The ultimate guide to Exit Tickets

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Exit tickets
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How do you know if students have understood your lesson?

Exit Tickets, Exit Slips, or "Tickets Out The Door" are an easy way to find out.

This guide includes a short introduction to Exit Tickets, links to research about their effectiveness in the classroom, and provides some popular exit tickets you can use with your students.

1. What are exit tickets?

Exit tickets or Exit Slips are a simple, low-stress tool for conducting formative assessments with students.

Put simply, they help you understand what your students have understood from your lessons. 

They work in a few ways:

  • Provide formative assessment data
  • Encourage student reflection
  • Remove the anxiety of speaking in front of classmates
  • Provide opportunities for student-to-teacher feedback

Typically a teacher will provide a question at the end of class for students to respond to before leaving. Students respond on either a piece of paper or using a digital exit ticket tool.

Exit tickets should take no more than 5 minutes to complete, with between 1-3 questions. Using a mixture of response types, including both qualitative and quantitative content can give you a better understanding of the class as a whole and the challenges faced by individual students.

For example, you might ask:

“How well did you understand today’s lesson (Scale of 1 -7)”

Followed by:

“​​What is one thing you'd like me to explain more clearly?”

Where teachers use paper exit tickets, the questions are typically determined ahead of the class and printed onto individual pieces of paper, or shown on the board at the front of the class whilst students write on pieces of paper. At the end of the class, students will hand back the paper to the teacher.

2. The benefits of exit tickets

Exit tickets provide a number of helpful benefits for teachers and students:

  1. They provide an efficient tool for formative assessment
  2. They provide opportunities for differentiated instruction
  3. They offer a low stress means of assessing student comprehension
  4. Provide opportunities to collect feedback on student well-being, welfare and classroom environment
  5. Help students reflect on their learning at the end of class or start of the next

3. Do exit tickets work?

Exit tickets have been found to improve behavior and academic achievement.

They enhance understanding, develop reflective skills, and inform teaching practices.  

According to Bowling Green State University, exit tickets are most effective when they actively involve both teachers and students.  

Helping students take ownership of their learning

Motivation is imperative to learning.  When we feel motivated, our engagement levels increase.  We’re likely to put in a greater effort.     

With exit tickets, students are motivated to take ownership of their own learning.

Leigh refers to the tool facilitating ‘rituals for thinking’: they offer a “physical space to digest ideas, to question, to ponder, to ruminate over what has been shared and discussed.”

Self-analysis is a critical skill for successful future learning.  

According to  Paz-Albo and Hervaz, exit tickets stimulate this process.  They enable students to analyse and reflect on their efforts in their learning.  

Students are better able to:

  • Make connections between new and existing information
  • View themselves as true learners
  • Reflect on their processes and actions 
  • Identify with their classmates 

Researchers posit that reflection serves as a purpose for future learning.  Using reflection, students know what worked and what didn’t.  They can make meaningful changes in response to new learning.  

Adjusting Teaching To Promote Learning Outcomes

The true power of exit tickets lies in their ability to shape your teaching.

They’re a meaningful form of formative assessment.

They support teachers in devising individual learning plans and goals.

Marzano explains tangible ways in which to differentiate instruction using exit tickets:

“If the majority of the class identified a specific topic as an area of confusion, the teacher might reteach that content the following day.  If different students identified different topics, the teacher might offer small-group instruction that targets specific concepts... to help clear up students' confusions. Students who understood the content of the lesson well might be assigned to each group as topic-specific experts.”

This tool informs the types of practice opportunities and activities that’ll promote deeper understanding of a topic.  For instance, if students identify visual learning tools as effective, you’ll know to incorporate these into teaching.

4. How to use exit tickets

Using exit tickets with your students is easy. Having a clear plan will help you get the most from the process.

Step 1. Set your objective

Think about the reason your using exit tickets. The most common use is for formative assessment based on the lesson content.

You might also use the exit ticket format at the start of class as a "bell ringer", as a conversation starter mid-lesson, or for SEL and well being checks.

