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Using online exit slips

New York Teacher
Screenshot of Padlet app

With Padlet, a teacher provides students with a link that enables them to post answers to the teacher's question on the wall.

Exit slips are an effective way to get feedback from students, do checks for understanding and even accept suggestions or constructive criticism. They can be designed as formative assessments or they can provide you with information to differentiate instruction or determine what items need review.

But as anyone who uses old-fashioned exit slips can attest, cutting up little slips of paper is time-consuming and the slips can too easily be dropped or lost.

Using online applications to create exit slips solves those problems and also helps you gather data, visualize results and keep responses organized. Students will need access to some type of device to use online exit slips — such as laptops, iPads or even phones (if your school permits).

One of my favorite ways to assign an exit slip assessment is with Padlet. Padlet is basically an online Post-it board; instead of having students write on a sticky pad, they post their ideas online. You create an online wall, type in any question and ask students to answer by inviting them to post comments on your wall — just provide them with the link. You can organize the responses in different styles, such as a stream or a mind map. You may require that students type their names on their notes or you may allow them to post anonymously, depending on the type of feedback you want to receive. As students post, their notes pop up on your wall and you can quickly read responses. As with all of these formats, it’s best to keep answers short.

Poll Everywhere offers free K–12 accounts for educators that allow you to poll students via a number of different formats: a word cloud, a multiple-choice question, a rating scale, clicking on images, or either a true-false or an open-ended question. Poll Everywhere is best used for group consensus, not individual responses. You might ask a question about the topic you taught to see what percentage of students answer correctly, create a multiple-choice quiz to find out about prior knowledge of a subject, or ask students to provide a descriptive word about a poem they read to see which ones repeat most frequently.

Google Forms has the greatest flexibility to create exit slips in just about any style, allowing you to design to your own specifications. Student responses automatically populate a spreadsheet that only you can view. Google compiles the data instantly, allowing you to quickly visualize responses, reshuffle them and view them coherently. Google Forms is a little harder to learn, but check out Google’s page called “Using a Form for an Exit Ticket.” You’ll find some advice and a link to a how-to video. You can post a Google Form on a website, display a link or email it directly to students.

Online forms of exit slips are fun and engaging, and I get higher-quality and more honest responses than those on paper. I find the exit slip invaluable in planning future lessons, progressing through units and incorporating student ideas. Exit slips are not only beneficial for the teacher; students enjoy having opportunities to reflect on their learning, ask questions, give input and ultimately shape what happens in the classroom.