I have started using exit cards quite frequently = almost daily, and I use them in a few different ways. I have used them as an accountability mechanism, to see who was taking notes, listening, etc., but I find that when I am introducing students to a concept that I know is quite complicated, then exit cards can be invaluable in revealing who knows the definition, skill, etc., and who doesn’t know.
I will acknowledge that they require some effort on my part at the ‘front end’ because I have the most success when I take a moment to pre-plan my exit card question; and there is obvious effort at the ‘back end’ because I have to make time to sit and read them.
But what the exit cards give me, however, is data — data that will directly inform what I do the next day. That is to say, if I discover that 7 out of 20 students do not have a solid grasp on an important concept, then I want to make sure that I think of some way to bring them up to speed. When I have discovered those kinds of results, then I have scheduled some practice on the concept for the next day, and I said,
“Based on your feedback, I have three centres for you to help deepen our understanding of this important concept. If you have shown that you are ready to practice the concept on your own, go over to this section of the room. If you are feeling like you need some help, you can work with the people in the first group to help you AND I have included a review of the definition at this station. If your feedback has indicated that we need to solidify the definition / concept, then you will come over here to this centre for just a few minutes and I will show you what to do.”
This becomes, then, a form of tiering to accommodate the different stages of readiness of the students on that particular day.