Have you ever taught a lesson and thought, man, I nailed that…but the post-test showed that no, you actually didn’t? I know I have! Some students are masters at making us think they are following our instruction, but they’re actually thinking about pizza, recess, or that pencil that keeps tapping.
Exit Tickets or quick checks have helped me be able to find even the smallest hole in my students’ learning. They are an essential part of my assessment process. I prefer to call them quick checks because I don’t always use them at the end of a lesson. Sometimes I use them before the lesson begins so I can see what misconceptions my students have prior to the lesson. In that case, it serves as a super quick pre-test.
Keep It Simple
This assessment requires minimal preparation. All you need is a class set of index cards and a question. Yes, that’s really all you need. Well, besides students and a pencil. Simple, huh? You don’t have to spend any time at the copier either. Hallelujah, right?! Write a question on the board and have your students answer it. This doesn’t need to be 10 questions. The purpose of the check is to guide your instruction, not to give a grade. So, it’s totally fine if there are only 3 or 4 questions.
Time Saving Tip
Have your students fold their card or just simply turn it over to signal that they are finished. Grade them as they finish. This is a win-win. Your students will LOVE the immediate feedback, and you don’t have to take it home! Let’s be real, if it comes home, it will likely stay in your school bag for at least a day or two.
As you walk around and grade, you will usually begin to see a few trends in your students’ misconceptions. I usually take this opportunity to begin sorting them into three different groups. Most of the time, there are three to four clear-cut groups. I use the common misconceptions that I see in their work to guide my instruction within their small groups. For example, I recently worked with my students on comparing fractions. After the lesson, I wanted to see if they were capable of ordering three fractions from least to greatest. From the quick check I gave, I was able to see that one group didn’t have a model drawing, therefore their answer was incorrect. Another group had a model drawing, but the drawing was incorrect. The last group was able to correctly order the fractions. From there, I am able to have meaningful instruction based off of their misconceptions.
My favorite No
Quick checks also allow me to pick my favorite no. I learned this strategy at a math training that I attended a couple years ago. You choose a student’s card that has a common mistake on it. I don’t share out which student’s card I have, but I make a big deal that this is my favorite thing to help my students with. I have found that this shows students that everyone makes mistakes and that it is part of learning! It also helps to create a classroom that isn’t afraid to say when they fail or make a mistake.
What are your favorite ways to assess your students’ learning? I would love to hear your ideas!