Brian Lafferty


Our Lady's High Cumbernauld

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When I Use Exit Passes In The Classroom?


Exit passes are a simple, effective way to end a lesson and receive responses to prompts from pupils. Marzano (2012) suggests that there at least four types of prompt that can be used by teachers; prompts which generate formative assessment data, encourage self-assessment, provide open communication with the teacher or focus on instructional strategies. Each of these prompts provide the teacher with different information to be used to inform practice, each with their own merits and impact on learners. Black and William (1998) discuss a link between self-assessment and formative assessment, in that one enhances the other. The two are intertwined since by formatively assessing a pupil you are encouraging them to assess their own knowledge in their efforts to answer the question correctly. There are arguments that the validity of self-assessment is questionable (Ross, 2006) however, if consciously combined with formative assessment then it allows for a gauge of the effectiveness of the technique.

The argument against the effectiveness of self-assessment is a valid one but is counter-argued by Black and William (1998), who suggest that this perceived ineffectiveness is not through dishonesty on the part of the learner, but due to a lack of training or scale to measure learning by. I decided to investigate the use of exit passes in the classroom as a means of both formative and self-assessment with an S1 Science class to gauge the impact it had on attainment and pupils’ views of their own learning.


This inquiry seeks to investigate the effect of using exit passes as a means of both formative and self-assessment for pupils, while also providing a means of openly communicating with the teacher. In combining these three elements data was gathered on pupils’ opinions, the quality of the day’s lesson and their own learning, whilst also providing me with evidence with which to gauge the validity of each learner’s own self-assessment.

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