ATLANTA -- Parents now can see how their children are performing compared to students with similar academic histories.
The information in the Georgia Student Growth Model (GSGM) focuses on how students improved from year to year and in certain subjects compared to their peers.
The measure also is a key part of a new teacher evaluation system and part of calculating scores for schools and districts.
Until now, the state only publicly released test results that let parents see whether a district, school or grade level met state standards and how the results compared to previous years.
SEE HOW YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL RANKS: View the interactive growth tool here
We know what takes place in a classroom eventually translates into test scores to determine if a child has learned the material.
Now, with the GSGM we can also determine if a child is improving.
What's the difference?
Testing measures proficiency.
"Did you meet the minimum standard?" said Dr. Robert Avossa, Superintendent, Fulton County Schools. "And now what we're going to be able to show parents is did your kids actually grow a year's worth of growth in a year's time?"
The GSGM how a student improves as compared to other students in the school, in the district and in the state students for the 2012-2013 school year.
When looking at the numbers, the state targets typical growth as between the 35th and 66th percentiles.
Schools will also look for what's working and what's not.
Education leaders say tracking improvement is critically important in schools where students may traditionally perform low on tests.
"If we want to close achievement gaps, some kids need to grow a year and a half in a year's time or two years or two years because they're so far behind," said Supt. Avossa.