When it comes to crafting individualized instruction for your students, ExitTicket tops the class. Tested against other apps in its category, this app emerged as the fullest-featured piece of exit ticket software I’ve seen. Although indispensable for offering individualized instruction, it also offers the additional advantages of being aligned with national Common Core and Science Standards initiatives. After using it over the course of a week for lesson-planning and student assessment, I found that Exitticket’s features and continuity with educational standards create a seamless experience.
Image via exitticket.org
With so many advantages and features, it was difficult to figure out where to start in writing this review. First, ExitTicket offers both students and teachers real-time feedback on how well they understand the key concepts of their lesson content by utilizing the tried-and-true method of getting students to answer key concept-checking questions before they leave the classroom. It also allows students to see their own progress and take ownership of their learning process. Another big advantage for teachers is that it reduces the time spent on grading, as the app allows teachers to pre-set answers and tabulate student responses.
The only disadvantage of the app I could find was that not all the assessment types were available on the free version. You have to buy the quiz and poll assessments separately. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, though. Most of the work you will do on this app will be on the launch and exit tabs.
Engagement (4/5): My students loved the interactive aspects of the app. They found it easy to track their own progress, making them more inclined to set goals and take responsibility for achieving them. I would, however, prefer if I were able to give immediate feedback to students on their responses via the app — this prevented me from giving me the app a perfect score in the engagement department.
Teaching (4/5): Individualized results mean ExitTicket is a tangible way for teachers to make sure all students are keeping up, gauging whom to give more personal attention to, and evaluating whether a concept needs further explanation (or even complete re-teaching). I deducted some points for the in-app purchase for the extra assessment types. When purchased, the quiz assessment also was a bit underwhelming.
Support (5/5): ExitTicket’s website has instructional videos on how to do everything, from loading a new class to projecting a heat map to a whiteboard. There is also a support ticket system on the app’s website. It gets a perfect score for support simply because I was unable to find any context in which the app’s functionality went unexplained.
Knowing I had to choose a winner, I decided on what I wanted to teach and then tested different apps to see what each one offered in terms of ease and speed of use, student engagement, and content absorption. Like most teachers, I want a tool that provides a simple solution in a short period of time.
I’m an ESL teacher with a bit of a grammar obsession, so I wanted to see which app could help me to teach the past continuous tense effectively, with as little pain as possible. As most learners are visual, I wanted to test Nearpod as well and see how the visual slides compared to ExitTicket for effectiveness. So I created slides and concept-checking questions and proceeded to compare them.
ExitTicket is the result of a collaboration between the non-profit Leadership Public Schools organization, a group of four inner-city charter schools in California, teachers, students, and technology entrepreneur Dr. Scot Refsland. Their challenge at the time was to bring the skill level of students up to a college-ready standard by graduation — quite a challenge, considering many students in these inner-city schools were performing at an elementary level. Undaunted by the task, the group put their heads together, and the result was ExitTicket.
How Can Teachers Use It ?
This app is quite possibly the most painless piece of education technology I’ve ever used. Simply go to the Exitticket website, follow the easy video instructions for setting up your class, and you are ready to create your assessments. Typical assessments are yes or no, open-ended, or multiple choice questions.
The app’s website suggests three main strategies:
Strategy 1: Teachers can begin each class with a review of the previous lesson’s content to check whether the students have absorbed the content of that lesson. This could mean a short mini-quiz on the homework, instead of collecting and grading it.
Strategy 2: Teachers can ask students to use their app halfway through the lesson to check understanding and ask clarifying questions.
Strategy 3: Teachers can use ExitTicket to ask the class to check their understanding at the end of the session.
ExitTicket has a longitudinal data-gathering feature to track grades over time, which cuts down on grading time. It also works as a homework tool. By using the “launch” ticket at the beginning of the class, teachers can see automatically who has done their homework. These two features allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time on classroom administration tasks.
Image via Flikr by Superkimbo
If you still aren’t convinced of its usefulness, Leadership Public Schools measured its results after a year of using ExitTicket and found that students jumped 2.6 grades in math, and 97 percent of students continued to college, despite most of them having little to no family history of college education. Teachers attributed this progress to the real-time feedback they were able to give students, and to students’ increased level of engagement.
I’m a visual presentation fan, so I couldn’t wait to try Nearpod. I love the way it gives teachers control over the presentation, giving them complete synchronicity with their students. As Jennifer Sitkin notes in her Graphite Nearpod review, the app is most useful when assessing the performance of your presentations: “With Nearpod, teachers can interact with students as they move through the presentations and can view student responses in real time. Students enjoy the opportunity to take ownership of their learning rather than passively viewing a teacher-directed whole-class presentation.”
I had to deduct marks for ease of use and the amount of time spent preparing the presentation. My primary issue with Nearpod is that it only allows you to upload .pdf files (aside from the videos, images, and audio clips). The limitation to .pdf is more frustrating than it sounds, especially for someone who likes their classroom technology as pain-free as possible.
After reading through a couple dozen reviews of ExitTicket on sites such as Edsurge, it’s clear that teachers almost unanimously love the way the app allows them to collect data on students in real time, and how it encourages students to become more involved with their learning.
Considering it’s a free app (albeit with some premium features), there isn’t much to lose for teachers who want to try it out. If you’re searching for a versatile formative assessment tool, then Exitticket might just be what you need for evaluating your students’ level of understanding and planning future lessons based on those results. I certainly will continue using it in my classroom.
Linda Paull is qualified as an English as a second language teacher. Over the years, she has worked in both colleges and high schools, and her experience includes teaching primary school-age children, as well as adults.