As a guided math fanatic, I’m always looking for simple, effective ways to track my students’ progress and make informed decisions for my instruction. One of my favorite ways to assess my students’ knowledge on specific skills is by using math exit tickets. If you’ve ever wondered how to use exit tickets in the classroom, read on to learn what they are, why they’re beneficial, and how to use them with your students!
What Are Math Exit Tickets?
Math exit tickets are short, simple math question slips that allow teachers to check for student understanding, formatively assess their students, and identify teaching points for small groups. Exit tickets give teachers a clear picture on how students are doing with a certain skill or concept.
Exit tickets can also help teachers determine if a student needs more support and reteaching to grasp the concept, if they’re on their way to understanding it, or if they’ve already mastered the concept. If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and effective way to collect student data and evaluate your students’ mathematical comprehension, exit tickets are the way to go!
What Are the Benefits of Exit Tickets in the Classroom?
Simple to Prep and Complete
Exit tickets are super simple to prep and complete. They can be a short exit slip with 1-4 questions for students to answer, or you can simply ask a question and have students write their answer on a sticky note for you to collect and reflect on.
Less Stressful for Students
Some students find math tests and high stakes assessments to be extremely stressful. The great thing about math exit tickets is they are less intimidating and stressful for students. They are much more apt to complete a 1-4 question exit slip with confidence than an entire test.
Great for Guided Math Reflections
If you follow the guided math framework, you know the fifth component is reflections. I love using math exit tickets as my guided math reflections before we end math class for the day. In my math exit ticket resources for 1st-3rd grade, I’ve also included a section for students to express how they feel about the concept and self-assess their own understanding. This is so valuable for teachers to gain this knowledge from their students.
Aids in Forming Small Groups
Exit tickets are also a powerful way to help you form small groups. You can easily see which students need more support and reteaching, which are on track to mastery, and which students are ready for a challenge.
Helpful for Planning Instruction
Another key benefit of math exit tickets is how helpful they are for planning math instruction and future lessons. You can identify teaching points and areas that your students need to work on more and ensure your whole group lessons and small group lessons target those areas. Plus, if your exit ticket data shows your students are all doing great on a concept, it might mean you can spend less time on certain parts of your curriculum and move on to more challenging activities.
The Importance of Consistently Checking for Student Understanding
Consistently checking for student understanding is super important as a teacher. First off, students might struggle with one skill or concept and excel in another. Therefore, we must always check for understanding in order to provide the most tailored instruction and support possible! Just because they struggle with one thing doesn’t mean they’ll struggle with everything.
It’s also important to check consistently throughout the course of a unit to determine which lessons, activities, or teaching practices lead to those “aha moments.” If after a really hands-on, valuable small group lesson, you notice that your students that have been struggling are now showing progress on their exit ticket and sharing that they feel more confident in the skill, that’s a sign that your lesson worked and you should do more lessons and activities like that!
How to Use Exit Tickets
When it comes to using exit tickets in the classroom, the process is very simple.
Choose Your Exit Tickets
First, you’ll need to choose or create your exit tickets. Always make sure your exit tickets directly relate to the concept or skill being taught. If you’re teaching place value, exit tickets about geometry won’t give you the data you need or make sense to students! These are not made for spiral review, but instead, as a snapshot of how students are doing on a specific skill.
I’ve created year long growing bundles of exit tickets for 1st-3rd grade that you can use with your students for various concepts being taught. If you have my guided math curriculum, these exit tickets correlate with the scope and sequence these follow. However, you can absolutely use them as a standalone resource with your school’s math curriculum.
You can also make your own exit tickets by writing 1-4 questions on a slip of paper and making enough copies for your class. You can also give your students sticky notes to write their answers on at the end of class.
Next, give your students the exit tickets and allow 5-10 minutes for them to answer the questions. This is perfect for your guided math reflection time at the end of your math lesson. This should not be treated like a math test, but instead, a quick reflection on the skill taught that day.
Analyze and Reflect
Once your students have turned in their exit tickets, take some time to analyze and reflect on their answers and their feelings about the skill. Then, make notes about how your class is doing overall, which students need more help, which have reached mastery, what changes you need to make in your small groups or instruction, and what teaching points you want to make sure to hit in your next lessons.
When to Use Math Exit Tickets
Math exit tickets should be used at the end of your math lesson in the last 5-10 minutes. Don’t wait until the end of your math unit to have your students complete exit tickets. I recommend using them at least 3 times a week to check for student understanding and collect formative data during your math unit.
Math Exit Tickets for 1st-3rd Grade
If you’re ready to start implementing math exit tickets in your classroom, you can check out my collection of exit tickets for 1st-3rd grade!
Each exit ticket includes:
- 1-4 problems depending on the skill (all aligned with CCS and TEKS standards).
- 3 exit tickets per sheet (YAY for easy printing!).
- 2 versions for each skill.
- A space for students to self-assess their understanding.
You can grab them in my TPT store or in my website store below!
Let me know in the comments below if you use exit tickets in your classroom!