ATLANTA – For the third year in a row, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has granted Georgia permission to change how it tracks school performance in response to the pandemic. 

In the first two years of the pandemic, the federal agency allowed states a great deal of flexibility in how they measured school performance.  

This school year, Georgia again applied for and received permission for exceptions in how it reports the data, according to a letter from the DOE to State School Superintendent Richard Woods dated May 26.

Georgia will not assign overall scores or letter grades for schools and districts as it did before the pandemic.  

Those grades were calculated using a combination of factors such as content mastery, progress, readiness, and, for high schools, graduation rates.  

Collecting such data helps families evaluate school performance and hold schools accountable. The data for each school is published on the Georgia School Grades Report website.  

Georgia also uses this data to determine which schools need special attention and support.  

The state will still collect and publish data on how schools perform on individual indicators, such as reading, math, social studies, and science.   

“The purpose is to focus on the information in each indicator and to avoid consolidating complex information into an oversimplified numerical score,” according to a presentation on Georgia’s Department of Education website.  

Data on student attendance, college and career readiness, and closing achievement gaps between different groups of students also will not be reported. 

The state is revamping how it evaluates progress. Going forward, rather than evaluate school improvement based on a pre-pandemic baseline, Georgia will use 2022 data as a baseline.  

“Our goal is to establish a new baseline rather than compare your school’s performance to pre-pandemic norms,” the state Department of Education presentation says.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.