New state website grades schools A to F, based largely on tests

Parents who want to know how their school is performing can see a clearer picture at a new state of Georgia website.

The Governors Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) has created "Georgia School Reports" to help people understand the state Department of Education's complicated College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).

The index is created annually based on scores on standardized state tests and on other data, such as parent surveys. Students’ raw scores on the tests, known as the Milestones, inform a school’s “achievement” score. Each student’s performance over time relative to other students with similar score histories drives a school’s “growth” score.

The idea behind the two measures is that raw achievement is desired but schools should get credit for growing students who start at a lower level, perhaps because of poverty or some other liability. The education agency has been shifting the value of these two measures in the overall report card, with growth counting for more and more each year and achievement counting for less.

The Index can be complicated, and GOSA has broken it down with a simple scale that any parent can probably relate to: schools get a letter grade of “A” through “F” based on their CCRPI score. The site contains additional information for parents who want to drill down and read about student demographics or test performance in particular subjects, such as English and math. The site also allows comparisons between schools, districts and the state.

GOSA used these scores recently to create a list of the 187 best-performing schools in Georgia. The list was released Tuesday. See the results here.