How to Graph Student Progress

Image of teacher and her student.
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Monitoring students' progress is vital for ensuring academic success. As teachers move through the year, they need to keep tabs on each student and carefully evaluate how they are building their skills. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the creation of progress graphs. These simple, visual displays allow teachers and parents alike to immediately see whether or not the child is on an upward trend. Creating a student progress graph is an easy, effective way to check for student growth and comprehension.

Select your assessment tools. Start by deciding which assessment tools you are going to use to gauge growth. To be optimally successful, you want to select assessments that are objective and easily quantifiable, such as multiple choice tests. If your school gives practice standardized tests throughout the year, use these as your measurements. If not, substitute monthly or quarterly classroom multiple-choice tests. These assessments should be relatively homogeneous. For example, do not use a spelling test as one assessment and a multiplication quiz as another, as these measure vastly different skills.

Create a spreadsheet, using a software spreadsheet program and create a sheet containing a roster of students.

List students’ names along the rows on the table, in alphabetical order. Keeping the students in alphabetical order allows you to record their test scores easily.

Gather assessment data. Collect assessment scores to use as measures of progress.

List any available test scores, in separate columns, next to each student. If you have given three assessments, place the student's score for each assessment next to his name. List the assessments in the order in which they were given, allowing you to see growth over time.

Create a student-specific chart. Highlight the row of test scores and then go to the Insert menu and select “Chart.”

Decide on the type of chart. To adequately gauge progress, select either a line graph or a bar graph, as these chart types allow you to see the rises and dips in assessment scores.

Print the student progress chart and reserve it in the student file. This graphic display can be a powerful tool come conference time, as you discuss ability level with parents.

Create a chart containing all class data by selecting all student names and test scores, going to the Insert menu and selecting Chart. This allows you to see at a glance how your students’ abilities compare, and easily pinpoint students in need of remediated assistance.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.