“They were nodding their heads, but when I checked in on them, it was clear they did not understand me at all.” This is a phrase that every teacher will eventually say in their career. It is easy for teachers to make this statement and place the responsibility on the student to ask for help. I am sure we have all been guilty of this. However, what Monash Tech School is doing to ensure that this phrase becomes extinct is using 'exit tickets'.
Exit tickets are a formative assessment tool that encourages student voice, participation, and student-driven design. Here is how they work: Before the students leave at the end of the day, the teacher asks the students to write and hand in an 'exit ticket'. The ticket can be an answer to a question, a solution to a problem, or a response to what they had learnt that day. The prompts are specific, short and related to the pedagogical content and technology knowledge taught. For example:
What did you learn today?
What was the most confusing part of today?
Was today, a) too fast, b) too slow, or c) just right? Explain your answer.
For the student, it sparks a reflection on the day’s teaching and learning, and allows them to genuinely express their thoughts and feelings with anonymity. For the teachers, these exit tickets help assess student learning and shape the next day’s lessons - it immediately provides a deeper reading of the students’ minds going into the next class.
It was amazing to end each placement day 'reading the students’ minds' by reading their exit tickets. In the past, I always made sure to receive the students’ feedback at the end of each unit, but by then it was too late to make the changes they wanted during the lessons. By doing this everyday, as they do at Monash Tech School, the improvements can be made each day, ensuring the next class is always better than the one before.