An Exit Ticket for Lifelong Learning
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.