Using exit tickets in my NGSS aligned classroom is one of my favorite types of formative assessments. I used to write low-level knowledge-based questions, but since making the shift to NGSS I have had to change my strategy. I have started to create exit tickets that are specifically designed for NGSS. Here are my tips and tricks.
Why are exit tickets an effective teaching tool?
Exit tickets keep students accountable.
When students know that there will be an exit ticket at the end of the period, they work harder. They know that they will have to apply what they have learned in class to a scenario that is presented to them on the exit ticket. The quality of work that I get from students on days that I do an exit ticket is far better than when I don’t.
So then, why don’t I just give students an exit ticket every day? It is difficult to come up with scenarios that are truly aligned with the intent of the NGSS. I want to make sure that I am creating a situation where students are completing exit tickets simply for the sake of doing them. Instead, I focus on key components of the NGSS.
Exit tickets allow me to provide substantive, timely feedback quickly.
I can usually grade an entire class worth of exit tickets in the time that it takes for the next class period to do their warm-up. Students run the warm-ups in my classroom, so I have the first 5-7 minutes of class to get through 30-35 tickets. (To learn more about how I make warm-ups so simple that students can run them daily, check out this blog post.)
This is still plenty of time to let students know that they are on track or that they missed a concept or idea. When a student is struggling with a concept, I often include a question in my response to help them get back on track. They can attempt to answer the question and return the exit ticket to me to get follow-up feedback.
Exit tickets allow me to track growth and identify misconceptions.
I track student scores on the exit tickets so that I can see who still needs help with a given concept, skill or practice. This can be done using a spreadsheet or a category in your grade book (this should be a VERY low impact component because it is formative and students are still developing skills- I have a category worth 5% of the overall grade right now). Students often improve because of the feedback from exit tickets. However, by keeping track, I can identify the students who are still struggling and do 1:1 or small group instruction.
Also, by grading the exit tickets right away, I can identify places where the lesson or activity missed the mark. Because I am grading them immediately, I can often make minor adjustments for the next class period.
How do you create exit tickets that are NGSS aligned?
Choose a focus.
I like to write exit tickets that assess a single Science and Engineering Practice or Crosscutting Concept. With such a narrow focus, I can pinpoint what my students are struggling with. Try to keep the scope of the exit ticket narrow so that you can assess a specific learning target.
Keep it short.
Give students something that they can complete quickly. You should also be able to grade it quickly. The major benefit is that everyone gets timely feedback. I like to make 2-3 short questions or a task that students can complete in under 5 minutes.
Make it small.
I hate wasting paper, so I usually make my exit tickets on a 1/4 sheet of paper. I often just fold up a piece of printer paper into quarters and write the exit ticket directly onto the paper in the four boxes that are created by the fold. Then for a class of 32, I am only using 8 sheets of paper. (I will also be talking about using Google Forms for formative assessment soon!)
Check out this super easy exit ticket that I spent about 5 minutes making. Notice that each box has a slightly different question.
What are some examples of exit tickets for NGSS?
- Provide students with a graph that is related to the content that you are covering. Have them identify the independent variable, dependent variable and suggest a variable that should be controlled.
- Ask your students “what would happen if”? When I create this type of question in class, I try to present students with a scenario in which a variable is changed. For example “What would happen to the particles inside of a balloon if the air outside of the balloon became colder?” This will help you determine if students understand the cause and effect relationship between temperature, particle motion, and pressure.
- Give students a partially completed model and have them complete it by adding arrows. This can work in many different scenarios, including the rotation of the moon around the Earth, particle motion, heat transfer…. you name it.
- I have created general exit tickets for each of the Crosscutting Concepts that include the subcomponents of each topic. Those can be found here in my TPT store.