AFL: Exit Tickets

At the end of most lessons with every class I write an exit ticket up on my white board. It is met with either groans as it is more work, cheers as it signals the end of the lesson or complete apathy from certain year 9 students. It is one of my classroom routines and I consider it one of the most important aspects of my teaching.

Students answer one to three short, easy to mark questions linked directly to that lesson’s Learning Objective. In maths this is rather simple, how does it look in English, Science or History? Perhaps grammar questions, knowledge recall or key facts/dates?  I think it should be focused and content specific rather than a more general “3 things you learned” so that it is easy to mark and answers more clearly fall into strata of understanding.  I started by having pupils answer exit tickets on scrap paper, so they can physically hand exit tickets in and I can mark them without taking in books. I have since moved to them writing their exit tickets in their books in purple so that everything is in one place and it is easier to review the ticket the following lesson. The most important thing is that they are “swift to answer and swift to mark.”[1]

Three examples of an exit ticket on Lowest Common Multiples:

exit tickets

After the lesson I then mark the exit tickets by skimming the answers and giving each book an icon A, B or C.[2]  It takes approximately 5 minutes to mark a class set of exit tickets which is low effort and high impact.  As I go I mark on a post it note the students who particularly struggled so I can go straight to help them next lesson.  If all pupils make the same mistakes I know it is something I need to reteach the whole class.

This practise gives me a fantastic insight into how well the students have actually learned the particular topic from that lesson rather than having to go on gut feeling.  As Doug Lemov puts it in Teach Like a Champion 2.0:

“You’ll know how effective your lesson was, as measured by how well they learned it, not how well you thought you taught it.”

The exit ticket checks immediate understanding.  This is not the same as checking whether they have learned an idea, as Kris Boulton[3] writes:

“What exit tickets cannot check is whether that same person can still recall that next year, or a week later, or tomorrow even.”

Curriculum design and interleaving of topics is then required to ensure that this correct memory is reinforced and both its storage and retrieval strength reach the point that the idea has been learned. However they do check if the correct memory has been formed, if an idea has been understood during that lesson.

The main goal of the exit ticket is to inform planning for the next lesson, depending on how many of the students understood the main ideas correctly you can either move on or some amount of re-teaching may be required.  I usually do whole class feedback at the start of the next lesson on particular issues which I noticed in the exit tickets.

Examples of whole class feedback on a previous days exit ticket:

exit tickets2

This allows me to pick up on specific misconceptions early and hopefully head them off.  The students will then redraft their answers or attempt stretch and challenge questions based on the icon from their exit ticket.  In contrast to a regular plenary an exit ticket is a routine; a few structured questions directly linked to learning objectives and is to be regularly reviewed far more frequently than traditional bi-weekly marking. This means that the feedback the students have on their work is timely, frequent and acted on which are the main factors in ensuring it has the biggest impact.[4]

An exit ticket forces you to focus the lesson on what idea you wish the student to have understood by the end of it; if it is hard to think what the exit ticket would be for a lesson it maybe requires more planning towards a specific goal.

Exit tickets, when designed well, are high impact and low effort; they allow timely, frequent targeting of misconceptions and are a focused, effective routine for the end of my lessons.  I believe the use of exit tickets allows me to have the biggest impact on the progress of my pupils. As Harry Fletcher-Wood states in his article on the subject:

“The fundamental idea – frequent assessment of student understanding and rapid action – is incredibly powerful”[5]

For more about Exit Tickets by people far more experienced and talented than me, here are a selection of good articles on the subject.

https://improvingteaching.co.uk/2016/04/24/exit-tickets-assess-plan/

https://tothereal.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/if-we-cannot-see-learning-in-a-lesson-what-are-exit-tickets-for/

http://teachlikeachampion.com/blog/upon-reflection-exit-tickets/

https://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/every-book-every-lesson/

https://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/marking-is-a-hornet/

 

Prepare for learning

Do Now/Entry Work
 
  • This connects the learning from the previous session or introduces a new topic.
  • It is a short activity that the students commence immediately on entering room.
  • Handing out at door/ready in places/on board e.g.
  • It should be engaging and stimulate thought about the lesson to come.

