This simple yet dreaded question makes all tutors think twice before they say anything. To answer, you must have a detailed response, a simple “good” is not enough. Parents expect you to know exactly where their child is with the material and what the plan is moving forward. If your student has been performing well, you can say something like “I’ve been very pleased with [student’s name]’s progress. They have been doing *this* and *that* and getting x results on their exams”. However, if your student has been performing not so well, the question becomes a lot more tricky.
It is important to keep the parent well-informed of their child’s performance, even if it is bad, while keeping the overall outlook positive. The best way to do this is by sandwiching the negative information with positive information. Start by saying something positive about their child. Then, bring in your concern. Then, finish the discussion with another positive observation. An example of this would be:
“Blake has been demonstrating excellent proficiency with solving systems of linear equations recently, however, I noticed that he has a bit of trouble with graphing exponential functions. Though he is working diligently on his homework and I expect that he will learn exponential functions in no time.”
Here, we sandwiched the bad, Blake not being able to graph exponential functions, with two positives. Those being, his ability to solve systems of equations and him doing well on his homework. This keeps the parent smiling but still informs them of their child's struggles.