Are exit tickets effective?

Tal, Teacher

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.  

Promote student reflection by asking questions such as:

  • How can you apply what you learned today to your own life?
  • How does something you learned in today’s lesson connect with something you already knew?
  • What did you learn about working with others today?
  • Explain how you could have been more successful in achieving your goal

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.

Formative assessments such as exit tickets help to:

  • Identify student misunderstandings
  • Offer concrete examples for improvement
  • Use feedback to help students correct errors
  • Finetune instructional practices
  • Ensure meaningful feedback due to immediate nature

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.    

Questions to tailor teaching to student needs include:

  • What is the most difficult thing we went through today?
  • Imagine your friend was away from class today and asked you to explain the lesson. What would you tell them? 
  • What are you struggling to understand at the moment?
  • What's one change I can make to better support your learning?
  • How do you find the pace of our classes?
  • When describing a task, how clear are my instructions?


The essence of teaching is about improving learning outcomes for students. 

Using exit tickets, students and teachers are empowered to make a meaningful difference in students’ learning.  They enhance engagement and encourage reflection amongst learners.  They give teachers the confidence to tailor teaching to suit individual needs.

Try using exit tickets with your students to reap these benefits. 

The suggested questions in your Ziplet account are a great place to start. If you haven’t already, you can sign up for a free account.


'Art and Science of Teaching / The Many Uses of Exit Slips', Mazarno (2012) -

'The Effect of Exit Slips on Student Motivation within the Classroom', Izor (2019)-

'Exit tickets’ effect on engagement in college classrooms', Paz-Albo & Hervaz (2016)

'Formative Assessment at Work in the Classroom', Baron (2016) -

'The Classroom Is Alive with the Sound of Thinking: The Power of the Exit Slip', Cauley & McMillan Leigh -

'Purposeful Assessment Practices for Co-Teachers', Conderman & Hedin -

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