Tracking Student Progress and Mastery

How do you do it - track your students' progress and mastery of all the skills they are expected to learn under your care?  I don't know about you, but I felt like I pretty much knew if one of my students wasn't getting it, whatever the skill was.

Yet, we're held accountable to show that each and every skill is taught and every student is progressing toward mastery.  We must somehow keep track, but it's not always easy to track every skill for every student when our busy days are already packed to the max.

Over the years, I've tried various methods, usually involving some type of checklist or checklists.
I found that the key was to find or develop checklists that worked synergistically with the lessons I was presenting.  I'm a firm believer in "keeping it simple," both in my lessons and in my student data.

For example, I developed a comprehensive and spiraling Daily Review of the math and ELA lessons we had covered.  I kept it short and simple, yet effectively targeting those specific skills my students were expected to know and retain.  Then I realized that the right checklists that would work synergistiacally with those skills could make tracking student mastery so much quicker and easier.

So I created checklists with the Grade Level Expectations (as they were called back then). Now, it was "simple" to officially keep track of who was mastering which skills and who was not. The Daily Review lessons focused on specific weekly ELA skills in conjunction with previously learned skills, while the math section constantly reviewed learned math skills. Throughout the week, it was easy to monitor student progress, and by the end of the week, I could quickly check off (using my synergistic checklists) the skills that they had mastered.  I could also easily see which students needed remediation in any of the skills covered.

Since then, I have redeveloped both the Daily Review and the checklists to correlate with the Common Core State Standards.  You can read how the Daily Review pages are used every day as morning work on this post here.  And you can view the 2nd Grade checklists HERE.

I've also created these 1st Grade checklists you can view HERE.
I have outlined below how I would use the checklists during a week in which my Daily Review ELA focus was on adjectives and adverbs and previously learned reading, writing, and language skills.

So here is one day of the ELA portion of the Daily Review: 
Notice the two sentences do not require simple Fix the Sentence tasks.  Very targeted skills are addressed that align with these Common Core ELA standards:

* RF.2.3 - Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
   - Know spelling-sound correspondences for vowel teams.
   - Identify words with inconsistent but common spelling-sound correspondences.

* W.2.5 - With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing by revising and editing.
   - Edit a writing piece for conventions...

* L.2.1 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
   - Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified....

* L.2.2 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
   - Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
   - Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words...

Now, here are checklists that correlate with this day's skills that were addressed:
Notice, Jana's work shows she has mastered these skills.  I have also noticed she has shown progress and mastery on previous days during this week.  I am ready to check off mastery for her on the appropriate checklists:

On her individual checklist for Reading Foundation Skills, I can confidently check off the two areas as shown below for RF.2.3.  She has consistently demonstrated that she knows spelling-sound correspondences for common vowel teams and can identify words with inconsistent but common spelling-sound correspondences (see circled in purple above).

I will also check off the same two areas for Jana on the class checklist.
The class checklist will give me a quick overview of who has and has not mastered skills.

On Jana's checklist for Writing, W.2.5, I will check off that she is competent in editing a piece for conventions, as is obvious by her editing marks for both sentences before she rewrites them (see blue arrows above). Jana has become very proficient at editing because of the daily practice.

Again, I will go to the class checklist and check this area off for her, as well.

There are two language areas, L.2.1 (see red arrows above) and L.2.2 (see circled in green above) for which Jana has shown mastery.  She obviously understands the use of adjectives and adverbs and the difference between them.  She can also use an apostrophe correctly to form a contraction (I will circle only the word "contraction" if possessives have not been met yet), and she shows her knowledge of using learned spelling patterns.

Now I will transfer these check marks to the class checklist for Jana.

Now let's take a look at the Math portion for the same day of the Morning Work Daily Review:
Standard 2.OA.2 is addressed every day with five addition or subtraction facts.  The other four skills change from day to day. Notice the standard number for each one is provided for easy tracking. On this particular day, these are the Common Core Math skills that are addressed:

Jana has consistently shown mastery of small groups of addition facts over time and now knows all of them. So on her individual checklist, I check off mastery for that part of Math standard 2.OA.2.

She also obviously knows how to count to find the total number of same-size squares in a rectangle under math standard 2.G.2, and I check that off on her checklist.

Jana demonstrates she can add four 2-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of addition, 2.NBT.6 (with regrouping).  She also shows she can use previously learned strategies to solve written 3-digit addition problems and that in adding 3-digit numbers one adds hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, and ones and ones, 2.NBT.7.  I check off all three of those skills on Jana's checklist.

For math standard 2.MD.6, Jana demonstrates that she can add within 100 using a number line.  I check that off on her checklist, too.

Finally, I will transfer all five of those check marks to the Math class checklist for Jana.

So there you have it!  From just one day of morning daily review, I was able to assess and document that Jana shows mastery of six ELA Common Core skills and five Math Common Core skills.  If you're interested in the morning review as demonstrated above, you can read more about it and how to get it (for 2nd and 1st grades) on this post.

Of course, you will be teaching and assessing in all sorts of ways every day, from which you can confirm mastery and use the checklists to document it for each and every skill.

Here are some other examples showing how you could do so:

These examples are taken from my February NO PREP Printables.

If you are interested in the 2nd Grade Common Core Student Progress and Mastery checklists, you can find them here.  If you are interested in the 1st Grade set, you can find it here.

I am offering the 2nd grade Math Class Checklist from that pack right here for FREE.  And the FREE 1st grade Math Class Checklist here.

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Thank you so much for ALL that you do for your students!



  1. wow! What a great post with great information! Thank you for sharing!! :)
    Mrs. Nicolau
    Brinca Into Bilingual!

  2. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas for tracking student progress!
    Peggy @ Primary Flourish

  3. Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas and for participating in our collaborative linky. :)
    Nicole and Eliceo

  4. You're welcome ladies, and thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

  5. Wow!I wish this was for 3rd grade. I'm going to have use your organized set up and change for 3rd grade.

  6. Wow!I wish this was for 3rd grade. I'm going to have use your organized set up and change for 3rd grade.


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