Are exit tickets formative or summative assessment

Tal, Teacher

A common question teachers ask is "are exit tickets formative or summative assessment.

And the answer is, it depends.

The two key characteristics of formative assessment are:

  • Formative assessments are used to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback that can improve the teaching and learning of instructors.
  • Formative assessments are usually low stakes, and they often have no point or low value.

In these regards, exit tickets tend to be used as a tool for formative assessment.

However, exit tickets can also be used for summative assessment.

When used for summative purposes, exit tickets ask a few targeted questions to assess content mastery.  This can work especially well in subjects where there are definitive answers, such as in Math classes.

So what are the benefits of using exit tickets for formative assessment?

The benefits of using exit tickets as formative assessment

Exit tickets are the easiest and quickest formative assessment tool for informing teaching and learning.

Here are the benefits for using them in the classroom.

Reflecting on teaching practices

Teachers receive valuable feedback from students when utilising exit tickets as a formative assessment.  

According to Mazarno (2012), a teacher can ask for feedback on one instructional strategy per week.  They can adjust their teaching based on the opinion of the majority of students.  

He suggests asking a targeted question such as ‘what is something I should be doing to improve your understanding?’  Teachers can then adjust their approach accordingly.

Posing questions about teaching efficacy models that teachers themselves are learners that can improve through feedback.      

Students are more likely to be honest if the feedback is anonymous.  In Ziplet, use this feature to enhance students’ honesty.

Additional questions that encourage reflection on teacher practice include:

  • What is one thing I could explain more clearly?
  • When describing a task, how clear are my instructions?
  • How clearly do I explain the learning goals for each class?

Differentiating the curriculum

Students have different learning styles and paces. 

Exit tickets as a formative assessment tool provide teachers with invaluable information about individual students’ comprehension and feelings about learning.

Responses may indicate that a large group of students struggled to grasp a particular concept.  It may highlight that certain students need additional support.  

Using Ziplet’s small group and individual message options, you can assign follow up questions, or ask particular students to stay behind for additional support.

Questions to support curriculum differentiation include:

  • How would you explain this concept to a student that was away?
  • How would you rate your level of understanding?
  • What was the main point from today’s lesson?

Encouraging student self reflection

Self reflection is an important tool for promoting learning.

When students engage in self evaluation, they are supported in clarifying their learning.  

They are able to recognise how they’ve learned, and ways to improve in the future.

Students are better equipped to form connections to content, and to find a purpose for future learning.

Questions in Ziplet for prompting student reflection include:  

  • What's one thing you did well in class today?
  • What are 2 goals you have for your next project?
  • Did you achieve your learning goal?
  • How can you apply what you learned today to your own life?


Formative assessment tools such as exit tickets are quick and easy for supporting teaching and learning.  

They help teachers reflect on their practices, encourage student reflection, and help tailor the curriculum to individual student needs.

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