⬅︎ Go back to The Teacher Compass

5 Ways to Use Exit Tickets in Your ELA Classroom

Whether you’re a new or veteran ELA teacher, sometimes your lessons and your students simply don’t click. That’s okay! What matters is that you realize this as soon as possible and make adjustments to maximize student learning. But if you only use summative assessments—which evaluate student learning at the end of a unit—you won’t have this chance to adapt. That’s why formative assessments like exit tickets—which monitor student learning in the middle of a unit—are so valuable!

What are exit tickets?

Exit tickets are quick ways to check in with your students about virtually anything. You can design exit tickets to check for comprehension or to gauge students’ feelings on a lesson. In fact, one of the best things about exit tickets is that they are customizable and you can use them in so many ways. And while at first you might worry about the extra grading(actually, data collection—exit tickets don’t count towards students’ grades), digital exit tickets do all the data work for you, allowing you to focus on the teaching and the learning.

Exit tickets in your ELA classroom

Exit tickets are especially useful in the ELA classroom. Because ELA concepts can be more nuanced than quantifiable subjects like math, they can be more difficult to assess. Therefore, it’s important to check in with your students frequently. As an ELA teacher, you need to pinpoint exactly which aspects of your lessons need attention. Exit tickets allow you to do just that.

For example, during a literature lesson, you notice your students are having trouble. Is it because of the concept of characterization? Or is it because the sample text you're using has too much advanced vocabulary, making it difficult for students to analyze the characters? These are important differences, and if you identify them early, you can adjust the lesson and re-engage your students.

How to use exit tickets in your ELA classroom

The possibilities for how to use exit tickets in the ELA classroom are endless. Here are five ideas to get you started!

1.    Exit Ticket for Sentence Structure

Sentence Structure

There are so many options for structuring sentences correctly that sometimes students simply need practice! You can provide these opportunities to practice by creating sentence structure exit tickets. Give students a run-on or a fragment, and then ask them to correct it. They can rewrite it themselves, or, like in the example below, you can use a multiple-choice format.

2.    Exit Ticket for Opinion Writing

Opinion Writing

Distinguishing between facts and opinions is a critical ELA skill. Whether you’re asking students to write texts expressing their own opinions or they’re reading someone else’s opinion writing, it’s important to check in with your students throughout the process. Exit tickets for opinion writing can take a number of forms. You can create open-ended questions asking students for their opinions. You can create a poll to survey students’ opinions on a topic. Or, you can check students’ understanding by asking them the purpose of opinion writing (see below).

3.    Exit Ticket for Main Idea

Main Idea

Identifying the main idea of a text is a skill that ELA teachers perennially target. Depending on the text, students sometimes struggle to differentiate the main idea from the supporting details. Exit tickets can help students work on this skill while allowing you to monitor your students’ progress. Digital exit tickets with a short text and a multiple-choice question about its main idea are ideal for this purpose (see the example below). Or, after reading a text together in class, use an exit ticket to ask students to express the main idea in their own words.

4.    Exit Ticket for Adjectives


Parts of speech can be tricky for some students. Learning the differences between nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs generally involves two skills. First, students must be able to define the function of each part of speech (e.g., a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea). Second, students must be able to recognize different parts of speech in context. Exit tickets can help your students with both aspects of parts of speech. Check out the example below for two kinds of exit ticket questions on adjectives.

5    Exit Ticket for Literature Interpretation

Literature Interpretation

Reading and interpreting literature is another key area of ELA. If students find a text interesting, they tend to have strong opinions about it, leading to great interpretations. However, if they find it challenging just to understand the text, they won’t be able to look deeper than the surface level. If you want to gauge whether your students are struggling with a specific text or with the interpretive skills you’re teaching, try an exit ticket. Use a simpler text and give students the opportunity to interpret it. Check out the example below.

Getting started with exit tickets

The great thing about using exit tickets is that they don’t require a ton of planning, so you can begin using them right away. Take a moment to think: What ELA skills or knowledge do you want to measure in your classroom right now? Explore Tailor-ED’s digital exit tickets in those content areas, and ensure top-notch exit tickets without giving yourself the extra task of creating and grading them.