Georgia parents with access to a computer are getting their best look ever at how their local schools stack up against those across the state and the nation.

Beginning Dec. 1, the Office of Education Accountability (OEA; posted a new report card to the internet that also allows parents to see how groups of students in a particular school or system have progressed—or not—over the past two years.

The OEA is the data management arm of Gov. Roy Barnes’ education reform effort. The data it is collecting eventually will be used to reward schools that are performing well and to determine when low-performing schools need state intervention.

Several states—including Colorado, California, Illinois, and New Hampshire—already post school and test score data online.

The latest Georgia data are based on test results for the 2000-2001 school year, the overall results of which previously have been released.

What’s new on the web site is that the data are broken down by gender and ethnic group so parents and educators can determine how subgroups are performing.

Overall, this year’s report card showed students performed better in every category.

Eighty-two percent of eighth-graders taking the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests met or exceeded reading standards this year—about 7 percentage points higher than last year.

In math, 58 percent of eighth-grade students met or exceeded standards, up 11 percentage points from last year, and in language arts 58 percent of students met or exceeded standards, up 11 percentage points.

Fourth-graders increased in reading by 9 percentage points, language arts by 3 percentage points, and in math by 1 percentage point. Sixth-graders increased in reading by 6 percentage points to 77 percent meeting or exceeding state standards and by 3 percent points in language arts and math.