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.

I’m so much more than a test score!

As Student Growth is becoming a pivotal part of teacher evaluation, teachers need to become data experts.  Baseline data, formative assessments, and artifacts and evidence will be central to measuring student learning.  Standardized and district-created tests yield data that can be sorted and separated.  Teachers collect daily data from students in the form of student work, exit tickets, and observation.  For some great ideas for formative assessment strategies, visit this link.

So, the question is… do all of those data points paint a complete picture of who your learners are?  I think not.  There is so much more to know about our students beyond just test scores.  What are some ways you can collect data about student interests and learning preferences?

I’ve assembled a variety of resources on the topic of Knowing Your Learners on my wiki called Dare to Differentiate.  There are many tools that have been created, both low and high tech to collect information about our learners in terms of their interests and learning preferences which are customized to the age/grade level of the students.  There are even multiple intelligence and learning styles surveys that can be administered to World Language students in the target language.

Two of my favorite tools were developed by a colleague.  The first, “Where Does Your Intelligence Lie?,” is an Xcel worksheet on which students indicate True or False to a series of statements.  Once you have the student data, you use the second tool, “Class Intelligence Profile,” where you input the two strongest intelligences for each student in a particular class.  The results are then created in a chart and also in the form of a pie graph.

Many teachers with whom I have worked love this tool!  They print out the pie graph for each class and keep it in their plan books.  As they plan lessons for their classes, they refer to the graph to align activities they are planning with the students’ intelligences.

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Another great resource I’ve found recently is called a “personality array.”  You compare your personality with the characters from Winnie the Pooh.

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Happy data collecting!