How do I monitor student progress?

Chad OstrowskiBlog, GRID FAQ, Lesson Plan Better, Manage Better, Mastery Done Better


  • When implementing a Grid, it is important to have a plan to monitor student progress.
  • There are many ways to utilize your progress monitor, including creating small groups, planning intervention, identifying gaps or areas for growth, peer-to-peer tutoring, targeted questioning, or planning instruction.
  • Prepare to monitor student progress by building the right culture and enhancing your progress monitor.

“Knowing is Half The Battle”

If you’ve heard that phrase before, it’s probably because, like me, you watched G.I. Joe when you were a kid. But even though it’s a phrase from an old cartoon, it still has a lot of merit. As educators, we can amazing things and we have a lot of tools and knowledge at our disposal. However, without knowing when to utilize these tools, the access to them does little good.

One of the most powerful aspects of The Grid Method and Mastery Learning, in general, is Progress Monitoring. This simply means that as students work through a self-paced Mastery Grid or pathway, you are monitoring their progress and know where they are in their level of mastery or learning. While this is a great way to ensure you’re meeting the needs of all students, you should consider a few options before diving in headfirst.

While there are many ways to utilize your progress monitor, the most important thing is that you as the educator are ensuring that all students are getting what they need when they need it. Click To Tweet

Ways to Monitor Student Progress

Working with teachers, schools, and districts across the country, I’ve seen many different ways to monitor progress and there isn’t a single answer. A few questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Do I want to monitor digitally or physically?
  • Do I want to publicly display the monitor or keep it private?
  • What will be easiest to manage and keep up to date for ME and my students?
  • Will students or the teacher be responsible for changing and updating the progress monitor?

Whether you’re using a Google Sheet to monitor (example here) or a simple printout on a clipboard, these questions will determine what works best for you!

Ways to Utilize Your Progress Monitor

Monitoring progress is just the first step. The most important aspect is HOW to use it. You can utilize your progress monitor in many ways. These include:

  • Creating small groups
  • Planning intervention
  • Identifying gaps or areas of potential growth
  • Peer-to-peer tutoring
  • Targeted questioning based on student progress
  • Planning daily mini-lessons/instruction

While there are many ways to utilize your progress monitor, the most important thing is that you as the educator are ensuring that all students are getting what they need when they need it.

[scroll down to keep reading]

Tips to Get Started

  • Build the right culture. Ensure that (especially if publicly displayed) your discussions are positive and growth-focused around the data displayed on the progress monitor.
  • Enhance your progress monitor. Adding colors, drop-down menus, or interactive features can help increase the usefulness of your monitor. Many teachers utilize a “stoplight/triage” system with their monitor to identify the level of student need.
  • Take A FREE COURSE. There are a ton of resources on progress monitoring to get you started, but you can take a free course right here to get downloadable templates, information, and strategies to get started immediately!

So…Are you ready to know more than ever about where your students are, what they need, and how you can help them?

Impact Story

I was overwhelmed and consumed by work. I felt like I had no idea how to reach all of my students, and I was running on a hamster wheel trying to figure it out. It was exhausting. Something had to change. Out of new ideas, I decided to try out The Grid Method, a concept that I had attended a two-day training on. Once creating and implementing my first Grid, everything clicked. To teach my students, I needed to meet their individual needs through self-paced learning. Why had I not thought of that before? 

I have been running my classroom using The Grid Method for over two years, and everything is different. I have students making incredible growth at all levels. My students are working, failing, trying again, and succeeding. Their ownership of their own learning is something to envy. Since all of my Grids have been created, I now pull out my binder for each Grid, make copies, assign things on Google Classroom, and I am prepared for our entire unit. I assess students in the moment and don’t bring home piles of papers every week. I have my time outside of school back. 

The Grid Method reignited my passion for teaching. I love spending my days watching my second grade students learning that failure isn’t the end. Every day, they are becoming better. Every day, I become better. The Grid Method changed everything in my classroom, and I am so thankful that it did. – Amanda Post, 2nd Grade Teacher- Ohio

About Chad Ostrowski

Chad Ostrowski is the co-founder of the Teach Better Team, and creator of The Grid Method. He is also a co-author of the Teach Better book. But Chad is a middle school science teacher at heart. He now travels the country sharing his story, working with teachers, schools, and districts to help them to reach more students. Chad is also a member of the Teach Better Speakers Network.