Using Exit Tickets in Your Prek-12 Classroom

Admit and exit tickets are brief, targeted assessment tools used in PreK-12 classrooms to gauge student understanding, engagement, and reflections before and after a lesson or learning activity.

Admit Tickets

An admit ticket typically consists of a prompt or question related to an upcoming lesson, which students respond to at the beginning of class. It is a formative assessment that activates prior knowledge, generates interest, and sets learning goals for teachers and students.

Exit Tickets

An exit ticket, on the other hand, is administered at the end of the lesson or class period. It typically prompts students to reflect on their learning, ask questions, or summarize key concepts. Exit tickets are used as simple and quick assessment tools for measuring student comprehension, and they help inform the teacher’s future planning and instruction.

Admin and exit tickets, because they are designed to be a quick look into a student’s understanding, generally consist of a few short questions in easy-to-analyze formats: multiple choice questions, simple short answer prompts, or a small amount (1-2) of more complex questions. While this format for admin and exit tickets is a great way to quickly gauge student understanding through your instruction, at times, you may feel that you’d like to foster a deeper culture of reflection in those moments.

A culture of reflection in the pre-K-12 classroom refers to an environment where teachers and students regularly examine and analyze their learning experiences, connecting with concepts through a more critical lens. It involves fostering a mindset of curiosity where students are encouraged to critically evaluate their thoughts, actions, and beliefs to deepen their understanding of the classroom material. While reflection can be incorporated throughout the learning cycle, this blog article will provide some ideas on incorporating reflection through your admin and exit tickets.

Consider Mrs. Cromwell’s Algebra Lesson

In a regular routine, Mrs. Cromwell administers exit tickets each day. The tickets include three algebraic equations for students to solve based on the day’s lesson. The students drop their exit tickets into a box as they exit the classroom, and Mrs. Cromwell reviews the answers before the next lesson so that she understands whether she needs to delve into the concepts more.

On one particular day, Mrs. Cromwell decides she’d like to incorporate a bit more reflection into her admin and exit routine. After reviewing exit tickets for her lesson, she plans this activity to utilize as her admin ticket for the next day: She provides a one-word problem that incorporates two different concepts from the past week. Instead of simply asking students to solve the problem, she asks them to write their reasoning for each step they take to complete the work. Then, she groups students together to debrief and check their responses to foster more collaboration that she will then carry over into the day’s lesson.

Ms. Bolt’s Photosynthesis Experiment

In a regular routine, Ms. Bolt distributes admit tickets to all her students the day after a science experiment and asks recall questions about the concepts they reviewed.

Using a more reflective approach, Ms. Bolt might instead include some open-ended questions in her admit ticket, asking her students to reflect on their experiment and discuss the variables involved, potential sources of errors, and the significance of their findings.

Let’s look at this table to see more ways of taking routine uses of admi/exit tickets as assessment tools and how to use them as tools for reflection:

So, how do you transform your current assessment tools into reflective tools?

The REFLECT Framework guides prek-12 teachers to design admit/exit tickets that can be reflective practice tools in the classroom.

Let’s look at the REFLECT framework:

Reframe the Prompt:

Multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank prompts are often great tools to quickly assess student understanding before or after a lesson. But, to encourage deeper reflection, reframe your prompts to be more open-ended. For example, instead of asking students to summarize a reading, prompt them to analyze the author’s choices or relate the text to their own experiences.

Engage with Metacognition:

While your admit and exit tickets are often used as a quick check-in to recall facts and concepts, sometimes it is important to check your students’ critical reasoning about your lesson topics. Encourage your students to think about their own thinking processes by requiring them to answer the “how, ” “what,” and “why” of a concept.

Facilitate Discussion:

Create opportunities for students to share their reflections with peers. After your admit or exit tickets are completed by your students, conduct a collaborative discussion with your class- whether in pairs, small group discussions or whole-class sharing.

Leverage Multiple Modalities:

Provide options for students to demonstrate their understanding in various formats. Written or oral question-and-answer sessions can give you an idea of student learning, but presentations, visual representations, and other modalities can also give you insight into student thinking capabilities. Providing options allows your students to actively engage in the reflection process.

Encourage Self-Assessment:

After students have completed an admit or exit ticket (or any assessment!), encourage them to evaluate their own work and progress. Ask them to identify their own strengths and areas for improvement. From these insights, you can help them to set personal learning goals for improvement.

Connect to Prior Knowledge:

Encourage your students to make connections between their prior knowledge and new knowledge. By relating new concepts to familiar ideas, students can deepen their understanding of both upcoming concepts as well as past concepts they have already learned.

Tailor Your Feedback:

Provide opportunities in your assessments to offer personalized feedback on student work and reflections. Find ways to acknowledge their insights and support their growth and development as reflective learners.

Admit and exit tickets are powerful tools that teachers should incorporate into their instructional practices to continuously evaluate student understanding. Utilizing admin and exit tickets as a reflective tool can provide you with deeper insights into a student’s connection with the concepts and their learning growth over time.

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