How to Use a Student Tracking Template (Plus a Better Option)

August 26, 2022
min read
Lizzie Davis, Growth Marketer, Stacker

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It’s common to use an Excel sheet template to track your students’ data and progress. You can find free ones online to download. And yes, these templates are useful. They let you organize information like student names, grades, and academic achievements — helping you keep your data standardized and consistent. 

But there are two big limitations of using an Excel student tracking template: 

  1. You can’t easily share specific information with external users or add users to your Excel sheet while respecting everyone’s privacy. When you share a sheet with someone, they can see all the data in your sheet. 
  1. It can be a pain to modify the template for your specific use case. If you’re a college-level administrator, you will need something different than if you’re a high school Economics teacher or if you’re running a tutoring company and need to manage students and their tutors.

In this post, we take a closer look at these limitations by walking you through an actual Excel student tracking template we downloaded and tried ourselves. 

Then, we show you how to solve those problems by creating a student tracking template with Stacker, the tool that easily lets you create a portal that can be accessed by students, administrators, fellow faculty, or anyone else you want to include via a secure login. No design or coding necessary.  

With Stacker, you can organize information like you would in a spreadsheet, but with granular control over who sees what data. Plus, you can more easily customize your student tracking template to match your use case.

Want to start creating a student tracking portal right away? Sign up for Stacker’s free 30-day trial. 

How to Set Up an Excel Student Tracking Template 

Here, we look at how to use a Microsoft Excel student tracking template we found online.

An example of a student tracking template in Excel

The sheet template is detailed and has useful sections like student names, GPAs, and a spot for grades for each term. 

You can add any other extra section you want and customize it to suit your needs. It’s pretty simple to edit info in any cell you want; for example, we’ve added a few student names here for context. There are also some pre-made formulas to calculate grades that you can use or change according to your grading system.

An example of a student tracking template in Excel, showing different grades

But here are some limitations you face if you use the Excel template daily to keep track of students’ data:

  • You can’t easily share it with just one person. For example, let’s say Andy wants to know his Achieved GPA in the mid-term and final term. To provide him with this information, you’d have to copy and paste Andy’s row and send it to him via email or tell it to him face-to-face. This is fine when it only has to be done a few times, but as a professor, admin, or teacher, you have multiple students and parents to respond to. As the number of students grows, the whole process becomes chaotic and time-consuming.
  • The layout may not be right for you. For example, one of our customers is the tutoring company Absolute Mathematic. They wanted a way to manage not just their students’ data, but also notes from each tutor. They wanted to do that all out of one platform, while respecting everyone’s right to privacy. You can’t do that with an Excel template. 

So if you’re simply recording student grades or attendance, then a free Excel template might be okay for you. But if you want an easy way to share the data within your template, then you’ll want to move out of Excel. 

Below, we look at how you can avoid these issues by creating a student tracking portal with Stacker. With Stacker, you can put all your info into one dashboard, and share only what is relevant to each user. For example, you can give each student a specific login that only lets them see their grades. 

How Stacker Helps You Create a Student Tracking Portal

Stacker lets you create custom student trackers without writing a single line of code, so you can:

  • Put all student data in one place. 
  • Create a visually appealing interface that’s easy to navigate to quickly find any information you want.
  • Set custom and specific permissions to decide which user can access and edit which data.
  • Share specific info with internal and external users (like other teachers, parents, students, advisors, etc.) via secure sign-ins. 

Let’s look at how Stacker builds-in all of the above features. Then we’ll share two case studies from clients who used Stacker to create their own student tracking portal.

Connect Excel, Google Sheets, and Airtable Data with Stacker

A student portal created with Stacker will consist of two parts: a database and a user interface. 

When you sign up for a Stacker account, you will be prompted to connect any existing databases. 

This is where you currently house your student data — this could be Google Sheets, or Airtable. These tools work as the back end and the portal that you create with Stacker will be the front end (the user interface). 

If you store student data in Microsoft Excel, you can convert it to a CSV format and upload it in Stacker. If you store student info in Airtable base or Google Sheets, Stacker syncs that data for you and creates a workable app based on the structure of your data. Stacker also syncs any pre-built formulas or linked records you may have added to your databases. 

Plus, any info you change within these tools (in the case of Airtable and Google Sheets) automatically gets synced to Stacker and vice versa. For example, if you change the school year in Airtable, it’ll automatically be reflected in your portal.