Preparing the Learner

  • High challenge / Low stress
  • Emotions and learning
  • Classroom rituals
  • Developing skills for learning such as effective group work skills
  • Being equipped with tools for learning
  • Motivation and readiness for learning
  • Big Picture- how does the lesson connect to the module

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/class-starting-teaching-strategyhttps://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/class-starting-teaching-strategy

Questions to consider

  • What makes an effective "Do Now" activity?
  • How does this strategy increase classroom efficiency?
  • What is the relationship between routines and classroom management?

 

 

CPD Briefing – Continuous Assessement

To ensure we are meeting learners' needs and that they are making progress it is important that we are conducting regular assessment. Summative assessment is a useful and powerful tool, providing a milestone in a student's progress that is evidence of their progress and what they need to do to progress further. However, if we rely on this alone both teachers and students will remain unclear about the progress being made until that point; unaware if more assistance is required or if the goals have already been met. Continuous assessment is about the assessment strategies that we use in every lesson to find out where our pupils are and to plan our responses to them.

In any discussion surrounding assessment, one will naturally defy to the doyen of assessment, Dylan William. The diagram below illustrates his recommended approach to continuous assessment by highlighting strategies to activate learners and some practical techniques in order to achieve them:

 

This diagram is a fantastic planning tool for continuous assessment, highlighting purposeful techniques. The definition of continuous assessment is also pithy worth committing to memory:

 

"Students and teachers using evidence of learning to adapt teaching and learning to meet immediate learning needs minute by minute and day by day"

For many of us we will be using some of these techniques as part of a usual practice, though it is worth trying and evaluating new strategies to enrich our assessment techniques. However, the effectiveness of continuous assessment comes not just from our assessment techniques but how we "adapt teaching and learning to meet immediate learning needs minute by minute and day by day" – the response to assessment. If we are using a strategy for continuous assessment, is our next task differentiated appropriate to meet the new needs of our students? Furthermore, are our students utilising reflective skills to adapt their own learning in response to that assessment? 

Video links (including Dylan William)

https://www.tes.com/lessons/zGAdbS58Cy7J8w/continuous-assessment-techniques

Further Reading

https://www.knewton.com/resources/blog/adaptive-learning/final-exams-benefits-continuous-assessment/

 

CPD Briefing: Progress – The Learning Journey

The progress of our students is our primary mission as educators, both in the micro of the lesson and its individual activities and in the macro of formal assessment and qualifications. It can, at times, feel elusive; ensuring all our students make good progress regardless of different starting points, abilities and motivation. It can also feel intangible – how do we show progress over time, in a lesson, in a twenty minute observation?

Good progress can be achieved and demonstrated in many different ways, dependent on both subject and student. It can, however, be achieved by many of the same processes. By planning and regarding it as a journey, we can ensure that we plan for all of our learners to make good progress and demonstrate effectiveness in doing so.

 

Planning the Journey

To undertake any successful journey we must first know two things – where we need to go in relation to where we are now. The same is true for our pupils in order to make progress. 

The following is taken from the Common Inspection Framework, under the "Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment", on evaluating their effectiveness:

"assessment information is used to plan appropriate teaching and learning strategies, including to identify children and learners who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support, enabling children and learners to make good progress and achieve well"

Therefore we must be using data when planning for our students, providing tasks and activities that will allow all our learners to make progress, to support and to push. If we are not providing differentiation then we are not allowing all of our students to make good progress.

Similarly our students must also know  purpose and goal of their journey. This is so they are able to know their own progress and reflect upon how much they have progressed. Providing Agreed Learning Outcomes that are shared and understood, modelling and exemplars of what the students need to achieve are some clear indicators that we can provide to equip our learners with a clear destination.

Pace of the Journey

If a journey becomes too slow or protracted it is in peril of not succeeding and being abandoned. To avoid this we should create lessons and activities that have momentum and purpose throughout to keep students' interest and motivation. Having a starter activity that students undertake as soon as they enter the classroom is a good way of setting a challenging pace and engaging their focus. 

Maintaining that momentum can come from the range of activities that we offer our students and also their quality; engaging areas of study, interactivity, group work etc. Constructing takes that require students to be active participants and that will stretch and challenge them will also ensure both pace and motivation are sustained.

 

Overcoming Obstacles

In any journey we will come across obstacles that will impede progress unless we are ready to confront them. For our students they will each have their own individual obstacles that we must help them with, such as language or literacy needs or misconceptions and confidence issues. Anticipating these through techniques like differentiation and targeted questioning will help prevent progress from being impeded. We will be aware of the concepts and subjects matter that we will be delivering that is complex and challenging so can anticipate difficulties that our students might face and prepare accordingly with alternate methods of explanation or delivery that will assist our students in understanding.

