An Exit Ticket for Lifelong Learning

exit ticket

Do you remember the infamous Father Guido from Saturday Night Live? He had a popular skit called the “5 Minute University” where he joked about starting his own college that took just five minutes, since the average college graduate only remembers five minutes worth of information five years after finishing school.

It’s basically a teacher’s worst nightmare, but I can certainly relate (considering four years of high school foreign language taught me less than a toddler’s summer of “Dora the Explorer). I use this clip in many of my classes when explaining my teaching philosophy, as I’m eager for students to learn early on just how valuable the course information will be, as well as how vital it is for them to make strong, lasting connections between the course content and their own lives. At the beginning of the semester, I want them to know that my class isn’t just about memorizing stuff to pass a test that they’ll immediately forget and/or never use.

Recently, I’ve started following up on this premise at the end of the term, when I really want them to remember what they’ve learned so they can hopefully go out and start applying that knowledge. One effective tool that I use to avoid the five minute university is the course exit ticket (much like a class exit ticket, but used at the end of the term for the entire semester.) This activity actually ties nicely into my employability assessment as well, so I typically use it for both purposes depending on the course. Basically, I use some type of simple assessment to have students review the course competencies and employability skills listed on the syllabus, then reflect back on what they learned and how they’ll use it in the future. I try to make this activity quick and painless, while still promoting personal accountability and lifelong learning.

I collect these reflections to use as additional learner feedback, and I encourage the students to consider keeping a copy to add to their portfolio, or at least to have on hand in the future when preparing for job interviews or trying to write application letters.

You can see two different exit ticket examples here and here, and they can easily be modified to meet any type of end of semester need. The  key, of course, is making sure that students leave with a strong sense of learning—and hopefully, more than a few minutes worth of usable, relevant knowledge.

2 thoughts on “An Exit Ticket for Lifelong Learning

  1. Your final comments: “…making sure the students leave a strong sense of learning” caught my attention relative to your “Exit” activity. On the last day of my thinking critically and creatively class, I facilitate a similar exercise (my next SPARK) submission. Each student is to compose a “hamburger helper” letter to students who will be taking my thinking critically and creatively course in the spring of 2016. Their letters seem to scratch the underbelly of authentic and lasting learning — 5 minutes of learning = connecting learning to life. Here is an example:

    “Dear Future Student,

    There are several ideas about this class that you should know. At first you may think this class is irrelevant and dull, however give it a chance. Upon further examination, you will find this class is very interesting and highly entertaining. I can apply everything I’ve learned in this class to everyday life; and I am very glad I took this class so early in my program. If you are near the end of your program, it is more than likely that you will wish you would have taken it earlier. There is so much useful information in this class that can be applied to other classes and situations in your everyday life. Keep an open mind to everyone’s opinions and beliefs, and others will do the same for you. There are plenty of opportunities for you to share your thoughts and beliefs in this class unlike most other classes. I hope you enjoy this class as much as I did!”

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