A Ticket Out the Door

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Many teachers struggle with closure.  It’s always a challenge to stop the lesson in time at the end of the period to sum up the day’s learning and reflect on whether or not we have achieved our desired outcomes.  One powerful strategy for gathering data about student learning at the end of a learning episode is the exit ticket.  An exit ticket gives the teacher formative data about where students are in their learning and should inform choices I make as a teacher about subsequent lesson plans.

Here are some great Exit Ticket templates you can use:

http://wgbyeducation.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/exitslips.pdf

And here is a Pinterest board devoted to the topic:

But, remember, an exit ticket does not have to be fancy and photocopied.  It can be a slip of paper or index card.  What matters most is:  will the questions you are asking provide you with the data you need to drive your instructional decision making?

We often ask questions on exit tickets that are too open ended or general.  Craft your questions to get at the most important learning: What will students know, understand, and be able to do?

Here is a list of Exit Ticket prompts I’ve begun to accumulate that are grouped by levels of Bloom’s taxonomy and more:

http://letthedatabeyourguide.wikispaces.com/Exit+Slip+Prompts

So, now I have the Exit Ticket data… what do I do with it?

Some examples of ways a teacher might respond to Exit Ticket data might be:

what the data says > how I might respond to it

  • all students met the objective > move on with the curriculum
  • most students have not met the objective >  plan a follow up activity using a different modality
  • some students met the objective, some partially met it, some are still struggling with it > sort the exit tickets to create flexible groups with tiered activities 

Exit tickets are just one way to collect formative data from our students and can provide direction for teachers on their lesson planning and their choices for instructional strategies.

I collected the formative data… Now what?

Teachers are constantly collecting data.

1. I teach a concept. I see puzzled faces. I respond by switching the mode of presentation (ex. from oral to visual).
2. I collect student work. I notice considerable gaps in my students’ learning. I respond by creating an activity for the next class day with flexible groups tiered by readiness.

I’m intrigued by this phenomenon. Although it was a long time ago, I’m pretty sure that “responding to formative data” wasn’t a topic of study in any of my methods classes. So, how do teachers develop this menu of options to meet the needs of their learners?

For me, mostly through intuition and trial and error.

In this age of teacher evaluation tied to student growth, we cannot allow intuition and trial and error to drive our instructional decisions. How can I develop a menu of options to guide my decisions?

James Popham in his book, Transformative Assessment in Action: An Inside Look at Applying the Process (ASCD, 2011), he suggests several categories of responses to formative data:

A. Immediate instructional adjustments based on assessed performance
B. Immediate instructional adjustments based on student-reported understanding
C. Near-future instructional adjustments
D. Last-chance instructional adjustments
E. Students’ learning tactic adjustments
F. Classroom climate shifts

In response to this perceived gap in knowledge, I’ve created a wikipage of types of formative data teachers collect and possible ways a teacher might respond to it:

http://letthedatabeyourguide.wikispaces.com/Responding+to+formative+data

I’d love to add to this list. Please write your additions as comments to this post.