• 23 February 2019
How to communicate student progress effectively to parents

How to communicate student progress effectively to parents

Dec 18, 2018

An effective relationship with your student’s parents is just as essential as the relationship between tutor and student. A tutor needs to communicate clearly and informatively to parents about their student’s progress.

Tutors need to know how to communicate effectively with parents. This extends throughout the entire relationship between tutor and parent, and especially when it comes to communicating student progress.

Clearly Set Your Student’s Baseline

Manage expectations early. This goes for parents, as well as students, and requires giving parents an idea of your students’ academic “baseline” – where are they starting in terms of learning level and comprehension?

Communicating clearly about your students’ baseline allows parents to understand where the tutoring process is starting from, and what tutors want to accomplish.

Communication is a two-way channel, and tutors need a strong and open line to parents to receive regular updates on how the student is performing at school and outside the tutoring session. This enables tutors to assess and track how that baseline is moving.

Show How Work at Home Impacts Progress

Learning doesn’t end at the school doors, or when the tutoring session is over. A stronger performing student needs to maintain an active learning environment at home.

By providing students with assigned reading or activities outside the tutoring session, tutors can demonstrate how continuous learning improves student performance in the classroom.

Talk regularly through assignments with parents; share with them any key takeaways from how students performed, any marked improvements, any areas for further improvement.

Be Honest About Student Performance

There’s no substitute for absolute honesty between tutors and parents.

Tutors need to communicate openly and accurately about how students are performing during the tutoring sessions, and how well they will likely reach a desired mark or outcome.

The danger is that if a student is underperforming, parents may develop outsized, unrealized expectations if the tutor is shielding key information from them. Tutors can’t simply say what clients want to hear.

If a student is struggling, sit down with their parents to approach the situation holistically. Where and how can tutoring help? What can parents do? Are there factors in or out of the home that may be impacting students’ performance? Improvement can take more time and effort than anyone had anticipated, and that’s part of the learning process.

Remember Students’ Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Educators are increasingly recognizing the centrality of students’ social and emotional wellbeing to strong academic performance. Current evidence shows that the more engaged students are socially and emotionally in the learning process, the greater their prospects of academic and career success further down the track.

Tutors should track and assess how students are feeling about their subject material, using the social and emotional learning rubric, and communicate this information to parents.

Maintain Your Student’s Confidence

Tutors can develop a close bond with their students. Thanks to the personalized study atmosphere, students may confide in tutors things that they find stressful that they don’t share with teachers or parents.

Tutors need to navigate communicating any insights for parents while maintaining students’ trust and confidence. Judge what parents need to know, and keep the rest between you and the student.


Parents play a central role in their children’s education. They reinforce the learning process beyond the classroom and tutoring session, and like tutors, they need to know how to track and understand their student’s learning. Effective communication is therefore key – and it starts with an open, honest, and continuing dialogue between tutors and parents.