The classroom is alive and well with the sound of thinking: the power of the exit slip

Leigh, R. S. (2012)

October 13, 2021


Leigh (2012) undertook a 14 week qualitative study to investigate the use of exit slips in a teaching context. The participants were 44 teaching students and recent graduates from two education literacy courses at a public university in the Midwest of the United States.

The students produced both exit slips as well as feedback about the process for analysis.

It was found that exit slips provided a safe place to respond, where students can develop their identity and articulate their beliefs, as well as absorb new information. From a teaching perspective, Leigh found that the exit slips can help guide teaching to suit student needs. 

Research objectives

The research aimed to investigate the following questions:

  • How can teachers help students think about content critically?
  • What structures can teachers provide to encourage students to reflect on course content? 
  • How can exit slips be used to help aspiring and practicing teachers to articulate and examine their beliefs about teaching and learning?

Research methodology

The research involved 44 teaching students and graduates, developing their understanding of what they perceive to be effective literacy practices. It was conducted across two education literacy courses at a public university in the Midwest of the United States. 

Researchers collected both the exit tickets as well as student feedback for analysis.

608 exit tickets were produced by participants and analysed.

Students were encouraged to write on their exit slips whenever a connection was made, an idea emerged, or a pressing question popped up. 


Student written reflections confirmed that exit slips provided a safe space to respond, as well as:

  • Encouraging open and authentic writing
  • Serving as vehicles for the review of materials
  • Helping in the absorption of new information
  • Facilitating divergent thinking
  • Promoting self expression
  • Fostering ownership of ideas
  • Clarifying their own beliefs and actions

From a teaching perspective, Leigh found that they indicated what she needed to clarify or review for the next class, and identified what support students still required. She recognised that exit slips acted as ‘bonding agents’ between student and teacher.  


Leigh proposed that through exit slips, teachers can bring about change regardless of the teaching context, by giving students a space to recognise and articulate their beliefs, and by inviting students to partake in the development of their own voice. She contends that teachers should modify the exit slip to meet the needs of their students.


Leigh, R. S. (2012). The Classroom Is Alive with the Sound of Thinking: The Power of the Exit Slip, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Https://Eric.Ed.Gov/?Id=EJ99626

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