This study presents an account of a small-scale classroom enquiry based on examining what happens when teachers use exit passes at the end of lessons. Exit passes can be used as a means of self-assessment in order to allow pupils to communicate discreetly with teachers on their progress and learning, as well as reflect on what they learned during the class. It can be a tool that asks them to consider their own learning, but that also opens a communication channel with the teacher, allowing teachers to check pupils’ understanding. Formative assessment is an important educational feature, a branch of which encourages pupils to assess themselves and their own progress in order to improve their learning. According to Wiliam (2010) assessment for learning, in this case in the form of exit passes, could provide a discreet and communicative means of pupil self-evaluation, allowing pupils to self-evaluate and reflect upon their learning. Alber (2013) suggests that exit passes can be used to achieve four goals:
- Rate pupils’ current understanding of new learning.
- Analyse and reflect on their efforts around the learning.
- Provide feedback to teachers on an instructional strategy.
- Provide feedback about the materials and teaching.
Heidi Andrade et al. (2009) suggest that the primary role of self-assessment is to ‘boost learning and achievement’, and therefore that integrating as many means of self-assessment as possible to a lesson may help to enhance learning.
This study seeks to examine the effect of the use of varied types of exit pass, including verbal, as methods of formative and self-assessment in the Modern Languages classroom. It aims to establish how pupil feedback and self-assessment can inform our classroom planning as teachers, and our understanding of pupil progress. In establishing a varied system of exit pass use, alternating verbal and written passes, this study will attempt to establish what changes occur in pupil progress and in teacher understanding of pupil attainment. Exit passes can take many forms. The two used in this study will be verbal, where pupils are required to say a word or phrase relating to the day’s learning before they leave the room. The second is in the form of a post-it note, where pupils will be given a few minutes for reflection in order to write down something that they have taken from the day’s lesson. This could allow teachers to establish whether pupils have achieved and understood the lesson’s aims.