Friday, November 6, 2009

Exit Slips

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.

The positives:
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!


  1. I do this a lot. I tell them its a way to tell me how good I did at teaching that day. Was I clear? Did I make sense?

    I always frame it as making my instruction better for them.

    95% of the time I get honest feedback that tells me what they understand and what they don't understand.

  2. I use exit slips/exit problems as a way to check for understanding with the proviso that students can stop work/leave at the bell if they get it right. Feedback is immediate and the ones who did not pay attention/did not understand but didn't ask questions/didn't care were now faced with a dimemma.