All teachers are different so I am positive some teachers just love exit tickets. But I am here to say, “I hate them.” I also would like to say if you get rid of them don’t replace them with anything.
Exit tickets are a waste of time and energy. The fad grew out of the sentiment that students should be working from bell to bell when in reality, a few moments of downtime is beneficial to students and teachers.
I’ve used a variety of exit tickets in the classroom because at first, I was on board with them and thought they were an awesome idea. I was also a brand new teacher fresh out of graduate school. But I soon realized anything written was a pain in my rear because I had to grade them. If students are going to spend the time writing a sentence or a paragraph then I need to actually read what they write and grade it. Grading based on completion isn’t adequate either because I am asking students for honest and high-level summaries. If you grade on completion you are going to get some really crap or off-topic answers which only reenforces to your students that it is busy work.
Eventually I only used exit tickets because administration asked students randomly, “do you do exit tickets?”
My preferred method of exit ticket was verbal. To make my life easier I gave the entire class a grade based on a few responses. Sometimes I used volunteers and sometimes I called on students randomly. But in all fairness, this is an awful way to assess what students know. I ALWAYS gave perfect scores for exit tickets which again isn’t an effective method of assessing learning gains or knowledge and doesn’t give me an idea of which students grasped what we did for the day.
But this brings me back to the point that exit tickets are just a waste of time. It sounds amazing to say, “Students are engaged in learning from bell to bell.” However, my best lessons usually ended naturally. I didn’t fill extra time with nothing. I may have directed students to reminders about deadlines but generally, I wanted to sit down, grade a few things, and recharge briefly before the next class.
Students DESERVE downtime too. They got to pack their belongings and have a minute to stretch and talk. Having private time, not learning time is important for learning. You are more able to focus when it is necessary and have better recall.
Exit tickets are just busywork that needs grading and I had enough to grade without having to worry about exit tickets. If I asked a good exit ticket question, that required me to read every single response. Great teaching requires authentic feedback. A bad question was a throw-away moment and the students knew that and didn’t appreciate it – just like I didn’t appreciate the crappy answers.
Personally, I think it is more important to not bombard students with tons of busy work and to assess in more meaningful ways. Use them, don’t use them. Just know, your students hate them, don’t learn anything, and resent the fact that you do not respect their time.
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