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How to Improve Instruction using Exit Tickets

Implementing Reading Exit Tickets for Quick Assessment

Notebook showing many exit ticket passages on half sheets of paper with colored construction paper behind each of them.

Using exit tickets is an easy and effective way to understand more about your students and your instruction.  When used as an assessment tool, exit tickets provide teachers with valuable data about how well each student understands the skill they are learning.

I love using exit tickets for assessment because they are easy and effective.

Easy:

Exit tickets are very short, so students are able to complete them quickly.

Using them as a brief assessment allows teachers to assess student competency and lesson efficacy without spending hours grading and/or reviewing answers.

Effective:

Exit tickets provide valuable data about student proficiency that educators can use to make important decisions. By using exit tickets as an informal assessment, teachers will know whether students are making progress and whether they need more time or instruction on a particular topic. Exit tickets can also identify when students aren’t catching on and another teaching strategy may be more effective.

Notebook showing two exit ticket passages. One has an image of a frog and then other a map of the united states. The text is illegible because it is small. There are pencils and pens laying around the passages which are set atop an open notebook along with paper clips.

How to Implement Exit Tickets for Reading Assessment

I like to use reading exit tickets towards the end of each reading unit for each standard or skill. Typically, I will give an exit ticket when I think the majority of my students have mastered the skill, but I still allow for a day to provide interventions for students who have not reached mastery.

Four-Step Strategy

  1. Toward the end of the unit, give each student one exit ticket. Then allow him or her to read and answer the corresponding questions.
  2. Collect the exit tickets and grade them. Try to grade them quickly. The faster you respond to the results the more effective this strategy will be for your students.
  3. Use the data to determine if your students need reteaching, more practice, or are ready for a larger assessment and the next unit.
  4. Review any incorrect answers with students promptly.
    • For students who got all of the questions on the exit ticket correct, continue to provide them with independent practice. Try scaffolding passages to a higher level each time.
    • For students who miss just one question, you can ask them to try to fix their work, then prove why their new answer is correct. It is important that they provide clear evidence or an explanation for their correction to ensure they are not playing a guessing game. If the student is still struggling, it is a clear indication that they need direct coaching from you.
    • For students who miss 2-3 questions, they need more guided practice. First, in either a small group or independently, walk students through the process of reading the text and answering the questions. Then, provide them with further guided practice. My standards-based reading comprehension units are perfect for these activities. Continue to provide more guided practice until students are successfully able to work independently.

*I recommend moving on to a formal assessment once you know the majority of your students are successfully working on the standard independently.

In my 2nd-5th grade exit tickets, there are two exit tickets for each standard/skill. This gives you the opportunity to administer two different assessments if you cover a standard more than once.

Notebook showing two exit ticket passages. One has an image of a frog and then other a map of the united states. The text is illegible because it is small. There are pencils and pens laying around the passages which are set atop an open notebook along with paper clips.

Other Uses for Exit Tickets

If you have a more advanced class, you can give one exit ticket as a pre-assessment. This can help you determine if students need explicit instruction in a particular skill or not. If the majority of your students do not need explicit instruction, you can teach those who need it using small groups. I recommend scaffolding independent practice with the students who already show skill proficiency.

 

Everything You Need

I created my Exit Tickets for 2nd through 5th grade, so teachers have all of the exit tickets they need in one place.  Each set contains 34 engaging short passages and multiple-choice questions similar to those found on state tests. They follow the same format and use color-coding to engage your students.  Check them out!

 

If you’re not currently using exit tickets, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to elicit important proficiency data that can empower your instruction and improve student success. If you do give exit tickets a try, let me know how it worked out in your classroom!

 

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