Each of these tracking systems can be effective for tracking student progress. Keep in mind that whichever system you choose or develop should include the following:
- Provision of deadlines or milestones through to program completion, to provide guidance to students regarding the time expected to complete each phase of their program
- Involvement of both student and supervisor in progress tracking such that both feel ownership and responsibility towards this, and to facilitate their communication on this matter
- Timely identification of problems at any stage of the graduate program such that problems are dealt with before there is a serious lapse in progress
- Inquiry about plans and goals for the coming year, to facilitate project planning through development of milestones and deadlines for the thesis/project
Finally, although not usually part of these progress reports, additional questions probing students' readiness for the next phase of their career (e.g. publications, presentations, teaching experience, professional development skill training etc.) can be useful in prompting students to invest in developing these skills before they leave graduate school.