Is There a Way to Track Student Progress?

It’s that time of year again; high-stakes testing season is upon us. Teachers are stressed, worried that their students will not perform well even though they all worked hard all year, perhaps harder this year than any other. As teachers, you want to be able to track student progress, but how do you do that? Plenty of software programs have figured out how to track student progress, but how can we as teachers in the classroom do it? Well, now that students have devices, I might have a tool to help you lower the stress and know what your students know whether you are in person or remote.

Student trackers are becoming more popular for many reasons: they increase student agency, encourage goal setting and reflection, make transparent what used to be nebulous, remove the “extra-credit factor” that skews grades, help teachers know where students need support, provide reasons to celebrate, and help students and teachers see which skills have been mastered. All that in one tool? Yes!

Student progress trackers do not have to be complex. In fact, the simpler your system of assessment and grading the better. There are two things you must do to make this work: 1) adjust your assessments to be sectioned off by standard and skill, and 2) create your tracker to mirror what is being assessed. The reverse is also true.  You can create your student progress tracker first and then create your assessment sections to mirror the tracker.

I recommend a spreadsheet for tracking over a word processing document because it has infinite columns and rows, and you can turn text and merge cells.  You can also have multiple sheets inside one workbook that can be linked to one another. If you are intimidated by spreadsheets, don’t worry. You can get a copy of some sample trackers below.

How Do I Set Up a Student Progress Tracker?

As I have been working with high school teachers, my examples will be for Grades 9-12; however, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to adapt the tracker for any grade.

Below are two examples of a biology student progress tracker. The first has the standards across the top, and the second has the standards down the left side.  Notice row 1 lists the domain, row 2 lists the standard below each domain, column A lists student names, and the intersecting boxes will report mastery once it has been met.

Biology Student Progress Tracker

Horizontal Biology Student Progress Tracker


Vertical Biology Student Progress Tracker

Vertical Biology Student Progress Tracker

What is essential is that you determine in advance what is required to show mastery. This should be documented for all to refer to as needed. When a student fulfills the requirements, he/she can add an emoji to a digital tracker or a sticker to a wall tracker.

To learn more about how to use the tracker, check out this post I wrote “What is a student tracker and how do I use it?

If you would like a student progress tracker template, choose from these:
Biology Student Progress Tracker
Algebra 1 Student Progress Tracker
English 2 Student Progress Tracker
US History and Constitution Student Progress Tracker