In my Pre-Algebra class the other day, we learned about polygons. As we learned about the sum of the degrees of the angles and how to solve for missing angle measures I gave the students their normal assignment. They had about 20 minutes of our block to work collaboratively on their learning. As my co-teacher and I walked around the room observing the conversations we noticed a few students who seemed to be struggling. Instead of waiting until tomorrow to correct the assignments and possibly reteach, I gave the students an exit slip.
In a word processing document I already created a quarter sheet to use as an exit slip.(Example) I then give the students a problem or 2 to do. This slip is a way for me to gauge the understanding of students on a specific topic or question. I can check this before the next day and plan for the next day... Do I need to re-teach or can we correct the assignment and move to the next learning target? In this particular instance, all that was needed the next day was a little clarification on one particular part of the assignment. We were able to do this right at the beginning of our next time together. I also allowed them to make corrections on their assignment before we "corrected" the assignment.
Now, we didn't "grade" the exit slip. I did however explain to my students the purpose of the slip. I told them it was a way for me to see how well they understood the content and allow them a chance to improve before the graded assignment was due. It didn't take more than 3 or 4 minutes and they did it willfully.
I do think there are positive and negative aspects of an exit slip. I'll start with the negatives:
1. The feedback to students is delayed (probably not until the next day).
2. The change in instruction has to happen the next day.
1. The teacher can see how well the students understand a concept before the assignment comes in the basket.
2. Exit slips are a quick way to gather content understanding from students.
3. The teacher can gather feedback from students in an snapshot (Exit Slip) rather than a feature length film (assignment).
Overall, I think exit slips are a great way to find out what students know. Stay tuned as I explore more ways to formally assess students!