Have you used exit slips to assess learning?
Exit slips are written responses to questions teachers pose at the end of a class or lesson. These are slips of paper on which they reflect upon what they know and what they are coming to know.
As Leigh (2012) notes in her article ‘The Classroom is Alive with the Sound of Thinking’,
Exit slips offer students a physical space to digest ideas, to question, to ponder, to ruminate over what has been shared and discussed in class. Specifically, exit slips can document learning, emphasize the process of learning, and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction.
They help children reflect on what they have learned and provide powerful clarification of how they are making sense of content and themselves as learners.
They are easy to administer: for the last five minutes at the end of your lesson simply ask children to respond to a question or prompt. Exit slips are then handed in as children “exit” the classroom.
According to Fisher and Frey (2004), there are three categories of Exit Slips:
1. Prompts that document learning
- Write one thing you learned today
- Discuss how today’s lesson could be used in the real world.
- Today I learned…
- I could use today’s lesson in my work or “real” life by….
- The three most important things I learned today were….
- Today, I changed my mind about….
- What I’d like to tell someone else about what I learned today is…
2. Prompts that emphasise the process of learning
- I didn’t understand…
- One question I have about today’s lesson is…
- I am confused about…
- What I’d like to learn next is…
3. Prompts to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching
- Today I enjoyed working in groups because…
- paid attention today because we…
- The thing that helped me understand the most today was…
- One thing that did not help me was….
Other exit prompts include:
- I would like to learn more about…
- Please explain more about…
- The thing that surprised me the most today was…
- I wish…
There are lots of exits slip templates available online including creative examples presented as Tweets.
Exit slips can be also be used in different ways, for example,
- Children can pair up and share their responses with their partner and discuss their responses.
- Completed exit slips are collected, shuffled and then distributed to children randomly who then read the responses on the slips and then provide their own feedback and responses.
- Completed slips can be given back to children at a later date and they can then reflect on their learning after they have gone deeper into a topic. Children can then comment on how their understanding has or has not changed.
Why use exit slips?
- They provide teachers with an informal measure of how well children have understood a topic or lesson
- They help children self-reflect on what they have learned
- They allow children to express what or how they are thinking about new concepts, ideas and information
- They teach children to think critically
Exit slips really are just the ticket and as Leigh (2012) says,
Opportunities to use exit slips in class communicates to students that their thinking is valued. They matter.
They are a very effective way to facilitate learning as children are encouraged to combine and organise lesson content and experiences in their own words while it is still fresh in their minds.
Many teachers use exit slips routinely as a feedback mechanism and attest to their positive effect on achievement.
Entrance or admit slips (also known as bell ringers) are used in a similar way and teacher use these to ask children to write a response to a prompt you design in order to assess whether or not they learned the material from the lesson before.