton High School, Allison Park, Pennsylvania in Edutopia, June 23, 2015, http://edut.to/23FtBj3"
“The act of writing, even if the product consists of only a hundred and forty characters composed with one’s thumbs, forces a kind of real-time distillation of emotional chaos.” Researchers have confirmed the efficacy of writing as a therapeutic intervention.
She was trained to avoid jumping into problem-solving mode, instead using validation
Probes were important to get more information
and she was trained to highlight strengths
Showing empathy was important
The trainer stressed the importance of avoiding teen patois and not making typos, which undermine authoritativeness.
The advantage of using texting for a crisis hotline is that teens who are willfully uncommunicative when speaking are often forthcoming to the point of garrulous when texting, quite willing to disclose sensitive information.
But in practical terms, text messaging affords a level of privacy that the human voice makes impossible. If you’re hiding from an abusive relative or you just don’t want your classmates to know how overwhelmed you feel about applying to college, a text message, even one sent in public, is safer than a phone call.
What’s more, tears go undetected by the person you’ve reached out to, and you don’t have to hear yourself say aloud your most shameful secrets.”
All people have the capacity for resilience, she says, and there are three factors that tap and nurture that potential: (a) caring relationships, (b) high expectations, and (c) meaningful opportunities for participation and contribution.
The three factors help develop children’s social competence, problem-solving ability, sense of self and internal locus of control, and sense of purpose and optimism about the future – all of which are key to dealing successfully with adversity.
Having all three factors present in a school can compensate for their absence in the family, community, or peer group. And a school with these factors can be resilient as an organization in the face of challenges and traumatic events it may face.
This is all about providing a sense of connectedness and belonging, “being there,” showing compassion and trust.
Teachers make appropriate expectations clear and recognize progress as well as performance. They also encourage mindfulness and self-awareness of moods, thinking, and actions. Principals orchestrate a curriculum that is challenging, comprehensive, thematic, experiential, and inclusive of multiple perspectives. They also provide training in resilience and youth development, and work to change deeply held adult beliefs about students’ capacities.
Teachers hold daily class meetings and empower students to create classroom norms and agreements. Principals establish peer-helping/tutoring and cross-age mentoring/tutoring programs and set up peer support networks to help new students and families acclimate to the school environment.
Resilience is a process, not a trait. It’s a struggle to define oneself as healthy amidst serious challenges.
Several personal strengths are associated with resilience – being strong cognitively, socially, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.
In classrooms, open channels of communication are essential. Nothing should inhibit, embarrass, or shame students from asking questions during a lesson.
a person who displays bad judgment is not ‘forever’ a bad person.”
To help others, educators need to take care of themselves. An analogy: on an airplane, people need to have their own oxygen masks in place before they can help others.
“The admissions process can counteract a narrow focus on personal success and promote in young people a greater appreciation of others and the common good.
ome have pointed out that the report applies mostly to a small percent of students, and what colleges say they value may be a challenge to game the system.
Julie Coiro (University of Rhode Island) takes note of a large international study by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), which found that computers were having no significant impact on students’ proficiency in reading, math, and science.
In many countries, the study found, frequent use of computers actually made students’ performance worse. “Although these findings may relate to differences in professional development or implementation,” says Coiro, “it was clear that drill-and-practice software had a negative effect on student performance.”
Technology is not critical for learning to be personal; all that’s needed is space and time to actively reflect, collaborate, and engage with personally meaningful ideas.
Once students are empowered to direct their own learning pathways, technology can open the door to a range of texts, tools, and people to explore and connect ideas
when blended learning is implemented in a balanced way, “teachers and students use a range of human and digital resources to improve their ability to think, problem solve, collaborate, and communicate. A delicate balance of talk and technology use keeps us all grounded in conversations with other people about what really matters.” Coiro has four suggestions for striking this balance:
• Build a culture of personal inquiry. Students have regular opportunities to pursue topics relevant to them, using a range of texts, tools, and people (offline and online) to get emotionally engaged.
• Expect learners to talk. Students engage in literacy experiences involving face-to-face and online collaboration, conversations, arguments, negotiations, and presentations.
• Encourage digital creation. Students create original products that share new knowledge and connect insights from school, home, and the community.
• Make space for students to participate and matter. “Through participation, individuals assert their autonomy and ownership of learning,” says Coiro. “In turn, their inquiry becomes more personal and engaging.”
“Unlike participation in sports,” says Stygles, “the choice to abandon reading to pursue other talents is not an option. Kids really have no escape from the struggles they face during the learning-to-read process, especially in light of frequent assessment or graduation through levels.”
“Shamed readers do not believe they improve or can improve,” says Stygles
“Measurement must be replaced by early and frequent positive transactions between reading, teacher, and texts,”
We should share with students what intimidates us about reading, how we find time, and how we focus… If we show our readers realities of reading, maturing students will see reading as less burdensome.”
“What students can learn,” says Stygles, “is how to manage their time, select books reasonably, and justify their reading choices. When students understand their capacity – what they can do successfully – they not only protect themselves from shameful failure, but also become stronger readers through repeated experiences of success and pleasure.”
“A good exit ticket can tell whether students have a superficial or in-depth understanding of the material,” they write. “Teachers can then use this data for adapting instruction to meet students’ needs the very next day… Exit tickets allow teachers to see where the gaps in knowledge are, what they need to fix, what students have mastered, and what can be enriched in the classroom…
The key to differentiation is that you have high expectations for all students and a clear objective.
If you know what you want students to master, differentiation allows you to use different strategies to help all students get there.”
Each of these tools allows students to contribute individually to shared creations involving inquiry, peer feedback, and collaborative composition.
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