Signposting Progress

Journeys will require points of reflection, to take stock of how far we have come, what ground we still have to cover and to correct any deviations or wrong turns. In lessons this takes the form of continuous assessment to check the progress of our pupils, over time it will be reflected in marking and feedback of student's work and milestone assessments. Through this our students will know the progress they have made and be spurred on by it, also encouraging them to reflect on how they have made progress and how to make better progress in the future. 

Progress can, and should, be assessed in the same way as knowledge and skills and is an excellent way to signpost to students (and any observers) their progress. I have included  links to some strategies below and here is one of my favourites for is simple yet clear signposting:

 

"Progress Clocks are very simple. Students are issued  with a template of a blank clock. The clock face is divided into four, each quarter represents twenty minutes of the lesson. The first part is to find out what the students know about a topic. This could be a completely new topic or one that you taught last lesson and are going to expand upon. The clock is revisited throughout the lesson and used a mini plenary check. Students use this alongside success criteria so they can see themselves how much progress they are making and what they need to do to achieve the next level."

 

Finally, it is worth remembering that good progress can only be fostered by active and enthusiastic engagement from learners, and it is in their outcomes and attitudes that progress is evident. I have requisitioned this summary from the included Mary Myatt reading on the  learning behaviors of students that are making god progress:

 

"..it is possible to infer that progress is taking place when pupils are able to describe what they are learning and the reasons why; when they ask questions about the subject matter; when they are able to engage in discussions about what works and why; and when they are able to give and receive feedback constructively."

Further Reading

http://www.marymyatt.com/media/file/Progress_in_lessons.pdf

Resources

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-5-tips-show-progress-lessons-amy-sargent

Ten easy ways to demonstrate progress in a lesson

 

Ending the lesson

Ending lessons and Plenaries

Much learning is also undertaken at the end of lessons. In order to maximise this there are a number of tactics which can support you to make the time more organised and productive.

  • End early. Don’t try to cover too much material in one hit. Don’t mistake pace for manic activity. Leave at least eight minutes to finish off the lesson properly.
  • Use a structured plenary to end the session. This should be a group or individual reflection on what has been learned.
  • Ask the pupils to identify two or three key points they have learned from the lesson. These can be shared in small groups either written or as drawings and cartoons.
  •  A review of these points could become a regular feature of a homework routine.
  • Summarise the learning.
  • Set the scene for the following lesson.
  • Have clear routines for an organised departure. Don’t fall into the trap of not clearing away equipment and resources in good time.
  • Make sure that pupils put on their coats as a last task before leaving the room.
  • Vary the way in which the pupils are dismissed, for example, row-by-row, small groups, alphabetically, one by one after answering a question. This will help keep the lesson focus right until the end.

 

Planning plenary activities

  • Generic and specific. The big challenge is to make these as varied as possible.
  • The purposes of the plenary is to: draw together what has been learned, to highlight the most important rather than the most recent points, to summarise key facts, ideas and vocabulary, and stress what needs to be remembered; generalise from examples generated earlier in the lesson.
  • Go through an exercise, question pupils and rectify any misunderstandings.
  • Make links to other work and what the class will do next.
  • Highlight not only the progress that has been made and remind them about personal targets.
  • Set homework to extend or consolidate classwork and prepare for future lessons.

 

Improving endings 15 minutes

  • Choose a class you are confident to work with.
  • Keep in mind the tactics mentioned above, plan a lesson ending to include a plenary activity.
  • At the beginning of the lesson explain to the class what you have planned for the plenary and why. This will help them to prepare.
  • Review how the lesson ending went, then plan to incorporate more into future lessons

Key Stage 3 National Strategy l Strengthening teaching and learning using different pedagogies © Crown copyright 2004

Unit 3: Improving the learning climate DfES 0699-2004 G

Challenge all learners

Challenge all learners

Ensuring that the brightest pupils fulfil their potential goes straight to the heart of social mobility, of basic fairness and economic efficiency.’1

Image result for increasing challenge

A report published by Ofsted “The most able students, Are they doing as well as they should in our non-selective secondary schools?” – June 2013, focussed on the progress of high ability students in both selective and non-selective schools.

  • 65% of high ability students attending a non-selective school do not gain A/A* in Maths and English GCSE.
  • 27% of high ability students attending a non-selective school did not gain a B grade in Maths and English GCSE.

