Distance Learning

How to Use Exit Tickets in Online Learning

  • Sophie Murphy

Optimize student understanding in a changing world of online learning with digital exit tickets.

I have written learning intentions and success criteria that move from surface-level learning to deeper level learning and transfer of understanding for Big Ideas textbooks over the past two years and hope that these help you during each learning progression. I hope that you are able to use them to move past surface-level understandings (that rely on working memory) to a higher level of understanding through a transfer of knowledge and make connections to prior knowledge (scaffolding lessons from surface to deep). Learning is never a one-off lesson; each lesson builds on top of the other. Knowledge acquired yesterday forms the foundation of knowledge that will be built up today and then transferred to different and new contexts when understood.


After an instructional lesson is over, we are often left wondering if students understood what was taught. My PhD supervisor, Professor John Hattie, once asked me how my students enjoyed my high levels of teacher talk, and I replied that all of my students were regularly smiling and nodding at me. We all know that indeed this is not enough. They may look happy and often nod, but do the students understand my lesson? Are there any ideas, concepts, or skills they are still unsure of? Do my students have any misconceptions about the lesson and its content? Do I have to review anything tomorrow or make changes to my lesson for tomorrow? These are just a few of the reflective questions that I would be left wondering before planning my next lesson.


Now that we are doing all classes online, it does make it more difficult to ascertain where students are, where they need to go and how they are going to get there as we have always done in the traditional classroom. Or does it? The exit ticket is one strategy teachers can use online to provide insight from all students in the classroom by promptly gaining insight into our students’ understanding of what has been taught.



An exit ticket  is a simple task that requires learners to answer a few questions or perform specific tasks explored during the learning process; it can be done at the end of a lesson or even in the middle of a lesson where appropriate.


Sometimes, exit tickets are also used as entry tickets. In this case, you use them to quickly figure what students already know (or think they know) about a topic as you begin a new unit. Clustering the answers can give you insight into which students need reiteration and which students need extra challenges and/or support.



The format of an exit ticket can vary. It can be non-verbal with emojis or can ask questions, seek questions and comments that demonstrate understanding.  Exit tickets should be short. They should be clear and concise, allowing every student to share their knowledge gained or questions they have about the lesson. Every student may have a great understanding, or there may be misconceptions or specific elements that need to be retaught or taught differently. The exit tickets provide feedback to the teacher. Effective exit tickets allow students to share their understanding in their own words. The exit ticket can verify students’ understanding, gather questions and find any misconceptions.



  • Write down three things you learned today.
  • List two questions you have from today.
  • If you had to explain today's lesson to a friend, what would you tell him/her?
  • What part of the lesson did you find most challenging?
  • What would you like me to go over again next lesson?
  • Write down two questions you have.
  • What are the main points we covered today?
  • Summarize key points from the lesson.
  • See if students can apply the content in a new way.
  • Create extensions for students who demonstrate mastery after the lesson.

You can get many more ideas from the Harvard University Project Zero Team who have developed what they call, ‘thinking routines’ for more questions and provocations that can be used in an exit ticket. Digital tools can be used in a regular classroom environment or just using small slips of paper that are collected at the end of the lesson. In a time where we have gone to online learning very quickly with a global pandemic, we are working out the best ways to teach our students. As we navigate this new way of teaching and assessing student understanding, now is the time to take exit tickets digital as well.



    1. Google Forms - You can set up exit tickets with different question types and submit requests to participate via email or sharable link with your students. All participants will have their responses populate in a single spreadsheet. Teachers will be able to review every single exit ticket on the same document. You can set up quizzes and Google Forms can automatically grade it.  
    2. PollEverywhere You can use PollEverywhere  to create a poll for students to complete. Data can be displayed to the class in real time in order to provide immediate feedback and clarity for students. It is a simple tool where you can create multiple choice questions, true and false questions, and short answer questions. You can choose to show your students the results or see them yourself in real time.  
    3. Socrative - You can use Socrative to assess your students with educational activities on tablets, laptops, or smartphones. Through the use of real-time questioning, teachers and students alike can visualize the data to make decisions about upcoming learning through four different options to choose from, one of them being an exit ticket. Each option is worth looking at. You create your own online classroom with your students.  
    4. Twitter - Twitter can be used with the Harvard Thinking Routine ‘Headline’ for older students. Teachers can ask students to post a 140-character summary of today’s lesson and allow the discussion to transpire after the class has officially ended. This allows students to think deeply and synthesize the information taught.  
    5. Geddit - Geddit gauges student understanding with the use of multiple-choice or short answer responses. What makes it truly unique from the other apps and tools is that Geddit allows students to provide feedback on the pace of the class – beginning, middle or during lesson closure. You can keep track of how the lesson is going through the student responses.  
    6. ExitTicket - The ExitTicket app allows teachers to receive real-time results using numerous question and activity options. Students are also able to receive feedback so that they can assume responsibility in the learning process.  
    7. VoiceThread - VoiceThread allows teachers and students to discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos using numerous methods. Students can add audio, text or video responses for a media-centric assessment experiences to connect with their teacher. 
    8. lino - Lino is a cloud-based sticky note and photo-sharing tool, allowing teachers and students to post content to an online corkboard. 
    9.  Padlet - Similar to lino, Padlet is an online shared space where students can post notes, multimedia files, hyperlinks and documents.  
    10. BookWidgets - The BookWidgets app automatically collects student answers of questions provided at the end of the lesson and presents teachers with an overview of the student responses.


There are hundreds of additional digital tools or strategies connected teachers could use for administering an exit ticket to students that are not listed here. If you know of any, please reach out and let us know. If you try any of these, we would love to hear how it goes and what worked or didn’t work. Remember, we are all in this together. We look forward to continuing to connect with you through the short videos that I will be doing weekly, Laurie’s Lessons, Facebook Q & A with Laurie and I, and my weekly blog posts to you.  


Stay safe and connected. See you again soon.



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