Tracking Progress Without Using Grades

When thinking of academic progress, most parents would turn to look at their children’s recent report cards to see the changes in their grades for better or worse. Since seeing progress as concrete and solid evidence through grades is most common, most parents also fail to realize there are other means by which students’ progress can be tracked without using grades.

A couple of years ago, the Ministry of Education made changes to the number of assessments students would get in primary and secondary school levels. By doing so, it can help free up more time and space for holistic development that would also help in the goal to mold well-rounded individuals for the future. With this, academics have taken more of a backseat to make way for students to reflect on their studies and decide on the career path they want to take in the future.

With the recent events involving the pandemic and changes in the mode of learning to Home-based Learning, many parents are keen to understand how they can track their children’s progress without relying too much on grades and exam results. Now that they are more involved in their children’s studies, they may also start to become more aware of their child’s needs and how to effectively support them as well.

How to track progress without test results

There are many ways parents can keep an eye on their children’s progress besides looking at the marks they receive from their exams or grades. We’ve listed down some of the ways to do so.

1. Speak with the teachers

As teachers are the ones who see the students the most in classes, they are also reliable sources in finding out the student’s progress. They see the child almost every day and also see how well they perform in lessons and activities. However, as physical interactions have more restrictions now, parents and teachers rarely have time for parent-teacher meetings and if so, they do it virtually as well. This doesn’t mean that parents can’t approach teachers though. If the parent feels like they have to speak with the teacher, they can set up a meeting with them or even reach out to them in some other way such as emails, text messaging, chats, etc. this will help open up the dialogue between parents and teachers.

When discussing progress with the teacher, it doesn’t necessarily mean that parents have to talk about their grades and what scores the child has achieved. They can ask for progress in different ways such as if the child is participating in class or if the child has problems making friends and the such. And then after asking for the teacher’s observations, parents can also ask them how they can help with their child’s progress.

It should also be said, however, that parents should take the teacher’s time into consideration. Ask your child’s teacher if they are open to emails and at what time or days they can be contacted to avoid turning these discussions into nagging.

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2. Create more learning experiences at home

Learning doesn’t have to end in schools or classes alone. Even at home, especially with the current situation, parents can still encourage learning. There are many ways to create more learning experiences for students at home whether indoors or outdoors.

• Give real-life examples

What better way to teach a topic or concept to a child than by giving them real-life examples that they can also use when they are applying those concepts? Parents can also make these applications fun for students. For example, they can have a “Mini Store” inside the house and when the child is learning Mathematics, parents can help their child count their money to buy things from the store. This can also be used to teach budgeting early on or even giving them a chance to exercise other values that comes with it. these would also help the child improve their knowledge of how the world works and to encourage their curiosity to develop.

• Introduce inspiring people

Idolizing someone shouldn’t always be considered a bad thing. Children can also have idols they admire and when this happens, parents can help them by looking up documentaries or inspiring videos that they could watch with the child. Explaining to the child that how these individuals became successful will help them see the sacrifices and hard work they have gone through to reach where they are now.

It also doesn’t just stop for the individuals your child already admires. It can also be for a certain topic or field. For example, if the child is interested in Science and animals, parents can look at documentaries or shows about people of Science and those who work with animals. These will further develop the child’s interests and also set an example for them to also work hard to reach their dreams.

• Discuss and ask for their opinions

Children don’t necessarily develop strong opinions about themselves as young as they are. However, continuously asking for their opinions about matters will help build their self-confidence and also teach them how they can support or give pieces of evidence for their opinions. As such, parents should also be supportive when a child gives their opinion and show them that their opinion matters too. Don’t ask for their opinion only to shut them down and tell them they’re wrong. Instead, ask them why they think that way and set a middle ground if there are varying opinions. The point here isn’t to invalidate their opinions and concerns but to help them grow and learn to speak up about their sentiments.

• Take them to interesting locations

With the current restrictions, this shouldn’t be done on the whim. However, it should still be considered when giving children more home-learning experiences. By visiting museums, parks, or other places that interest children or are related to their current lesson, their understanding can deepen as well. There are many places that offer the chance to explore, have fun, while still continue learning at the same time.

3. Hire a tutor

There are many instances that parents watch their children learn by themselves and think, “Is this enough?” Of course, students already have their teachers in school to teach them and their parents to give them support. However, if the parent still wants to give their child more assistance, especially with home-based learning, they can also consider engaging in a home tutor.

A home tutor provides 1-to-1 tuition classes to the child in the comforts of your home or online. Like teachers, tutors also teach the child lessons and can even teach deeper than what is offered in schools. Another advantage of home tuition is personalized teaching. This means that since tuition is done one student per one tutor, the student wouldn’t have to match anyone’s pace or learning style than their own. Tutors as well can customize the lessons given according to the learning style and pace of the student. They can also determine the student’s weaknesses and if agreed upon, can work on that before jumping to more current lessons.

Aside from this, since tuition is mostly done at home, parents can also have access to the tutors can ask for insights on how well the child is doing. Home tutors are also required to give progress reports that go beyond grades. They can help the parents understand which parts of the subject the child is having trouble with and the ones they have already mastered.

Since there are some restrictions, tutors have also offered online tuition sessions for students. With this, students and their tutors meet virtually. Students are given tuition through online means but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less effective.

Home tuition also offers many subjects for students to take so parents and students don’t have to worry about looking for tutors for this or that subject. If you’re still skeptical of the kind of tutor you should hire for your child, check out our articles about the qualities of a good home tutor and why you should use a tuition agency such as FamilyTutor.


As mentioned before, learning isn’t only limited to something the child learns in school. It also doesn’t mean that learning can only be measured through numbers. Learning isn’t purely academic since academics alone isn’t all there is to succeed. Children have to be taught early on to love learning in order to get the most of what they are given in school. This will also lead them to the path of working hard and being open to more learning possibilities and areas.

Parents also should remind their children that there is a whole other world outside of academics that they can also enjoy. Many parents want to push their child to only get better grades without thinking of the repercussions of not letting the child experience and explore their passions. Academic excellence may be a significant part of reaching success in the future but that isn’t always the case without hard work, dedication, and motivation to reach their dreams and goals. So, even without the grades or the exam results, there are still ways to tell if the child is improving and enjoying the road to their success.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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