Alternatively, if you don’t have an existing database, or don’t want to use your current one, you can start fresh and make Stacker the central source of all data. This means you can completely avoid using external sources like Excel and Google Sheets.

How to use Stacker to create a student tracking template

We offer data connections with over 60 different tools, so universities using external tools like Asana or Dropbox can import data to Stacker from those sources, too.

After you’ve brought in your data, you can further design the layout the way you want and decide who can edit and access which information — both of which we will cover in the upcoming sections. 

Set Permissions to Select What Information You Want to Display to Your End-Users

With Stacker, you can set highly specific and granular permissions so users don’t have to interact with unnecessary information. You can set custom permissions and limit who can access the portal (e.g., only students or only professors). 

Further, you can also control their actions — you can allow a few users to just edit info and some users to just access it. Then, you can limit actions for every page, record, and field. 

How to add external users to your student tracking template with Stacker

For example, say you have sections like names, email, courses opted for, class attendance, lesson plan, and student progress report in your portal. 

You can let teachers view and edit all these records, but you can limit an advisor’s actions to just being able to view the names, courses, and progress reports of the students. All other records will automatically be absent on the advisor’s interface.  

That way, you don’t have to go through the difficult process of hiding rows or columns when you have to share something.

‍You can view a detailed video guide on Stacker’s permission systems here. 

Create an Easy-to-Use Layout 

Handling student data in an Excel student tracking template can be a tedious task. The layout is static — there are just rows and columns. Once your data begins to add up, it compromises the usability of the template. 

Constantly adding and removing info from spreadsheets can be a hassle, plus, you have to make sure to keep proper formulas in place. Stacker helps you solve these problems with our portal layouts that you can customize and design to suit your workflow. 

There are two ways to create student tracker layouts in Stacker: 

  1. Select a template from our pre-built collection to use as a starting point. 
  2. Build a layout from scratch. 
Start building your student tracking template by picking a Stacker template

For example, you can select our ready-made customer portal template to create a student portal or click “Other” to skip our tracker templates and start with a blank slate. 

Whatever option you choose, our drag-and-drop layout builder saves you the headache of pixel sizing, font sizing, and even development. In addition, our layouts are completely customizable, so you can add: 

  • Relevant rows, columns, and tables that you want to display on your dashboard.
  • Widgets, nested views, embeds (like tutorials or instructional videos), custom fields, images, and filters to make the information easy to consume.
  • Action buttons to quickly make common changes. For example, if you want to collect specific docs from your students, you can add a button called “Attach Student ID”.  
  • Dashboards to see a high-level view of student information — so if a teacher wants to see how many high-school students fall in different categories of grades (A+, A-, B+, etc.), they can do so with charts and dashboards.
With Stacker you can add card, rows, boards, tables, records, and inboxes to your student tracker

With Stacker, you can also create student-facing portals, so if students want to know something, they don’t have to email you. Instead, students can log in and view information that matters to them, like courses they have opted for and the due date of various assignments.

An example of student tracking template plus a login portal

Examples of Real Customers Using Stacker: Absolute Mathematics & University of Central Arkansas 

Stacker’s no-code app builder allows you to create a visually appealing student tracking system with permission settings
so that teachers and students can access information that’s meant for them, and nothing else. You can create professional-looking student tracking platforms without worrying about coding, designing, or developing. 

Here are two use cases of clients who use Stacker to power their student portals:

Absolute Mathematics

Absolute Mathematics is a math tutoring company that was using Airtable to manage their contractors’ data. But they ran into an issue with Airtable: They couldn’t share specific data with certain contractors without sharing their entire business database.

With Stacker, Absolute Mathematics created personalized access to their portal. 

Now, tutors can:

  • View information about students they interact with.
  • Update new tutoring sessions they complete.
  • Edit information of completed sessions.
How Absolute Mathematics uses Stacker to create student and tutor tracking portals

University of Central Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas was using Airtable to track and manage student data but they wanted a better way to communicate with their students. They wanted to create a place where students could log in and view the status of their applications, read personalized info on their licensure journey, and edit contact info. 

So they created a student portal with Stacker. Their student portal allows students to:

  • Be invited as users to the app.
  • View their application status. 
  • Update their contact information any time. 
How universities can use Stacker to create portals for educators and students

Student tracking templates built in Excel don’t offer customizable layouts, make sharing of information complicated, and limit control over how users interact with your data. To resolve this, Stacker lets you easily create custom student tracking portals where users can login and access data that’s relevant to them. 

Try out our features by signing up for a free 30-day trial of Stacker.

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