Collecting patterns in student understanding works best if a teacher begins formative assessment early in the marking period and houses the data in a single, growing database. ExitTicket’s approach centers around mini quizzes so it’s easy on your daily agenda while steadily collecting and color-coding valuable data. But the flurry of activity before a new academic term makes it hard for teachers to learn and implement new tools on the fly. I’ve been chatting with our new team of Ambassadors and we have some suggestions.
1. Move Slowly with Learning Targets
Every school I’ve worked in has required teachers to submit daily learning goals for the upcoming week. That’s the time to add the targets to your subject area in ExitTicket. You don’t need to rush to unpack your whole pacing guide for the sake of your assessment tool. Simply append your new week’s targets to each subject’s list. Need some help with the steps involved? Try our video library or book a training session with me.
ExitTicket’s capabilities go a lot deeper than most teachers realize. Linking every question to the standard it is assessing opens the door to all sorts of patterns. And ExitTicket lays them out in neat, color-coded displays. We’ve seen a lot of teachers this summer excited so much by a friendly approach to comprehension data, that teachers rush to prepare. Build your list over the course of the marking period then export it for your records and to share with your department.
2. Get Certified in the How-To
Take a mini-certification course in basics of ExitTicket. Teachers have been flying through the material this summer and earning OpenBadges compliant certification. The course is short but valuable as you’ll have greater comfort and confidence when using ExitTicket in your class.
The courses are still new. You’ll have the option to send a message to the instructor (that’s me) at many points. I’m eager for feedback, especially on what areas have too much focus or not enough.
3. Introduce ExitTicket with Speedy Routines
For ExitTicket to serve students at its utmost, teachers need to be able to have their students get online, take their assessment, and get offline faster than a paper assessment would have taken. And students need to perform these tasks without any undue stress on the teacher’s part. In many instances, this means practice runs.
I prefer to do drills like these in the very earliest days of class, when kids’ nerves seem to have them quietly obedient. I’ll have two silly, ungraded assessments waiting for my students in ExitTicket. We’d do the whole process twice (and we might have to repeat the exercise the following day). I would time two aspects of the process: 1) how long it took students to sign on and 2) how long it took them to be ready for the next activity. I would slow things down and drop my stopwatch during the actual assessment. I don’t want hurried answers. Students would put down their device and and fold their hands to alert me when they were done.
See how some of the teachers from Leadership Public Schools manage their edtech:
4. Find a Content-Area Partner
The Item Bank is a free exchange of assessments teachers from around the world have marked as visible to their school, to their district, or across the Internet. It’s easiest to navigate when you can filter the list by a particular person. With a single click, you can clone one of your partner’s assessments into your library. Don’t have another teacher working on the same content as you? Leave a comment or drop us a message if you’re in the market for an ExitTicket collaborator and we might be able to find another rockstar teacher.
5. Practice Discussions with Opinion Polls
We bought my mother a Nintendo Wii because she loved bowling in Wii Sports. While setting it up, I stumbled on a channel called “Everybody Votes.” Now closed, it was a place Wii users would make a this-or-that decision and then predict which one would be most popular overall. I found an old blog that has some of their votes archived. I’ve been using the same premise in my class ever since. It’s powerful, fun, and a great way to ease into ExitTicket.
- Create a Poll or a Practice assessment and select the option that prevents students from seeing if they got an answer wrong or not (it’s an opinion, after all)
- The question should be benign enough to avoid conflict, but relevant enough to merit a reaction. I like Nintendo’s poll question: When I come home, I first take off my shoes (True/False)
- As if you just thought of this idea, ask your students to write down on a slip of paper which answer they predict will be the most popular. It can be different than the answer they chose, simply guess the answer that will have the largest percentage when the results are up on the projector
- Once your students get the hang of this prediction exercise, you can simply add another question to your Practice assessment that asks them to then predict which answer from the previous question will be the most popular
- Before you show the answers, ask for volunteers to share, not which answer they selected, but which they think will be most popular and why. The objective: Have students express the steps they took when analyzing a situation. It’s a routine that will serve you so well through many content-related discussions. And as you experiment, try different questions to draw out a conversation
6. Throw Your Cap
My father was very fond the analogy of the Irish lads whose journey was blocked by a brick wall seemingly too high to scale. Throwing their caps over the wall the lads had no choice but to follow.
President Bartlet,West Wing, Ep.20, Written by Aaron Sorkin
Try using the PowerPoint Presentation in this zip file to present to your faculty or administration. Be bold and let your team know that you’re going to be doing something really cool with your checks for understanding this term. You’re going to see just what ExitTicket can do for your students. It not only helps give you the momentum to follow-through with the implementation in your own class, but it gets the ball rolling in spreading ExitTicket at your school, (and that means even richer feedback for your students).