EXIT SLIPS by Betty Crenshaw and Catha Hannah
1. Explanation
  • Exit slips are written student responses to questions you pose at the end of class. - http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/bestpractice/exit/index.html
  • Exit slips are a quick assessment tool for teachers to use as part of their daily classroom routine. They can be used at any grade level and for virtually every subject area. The type of question posed by the teacher depends on what kind of response they are looking for from their students. The question could ask for a skill to be demonstrated, a concept explained, an objective understood, or even a perception check of students' feelings. - http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/bestpractice/exit/examples.html
  • In conclusion, an exit slip can be completed in any form or fashion at the end of a lesson. It is designed to give the teacher immediate feedback from each student as they reflect on the content of the lesson. The question(s) posed by the teacher can be about any specific part of the lesson where feedback is wanted. It might be a lower level question to a higher level open-ended question. It might ask for students to write down questions they have about the material or what they want to learn more about from the lesson. It is really an open-ended type of task, but again, its purpose is to get feedback from each student.

2. Rationale
  • invite students to reflect on the material presented during class and share their observations with the teacher.
  • "You gain a sense of student confusions about key ideas"
  • "They keep the lines of communication open between me and my students, but they also provide for the often-lacking reflection."
  • http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev091.shtml

How often do we as teachers 'teach' up to the very last minute of class time and then send the kids on to their next content area, never asking them to think about what they had just been learning or asking who still didn't get it when time was up? Probably, there are a lot of us that say we have done this before. "I have so much to cover and I am going to use every minute possible. I don't have time to stop 5-10 minutes early and pass out exit slips and wait for everyone to write something!" We know we have said this before! But....do we really 'not have the time' to ask for this infomation. The more we talked about the idea, the more we both agreed this is something that we should do consistantly. How better to know what we need to do to be
'effective' the next day if we really don't know where each child is at the end of the day?

3. Example
  • Describe one problem you faced during your Web Quest today. If you solved it, explain how.
  • Write one thing you learned today.
  • Write one question you have about today's lesson.
  • Write three words with the long "o" sound.
  • Why are the North and South Pole so cold?
  • Explain why Canada is not considered a melting pot.
  • Give 3 descriptors of the proper forearm pass in volleyball.
  • Draw a quick diagram that shows perspective.
  • Of the 3 graphs we studied today which one did you find most useful? Why?
  • Name one positive and one negative thing that happened during group work today.
  • Multiply 3.45 by 2.4
  • In your own words explain why the formula for a right angle triangle is 1/2 b x h.

As we stated in our explantion, the form of question posed by the teacher is open-ended. The list above shows somewhat the variety of questions one might ask: show how to multiply a problem, ask how they felt ....., what didn't you understand, what do still want to know more about, etc. Just think...what was one goal you had for your lesson and ask a question related to that!!

4. Student Impact
  • The students feel that their thinking is prized and appreciated, and they have a mechanism to express confusions and concerns about the course material.
  • "Pamela Ours wants her students to feel that admit and exit slips are a forum they can use to truly, and in a non-threatening way, communicate with her about their learning -- both their strengths and their struggles."
  • http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev091.shtml

We think that the greatest benefit in the classroom will be the voice given to the children. There are always those students whose hands are up every time you ask a question, and then there are always those kids who seldom, if ever, raise their hand. Why don't they raise their hand? 1. They are scared they will be wrong, laughed at, etc . 2. They aren't really paying attention. 3. Somebody else will say it so why do I need to? 4. Shy? 5. Speech patterns. And many more reasons. The idea behind the exit slip is that this is a 'safe' way to share your ideas, ask the questions you didn't feel comfortable asking in class, and a way to communicate with a real audience. If a teacher will use these ideas as a lesson is introduced the next day, as the review from the day before is done, etc., we think the kids will feel 'special' when one of thier questions is answered or one of their ideas is shared. Anytime they can make a personal connection to an idea in class, they are more attentive and more eager to learn. We think this could only help a student learn and feel more confident in their own learning.

5. What other teachers might find difficult about implementing this strategy
  • time constraints: passing out and collecting slips; including lesson time for this to occur
As stated above, the thought that we as teachers don't have enough time as it is to teach everything is a potential barrier for using exit slips. One, we have to realize the significance this process could have in our classroom and realize that these 5 or so minutes are as imporant as the others during the lesson. One way to help cut down on time is in being organized. What are the kids going to use to write out their responses? Is it index cards? Copy paper cut in 1/2? A teacher will need to have this figured out and have supplies ready before class begins. If using 1/2 sheet of copy paper per kid, cut up a whole ream at the start of the year and as the pile gets smaller, cut another whole ream. The pile will last a long time and it really doesn't take but a few minutes to cut up a ream of paper.
  • How do you get the kids to take this seriously?
In the beginning, the kids might not see the relevance of the exit slips, but if the teacher will include this information as part of the introduction in class the next day, the kids will begin to realize that their ideas and questions are being shared and see that their voice does matter. We think it might take a couple of weeks to get them all convinced, but give it time, it will come!
  • Some students take sooooo lonnnnnggggggg to write?
Allow paraphrases, illustrations, diagrams, etc. Does it have to be a written sentence. If possible, have them record their ideas - especially if written language is a barrier for them.

6. What we might like or dislike about implementing this strategy
  • instant feedback on the lesson
  • makes every kid responsible for the lesson
  • gives a voice to all in a safe setting
  • Dislike: taking out valuable minutes of instructional time

Based on what we have read (since we haven't done this very much in our own classrooms), everything seems to indicate that this is a very positive process for both students and teachers. We definitely think it can fit in our classrooms. Yes, we need to make this a part of each lesson and yes, we have to be organized so passing out materials can go smoothly and quickly.
Since one of us will have a one-to-one classroom next year, the kids could send an email as their exit slip or maybe post their ideas on a blog or in a discussion forum. There are a lot of possibilities; it is just a matter of finding a system that best fits you as the teacher.

7. Examples from other teachers in the class