Back to School: Put Exit Ticket Strategies to Good Use

You just finished delivering what you consider an incredible lesson with great opportunities for student learning and understanding – now, have you stopped and ask yourself, “Did my students really get it?”

There are multiple ways to check for understanding, but a really great go-to strategy is an exit slip, or exit slip strategy. In the traditional format and at the conclusion of the lesson or activity, students write a reflection or possibly the answer to a specific question. You can even use a clicker system to capture student responses.

A Snapshot of Student Learning

At a glance, an exit ticket gives you insight into overall student learning. Robert Marzano defines four prompts that might be useful as an exit ticket strategy. They are meant to:

  • Provide formative assessment data
  • Stimulate student self-analysis
  • Focus on instructional strategies
  • Open communication with the teacher

In other words, exit tickets check for understanding and by checking in with your students, you have a lens into their learning.

All Students Have a Voice

Fourth grade educator and SMART amp champ, Brad Nikunen knows firsthand how important voice and choice is in his classroom. Using the exit ticket strategy, he has seen all of his students have a legitimate voice in sharing their understanding and ideas with him.

“There are many exit slip strategies out there. I have tried them all. I have used the paper/pencil strategy. I have dabbled with many digital versions such as Socrative, Infuse Learning, Plickers, Google Docs, EduCreations, Show Me. But by far, the most successful in my classroom has been my SMART amp Exit Slip workspace. Here’s why:

  • No papers to sort through.

With the paper/pencil exit slip I often find myself with a handful of paper exit slips, in which I must sort through. If that does not happen soon after the lesson, it will not happen at all! With SMART amp I can evaluate wherever and whenever I have web access.

  • All evidence of learning/understanding is located in one space.

All of my students’ answers are in one concise location, the workspace. This makes it very easy and efficient for me as the teacher to evaluate quickly.

  • Students are able to “gain valuable insight from other students.”

With this exit slip method, I’ve seen students who are less comfortable contributing often perform at a much higher level because they have this digital voice they can be proud of. They also have real-time examples of their classmates’ learning happening right in front of them as they answer.

See for yourself. These are some examples of what Brad’s SMART amp exit slips look like:

Perimeter/Area Exit Slip

This first example is of a check for understanding on Perimeter and Area. You can see in the prompt box what Brad was looking for, and then six students’ very different ways of demonstrating their understanding of the prompt:

Reading Assessment Exit Slip

This second example is used at the end of his reading unit to measure comprehension. I love how unique each answer is:

Back to school is a great time to reinforce an existing strategy or to even re-purpose a tried and true practice. Exit ticket strategies allow for students to examine and evaluate their own work and gain valuable insight or ideas from other students. It not only provides you with the ability to check for understanding, but can expand the learning so that the exit tickets become a scaffold to a deeper level of student inquiry.


Download Brad’s Exit Slip SMART amp workspace from the SMART Exchange to make it your own.

Don’t have SMART amp? Download your free trial of SMART amp and try out exit tickets with your students.  

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Heather Lamb
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About Heather Lamb

A lifelong learner, Heather has over 16 years’ experience working in K-12 environments including the library media center. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas. Her research interest includes ubiquitous learning environments. As one of SMART’s Marketing Managers, Heather loves sharing inspiring stories from our customer community.

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