The gap continues to grow at Level 3 provision, and even further in applications and admissions to Russell group Universities. The report notes that “In too many lessons observed by inspectors, teaching is not supporting our highest attaining students to do well.”

The key findings through inspections were:

  • In many schools, expectations of what the most able students should achieve are too low.
  • Schools do not routinely give the same attention to the most able as they do to low-attaining students or those who struggle at school.
  • In over two fifths of the schools visited for the survey, students did not make the progress that they should, or that they were capable of, between the ages of 11 and 14. Students said that too much work was repetitive and undemanding in Key Stage 3. As a result, their progress faltered and their interest in school waned.
  • Students did not do the hard work and develop the resilience needed to perform at a higher level because more challenging tasks were not regularly demanded of them. The work was pitched at the middle and did not extend the most able.

If children are pushed to achieve this will:

  • Inspire and motivate them
  • Enable them to fulfil their potential
  • Maintain their engagement

Why does it matter?

It allows us to provide a differentiated curriculum with children aiming for their best. It ensures that all students are suitably engaged in their learning and hungry for improvement. Higher expectations are for the benefit of all: “a rising tide lifts all ships”.

What characteristics are seen in lessons where learners are challenged?

  • Teachers ask open ended questions and where necessary set open ended tasks  
  • Pupils are encouraged to develop higher order thinking skills (HOTS)  
  • Pupils are encouraged and given responsibility as leaders & facilitators
  • Teachers help pupils to develop skills which critique their own and others work
  • Pupils are encouraged to have a go and not fear mistakes
  • Teachers give expert guidance on what exemplar (eg A*) answers/responses look like; this approach is adopted for pupils across all groups
  • Pupils literacy skills are constantly tested orally, in writing and with reading
  • Teachers use specific techniques such as “SOLO” (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) (About SOLO taxonomy)
  • Teachers ‘flip the classroom’ so that pupils prepare work at home and arrive to lessons ready to apply their knowledge; this ensures no time is wasted
  • Pupils are encouraged to experiment
  • Feedback on pupils work makes it clear how to improve including next steps
  • Teachers make time in lessons to give this feedback

 

 

1. A Smithers, and P Robinson, Educating the highly able, Foreword by Sir Peter Lampl, Sutton Trust, 2012; www.suttontrust.com/research/educating-the-highly-able/.

Ending lessons and Plenaries

Much learning is also undertaken at the end of lessons. In order to maximise this there are a number of tactics which can support you to make the time more organised and productive.

  • End early. Don’t try to cover too much material in one hit. Don’t mistake pace for manic activity. Leave at least eight minutes to finish off the lesson properly.
  • Use a structured plenary to end the session. This should be a group or individual reflection on what has been learned.
  • Ask the pupils to identify two or three key points they have learned from the lesson. These can be shared in small groups either written or as drawings and cartoons.
  •  A review of these points could become a regular feature of a homework routine.
  • Summarise the learning.
  • Set the scene for the following lesson.
  • Have clear routines for an organised departure. Don’t fall into the trap of not clearing away equipment and resources in good time.
  • Make sure that pupils put on their coats as a last task before leaving the room.
  • Vary the way in which the pupils are dismissed, for example, row-by-row, small groups, alphabetically, one by one after answering a question. This will help keep the lesson focus right until the end.

 

Planning plenary activities

  • Generic and specific. The big challenge is to make these as varied as possible.
  • The purposes of the plenary is to: draw together what has been learned, to highlight the most important rather than the most recent points, to summarise key facts, ideas and vocabulary, and stress what needs to be remembered; generalise from examples generated earlier in the lesson.
  • Go through an exercise, question pupils and rectify any misunderstandings.
  • Make links to other work and what the class will do next.
  • Highlight not only the progress that has been made and remind them about personal targets
  • Set homework to extend or consolidate classwork and prepare for future lessons.

Improving endings 15 minutes

  • Choose a class you are confident to work with.
  • Keep in mind the tactics mentioned above, plan a lesson ending to include a plenary activity.
  • At the beginning of the lesson explain to the class what you have planned for the plenary and why. This will help them to prepare.
  • Review how the lesson ending went, then plan to incorporate more into future lessons

Key Stage 3 National Strategy l Strengthening teaching and learning using different pedagogies © Crown copyright 2004

Unit 3: Improving the learning climate DfES 0699-2004 G

A Lee

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