Ever teach a lesson and think students understood the learning objectives only to find when they hand in the work that they didn’t quite get it? If you said yes, then you should give an exit ticket a try as an easy and low-stakes formative assessment method.


For those unfamiliar with the term, an exit ticket, or exit slip, is a short piece of formative assessment that occurs at the end of class that is intended to check and synthesise student understanding of key concepts. It doesn’t have to be graded, but is merely a check-in so you have an idea of what needs to be reviewed or how you may differentiate learning in upcoming lessons.


Exit tickets can be as low-tech as students answering a question on a piece of paper, or can involve a student response system or app such as Spiral. Although the first time you do a digital exit ticket may require some extra time for setup, it ultimately can be more useful because you can collect and save data from the exit tickets to cloud storage or your device.


The following exit ticket examples (and links to real examples made using the Spiral suite – which is often used as an exit ticket app) should give you plenty of inspiration for incorporating more formative assessment into your lessons.


An Exit Ticket Helps Students Reflect on their Learning

Algebra review Exit ticket


Getting students to reflect on their learning is one of the most fundamental exit ticket strategies. In the chaos of moving on to a new subject or getting ready to go at the end of a school day, sometimes the most important part of teaching, the consolidation, can get lost. Exit tickets give students time to pause and reflect on what was just covered or to even make goals about what they hope to accomplish in the upcoming unit or semester.


Helping students to develop goal-setting skills is something that can benefit them the rest of their lives and turn them into lifelong learners. This exit ticket template on Spiral’s Quickfire was created for an Algebra unit, but the questions could easily apply to any subject at the start of a new unit or semester. It encourages students to focus both on what they want to accomplish during the semester but also negative behaviour they may want to avoid to be successful in their learning.


Generate Student-Centred Inquiry


It almost goes without saying but when students have an active hand in their learning, they are far more likely to be engaged. At the start of a new topic or even midway through a unit you can use exit tickets to generate inquiry questions that will guide your lesson topics.


Teaching students about flight and the properties of air? Ask them what aircraft or what winged animal they’d like to know more about. You can teach students about the concept of lift using any aircraft, but if your students express an interest on the exit slip in learning more about helicopters, then it would make sense to cater to their interests while still addressing learning objectives.


Try out this exit ticket template using Discuss and adjust it for your specific inquiry or subject needs.

Inquiry Exit Ticket


Apply Knowledge in Creative Ways


One of the beauties of exit tickets is that they can take many forms. You may wish to use traditional test question formats such as multiple choice or fill in the blanks, use a short answer question, or even have students apply what they learned in the lesson to a new problem or scenario. 


This exit slip by William Qualls uses Quickfire to question students on scenarios that require equilateral triangles. The exit slip tests students on the knowledge they’ve already gained and allows them to creatively apply that knowledge.

GEO Unit 2 Lesson 3 Construct an Equilateral Triangle (Exit Ticket)

Start a Discussion


Exit tickets can also be a way to generate discussion. Rather than thinking up talking points and questions all by yourself, have students answer an open-ended discussion question that could then be unpacked in more detail in future classes.


You can see what a discussion question exit ticket would look like in this History Discuss presentation. The ticket asks for students to answer why Augustus was a great ruler of Rome, which is a broad enough question that students could approach the topic in multiple ways. The best part about doing an open-ended question like this on Discuss instead of on individual pieces of paper is that students can see their other classmate’s responses real time and can add comments if they want to extend the thought.

Age of Augustus Exit Ticket


Have a no-pressure Brainstorm


Just as an open-ended discussion exit ticket can help generate material for future lessons, exit tickets can also be used for starting off larger projects with a quick brainstorm. It can be hard for some students to brainstorm ideas for big assignments such as a persuasive essay because they’re scared of writing down something silly or wrong.


Writing is a process and the majority of that process is rewriting; however, some students seem to think they need to write down perfection right from the start. Having students complete an exit slip to brainstorm for an upcoming assignment can give the indecisive or perfectionist students a sense of urgency. They may even be pleasantly surprised at what they’re able to accomplish in a five minute concentrated brainstorm!


Final Words on Exit Tickets for Formative Assessment


These are some suggestions to get you thinking about the different ways exit tickets could work for you and your students. The intention is for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in class and this can take many forms, be it answering multiple choice, labelling a diagram, or responding to a discussion question. You can go low-tech with paper and pencil or use an app or student response system to gather your results paper-free.


Introducing some exit tickets into your classroom can allow you to be more responsive in your teaching and let students show more of what they know in a low-pressure setting than they might be able to in traditional quizzes and tests.


How do you use exit tickets or exit cards in the classroom? We’d love to hear from you!
Looking for new formative assessment ideas? Check out the Spiral suite to make interactive presentations, fun surveys and quizzes, and more. Try out our new extension for Chrome to make classroom activities anytime, anywhere.