Step 2. Plan your questions

Identify some key questions based on your objective. This might include questions about the lesson content, or some of our suggested questions below.

Step 3. Share with students

If you haven't already used exit tickets with your students, make sure you explain how you will be using them and why. This helps them understand their importance.

You should also consider the mechanism used for collecting exit tickets. Using a tool like Ziplet makes it easy to create, share, collect and analyse exit tickets. It also allows a variety of formats including scale, multiple choice and emoji responses.

Using paper exit tickets and collecting them on the way out the door is a simple but potentially time consuming alternative.

Step 4. Review responses

Exit tickets are only helpful when you can gather meaningful insights from them. Set aside some time to review responses. Grouping students according to their answers can make it easier to follow up.

In your Ziplet account all responses are instantly visualised, and responses can be filtered, helping you identify common themes in students responses and follow up with those who need it.

Step 5. Follow up

Following up with students lets them know their responses are important.

It also allows you to provide differentiated instruction or support to students who need it most.

Take the time to follow up with students either individually or as a class (where appropriate).

Ziplet let's you reply to students directly or as a group, making it easy to follow up on incorrect answers or pieces of feedback.

5. Example questions

Here are some of the most popular questions, taken from articles on

a. Questions to understand content comprehension

The following questions address student understanding of the lesson content and encourage them to reflect on their learning.

  • How well do you do you feel you understood today’s lesson?
  • What was the most important thing you learned in today’s class and why is it important?
  • What are two ways you contributed in class today?
  • What is one thing you would like me to explain more clearly?
  • What is one thing you would like us to review again in the next lesson?
  • How could you apply what you learned today into real life?
b. Questions to assess the learning environment

These questions address the broader approach to learning and might typically be used once per term to shift teaching approach per course or learning module.

  • What’s one change we could make to the way we learn in this class?
  • What’s one thing you’d like me to START doing in class?
  • What’s one thing you’d like me to STOP doing in class?
  • What’s one thing you’d like me to CONTINUE doing in class?
  • Did you value the group activity today? Do you think the activity or task would have been better done alone?
c. Questions to encourage growth mindset
  • What's one mistake you made in class today? What could you do to improve
  • Explain what you do when you do not understand a skill or concept you
  • What’s one change you made recently to become a better learner?
  • What goal are you currently working on with your learning?
  • How did you make progress towards your goal today?
  • Explain what it means to be a good learner in this class
  • How much effort did you put into learning today?
  • What would help you to put more effort into learning tomorrow?
  • In what ways were you challenged today and why?

Read more.

d. Questions to prompt student reflection
  • What are 2 goals you have for your next project?
  • What help do you need to achieve your learning goals?
  • What are two ways you contributed in class today?
  • How does something you learned in today’s lesson connect with something
  • What did you learn about working with others today?
  • How can you apply what you learned today to your own life?
  • How can you apply something you learned today to another class or subject?

Read more.

e. Questions for Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • What is your mood for learning right now?
  • How well have you been sleeping of late?
  • How supported do you feel in our class? Why / Why not?
  • What did you learn about working with others today?
  • How do you feel about your workload right now?
  • What helps you to get in a good mood when you're feeling down?
  • What's one thing outside of school that you love doing?

Read more.

f. Questions to get to know your students
  • What’s your greatest strength?
  • What’s your favorite activity to do outside of class?
  • Explain what you do when you do not understand a skill or concept you are
  • Do you have a good working environment at home?
  • What help do you need to achieve your learning goals?

Read more.

g. Questions to ask at the end of the year
  • What is one thing you achieved this year that you will remember for the rest of your life?
  • What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of?
  • What was your favorite activity or event this year?
  • What is one thing you learned about yourself this year?
  • What is one way you surprised yourself this year?
  • What was the biggest challenge you overcame this year?
  • How did you grow as a student this year? Think about your skills, study habits, and mindset.

Read more.

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Answer a Ziplet exit ticket and let us know what you think of this guide.

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