A mistake that teachers frequently make is asking students, "Do you understand?" Born out of a desire to confirm that students are actually learning, this question is rarely useful. If it is not met with a classroom full of embarrassed faces avoiding eye contact, the responses are either dishonest or require further prompting. Now scores of new platforms are attempting to answer this question for teachers by leveraging mobile technology to monitor and deliver metrics on student comprehension.
Leadership Public Schools a non-profit in Oakland, has created ExitTicket, a classroom assessment tool that provides individual and class data to teachers in real time via projectable dashboard displays. Based on its vernacular alone -- ExitTicket’s goal is to be a student response system through teacher-generated tickets, not questions -- the platform feels less like a traditional testing method and more like a collaborative teacher-student project.
Catering to teachers wary of integrating complicated classroom technology, the website offers an easy-to-follow start guide as well as a clear step-by-step instructional video; the entire process seems simple enough for teachers to adopt independently. Once up and running, it offers the options to view performance metrics for the entire class or to monitor individual ticket responses, which is especially valuable because tickets can be aligned to specific common core standards and learning targets.
One of the clear advantages of ExitTicket is that its dashboard is designed to be projected on the board. This is helpful for students who need guidance through the login and ticketing process or who want to view the class progress on the dashboard as they work. If teachers decide to review a ticket with the class, the "re-teach space" allows teachers white space around the problem to make annotations.
The platform functions on any internet-connected device, so while it is compatible with bring-your-own-device policies, it obviously requires more resources in schools where not every student owns a tablet or smartphone. And although there is a free account with limited features, cash-strapped teachers who already buy classroom supplies might not want to front the $8.95 per month fee for the master plan that unlocks rich media options, support for multiple question types, and the ability to track students by concept.
While students seem likely to benefit from individualized monitoring, it is not clear how they might respond to the pressure of having class metrics projected onto the board while working. This might be a motivating factor for some, but could create the same kind of performance anxiety students experience when taking exams. It would be informative to see research that compares student performance with and without the classroom dashboard.
ExitTicket approaches personalized learning in a large classroom environment with a well-designed platform that moves easily between the individual and the group. It enables educators to re-think how they approach assessments, as this could be used for restricted practice activities or as a replacement for traditional exams. Either way, it seems to be fulfilling a sector-wide desire to collect more student data that can inform teachers on the effectiveness of their lessons and students’ abilities in real time. While the software does not automatically adapt to a student’s level as other personalized learning platforms do (see: AdaptCourseware), it does allow the teacher to adapt and respond to students’ needs.
The Bottom Line:
ExitTicket is a clean, organized, and simple way to monitor individual and group learning.Image: Logo via ExitTicket