If you google search term: exit tickets it joyously declares them to be “an ideal way to end a class”. In reality, it seems at the start of term that exit tickets are the last thing on students’ minds as they pack away eager for lunch, break or home. This quote was from an American University so I was curious to find out if they really worked, and if they did, what level of impact would it have on retrieval?
In primary schools, exit tickets are given out with a problem to solve or a question but how does this translate to a GCSE or A Level business class?
My son, reminiscing on his sixth form years, informs me that you need to give an exit ticket before the first bag comes out. Once that happens you have lost the attention of all the students and no one will bother to answer (or want to) so any impact is lost. He says the first bag out is the sign to pack up, so if your group are packing up early then you need to spot the first bag and get that put away. Handy stuff to know!
Successful exit tickets:
Students don’t hate
Keeps your students from packing up early
Requires little or no planning
Is flexible and can be used in any lesson
Focus on the key question in the lesson for example ‘what is the difference between profit and cash’? Bring this back to the attention of students a topic or keyword so this is what they leave the class with utmost in their minds.
Check students’ understanding of the topic so you know you can move on for example “how confident do you feel about CPA / decision trees /time series analysis/cash flow forecasting” and so on. Lots of unhappy faces ringed on cards or a worksheet tells you to schedule some time to circle back to recover the topic.
Can be used to check prior knowledge before a topic starts. Ask an exit question about an untaught subject “name me a brand” and so on.
The best suggestions appear to fall into 4 categories, I thought I would go through some of the benefits and drawbacks of these methods.
Verbal in class
“Tell me three things you have learnt today” and “Define one keyword from today’s lesson” The downside to this technique is the amount of time it takes to get through a big class, repetition of answers and some students don’t like to be put on the spot. The upside is this is quick to do and can be used for any topic.
Verbal leaving class
Get students to stand in a line at the door at the end of class and they have to give you a verbal exit ticket as they leave. I will try this on a group this week and let you know how it goes. Unless I start this 10 minutes before the end I am not sure I will get everyone out on time. The downside is those that who have already left will not get the benefit of hearing other answers. There may also be some concern of favouritism of those that get to go first. The benefit is that you get to check with every one of your students that they understand.
Exit tickets built into worksheets
Exit tickets that are built into worksheets may work (as the planning has already been done ahead of time) but you may not be in the habit of taking in worksheets so how can you gather the data? Taking in worksheets is lots of additional work and you will soon run out of steam for this idea. An alternative is that you gallop around the room taking a quick look to check that it's all smiley faces or green thumbs up.
Separate sheet for exit ticket
Handing out tick sheets or short answer questions is quick – you can have photocopies ready, but again it is anonymous so may suffer from student bias. You will have to collate this data. Exit tickets are supposed to be a useful tool and not a technique to double your workload. Just be aware that if you are intending to use fake tweets or Facebook posts, students are not using these platforms so may look at you with surprise.
If you are in a classroom using laptops or you have access to computers then there are lots of Poll and Forms sites that you could use. You could get students to complete polls on their phones. There is also a form in Teams but this would have to be organised and planned in advance. The advantage of digital methods is the collation of the data is done for you, 47% said it was a great lesson and they now know all about sources of finance. The downside is the planning time.
Vote counters and jars, (yes I understood / no I didn’t) use a pack of tiddlywinks, distribute one to each student and get them to vote as they leave the room. A quick visual glance should tell you if they have understood. The benefit is the simplicity and flexibility to use it with any subject. The drawback is the emptying of the jar and distribution of the tiddlywinks each time.
Line of confidence
Ask your students to line up across the room and show how confident they are, for example, those that feel super confident about the topic by the window, and those still not sure should stand by the door. Again double bonus of no planning, quick data and keeps hands off bags. The downside is the ‘groupthink or herd mentality’ as students may follow their friends and not really express how they feel, or be too shy to stand apart from the main group.
Show me, or mini whiteboards. Now, this is a good idea, once they have finished doodling ask students to answer 3 quick questions on their boards. You can see at a glance if there is a room full of confident students with the right answers or not. Requires no planning, can be based specifically on the lesson just taught AND it means their hands are busy so not reaching for their bag to pack up or their phones.
I hope this has helped
Sarah is currently teaching GCSE and A level Business at a FE in the Midlands.