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Teaching Strategies: Entry and Exit Cards

Janelle Cox

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to assess students’ knowledge and work, then you must try the teaching strategies known as entry and exit cards. Entry and exit cards are both an effective way to measure the amount of progress a student is making. Here is a quick look at these teaching strategies and how they work, the advantages of using them, as well as how to use them in your classroom.

Teaching Strategies: What are Entry and Exit Cards?

Put simply, entry and exit cards are short prompts that provide teachers with a quick student diagnostic. When a student enters the classroom, they are given an entry card. The student must then complete a card within a specific amount of time. When the time is up, the teacher either collects the cards and quickly looks them over, or has a whole-class discussion about the cards. Most teachers like to use entry cards as bell work. Usually, entry cards are meant to focus the student’s attention on the topic they will be learning that day, or it asks them to use their prior knowledge so the teacher has an idea of what students already know before entering the new lesson. For example, it may ask students to list everything they know about hibernation. Teachers also use entry cards to bridge the transition between the prior day’s lesson and the current lesson, to check for understanding of a homework assignment, or to review key concepts of skills learned.

Exit cards are similar to entry cards in that students have a specific amount of time to complete them, and that teachers use them as a quick assessment tool. Exit cards are designed to collect feedback about a lesson from students. It’s meant to check for student understanding at the end of class. They are helpful in prompting students to fuse the information learned in class. An example of an exit card, or as some call them exit “Tickets” or “Slips,” are to ask a student to summarize the key points of the lesson. Teachers use exit cards to verify the students can solve a problem, to allow students to ask any questions they may have about what they just learned, to see if students can apply the content just learned in a new way, or to have students demonstrate what they just learned.

What are the Advantages?

There are plenty of advantages to using entry and exit cards. Here are a few of them.

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There is no Prep Time

Exit cards have zero preparation time. Even if you can’t fully get through your lesson, you can still hand students an exit card to get some feedback.

They are Fun

Students really seem to love them because you can be creative with them. Some teachers design them so they look like a boarding pass and students cannot enter or exit the classroom until they receive their boarding pass. Other teachers make them look like smartphones or bus or train tickets.

Great Feedback

These cards or tickets give teachers immediate feedback from students, which is extremely useful for teachers and helps them guide which way a lesson should go. The information that the students give is used as a benchmark to measure learning against, which is very useful.

How to Use Entry and Exit Cards

Here is a quick guide to how you can use entry and exit cards in your classroom.

Entry Cards

  • Figure out what you would like students to know or review based on your instruction. Then write out your entry card and hand to students as they enter the classroom.
  • Set a specific amount of time for students to complete their entry card.
  • When the time is up, collect the cards and quickly look over them, put them aside to look over later in the day before your lesson, or discuss the cards with the class.

Exit Cards

  • Think about what you want students to get out of the lesson then write a question or problem on the exit card.
  • Set a specific amount of time the students will have to complete the ticket. Stand at the door and collect cards as the students exit the classroom.
  • Check the cards after the students have exited the classroom. It’s best if you sort the cards into piles (one pile for students that grasped the content and another for students that didn’t).

The entry and exit strategy can be used by itself or together. This means that you do not have to use an entry card and an exit card on the same day. This strategy is extremely useful because it is quick and teachers can use it as an informal way to assess students’ understanding of a concept.

Do you use entry and/or exit cards in your classroom? If so, what do you think the advantages are? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.

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