5. What’s the secret to assessing pupil progress every lesson?


Use exit tickets to get a snapshot of what every student took away from your lesson

This is the single most powerful thing I’ve done all year, from lesson one, maintaining it consistently, and it’s impressed external observers and internal mentors alike.

The exit ticket provides a snapshot of whole class understanding for each and every lesson, in under two minutes.  For effort to impact ratio, they’re a no brainer.  I can’t even imagine planning the next lesson without them.

How do I set it up?

5-10 minutes before the end of a lesson, throw up a single question on the board (sometimes you might want two, but be careful about going over this – really ups the workload!)  They write their name and answer on the ticket.  As they leave, they hand it to you.  This does two things:

  1. They have to leave via you, establishing you as an authority in the room
  2. Gives you a powerful tool for planning/tweaking the next lesson

What do I do with my fistful of tickets?

It’s up to you, experiment.  Here a few possibilities:

Light touch – Flick through quickly and organise them into piles:

  1. 100% correct
  2. Didn’t have a clue
  3. Different piles for the same mistake

It’s an immediate picture of their understanding.  I might modify and redeliver an entire lesson if the results are bad.  Now throw them away.

More time, more impact – After arranging the tickets into piles, mark them; tick everything that’s correct (for motivation), circle errors and comment if you can, maybe even providing a model solution.  Next lesson hand them out and discuss the misconceptions on the board.  This has the (significant) advantage of making sure they know you value their effort, and you’re doing something with all those tickets.  Now they can throw them away themselves.

Maximal effort, good for Ofsted – At the end of the lesson, they write the question in their books. Sort the tickets into piles again, mark them and hand them out in the next lesson, but this time they glue the tickets into their books, maintaining a record of their end of lesson understanding.

They can be used to assess student’s feelings as well – how confident they understood the lesson, how well they feel they met a behaviour objective etc.  This is a good way of showing you value student voice.


4 thoughts on “5. What’s the secret to assessing pupil progress every lesson?

  1. Pingback: 11. How can questioning unlock learning? | Back to the Whiteboard

  2. Pingback: What can we learn from Dylan Wiliam & AfL? | Pragmatic Education

  3. Pingback: Edssential » What’s the secret to assessing pupil progress every lesson?

  4. Pingback: Learning@Loreto | Exit Tickets – a progress snapshot

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