Progress and Mastery Tracking

By supporting learners to track their progress and mastery, teachers can create a culture of ownership over mastery data
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About This Strategy

Progress and Mastery tracking involves the public or private tracking of learner mastery over time to build shared ownership and accountability over that mastery.  Progress tracking is a support for learners to help them identify how their current mastery relates to time either in self-paced environments (i.e. progress towards the end of a project, unit) or for longer-term goals (i.e. reaching a reading level). These trackers can help learners take stock of their progress and can lead to goal-setting and checklists to intervene when they get off track or have exceeded their goals. Mastery tracking refers to tracking learners' mastery of standards or skills. These trackers support learners to understand at a deeper level what mastery is expected of them in order to help them identify areas of strength and growth.  

Implementation Steps

  1. Brainstorm your goals for the tracker.  Do you want learners to set goals based on this tracker? Do you want them to adjust their learning pathway based on their skill gaps? Do you want to celebrate student growth? 

  2. Decide what kind of tracking system you want.  Do you want a progress tracker where learners track their progress towards a 'finish line'? Or do you want a mastery tracker where students maintain records of their assessments and other mastery data?

  3. Decide if this tracker should be public or private.  A public tracker increases accountability and pride but requires more norming up front so that students are not embarrassed if their progress stalls. You'll want to consider the benefits of displaying trackers publicly vs. keeping them private between you and the learner.

  4. Design the tracker to be student-friendly and clear. Be sure to keep your goals in mind as you design the tracker. See the resources below for a variety of formats for trackers.

  5. Develop procedures for how, when, and where learners will interact with the trackers.

    • Set norms with learners about the purpose of the tracker, and what your goals are. It is important to norm the uses of the trackers, including the purpose behind them, so learners can invest in the systems you build around it.

  6. Run the procedures one time as practice, where everyone advances and/or masters the first 'assessment,' to invest students in the system and to identify potential challenges. 

Mastery Trackers for Assessment System

As you use assessments throughout the school year, having a private or public tracking system gives your learners an opportunity to reflect on those assessments and to return back to them periodically for review and remediation of missed skills.

Implementation steps:

  1. Create a digital and/or paper tracker with optional spaces for post-assessment reflection, error analysis, and re-takes.
    • Decide if you want students to track their progress by assessment, by standard, or by a more granular list of skills.
  2. Norm with learners about the purpose of the tracker.
  3. After students complete or re-take an assessment, update the tracker so that students can review their mastery so far. 
    • Build in time for students to complete their assessment reflection or error analysis after completing an assessment. 

EL Modification

To support EL students, teachers can can create symbols on assessments that correspond to the tracker for easy viewing and clarity.

Coach Tips

Daniel Guerrero
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

If you are new to this, the easiest place to start is a progress-based tracker that is not time-bound.  For example, create a tracker supporting students to "master 50 skills on IXL" or "Read 10 chapter books before December 31."  These can be public, class-wide, and updated at an irregular interval, while still building investment and understanding of mastery at the same time.

Tech Tool


  • Google Sheets are a free online spreadsheet that can be created, edited, and shared from a phone, tablet, or computer. Google sheets contains ready formulas, and can produce a wide variety of tables.
  • GoogleSheets could be either a student-facing or teacher-facing tool to keep track of the assessment systems and ensure that any public trackers are accurate.