Reporting on Educational Accountability
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Reporting on Educational Accountability

​Customer: Georgia Office of Education Accountability (OEA)
Industry: Education - K12

Challenges:

  • Efficient way to publicize school performance to parents, teachers, school administrators and other Georgia citizens

  • Incorporate data from many disparate data sources

  • Provide very quick access to the information from a very large database containing more than 1.2 million records and 37,000 different graphical images

Keys to Success:

  • Created a robust database design that supports the dual goals of fast data access and the flexibility to expand as new data is added
    Automated the method of creating printable versions of all the report cards from the underlying data.

Description:

To stimulate and reward academic achievement, Georgia state law requires that the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) make available to any resident of the state an academic "report card" for every K-12 school and school system in Georgia. To comply with this legal mandate, the OEA needed a Web-based system that would access the more than 1.2 million records and 37,000 different graphical images containing the needed demographic information, standardized test results and year-to-year results comparisons. Ease of use was critical because parents, teachers, school citizens and Georgia residents with varying levels of computer literacy would be accessing the on-line report cards from a wide variety of Internet connections and configurations.

B2B Technologies worked with Wrightidea Services to turn a technical concept into a turbo-charged reality. A robust database now satisfies the OEA's two main goals: fast data access, and the flexibility to accommodate each year's new data and new test results. Using the database as the site's driver enables all the graphical representations to be dynamically created and displayed. The powerful caching capabilities of SQL Server reuses graphical representations that have not changed since their last use, minimizing the time it takes to generate a display. To further speed results to site visitors, B2B Technologies automated the process of creating printable report cards, which allows site visitors to easily print the report cards directly from the site.

A year later, the site expanded as it took on another year's worth of data and test results, as well as data on educational programs outside the original K-12 category. The augmented system included reports from The Office of School Readiness, The Department of Technical and Adult Education, The University System of Georgia and The Professional Standards Commission. When the site grew substantially to accommodate data and test results from additional years as well as reports from educational facilities outside the original K-12 parameter, the database was extended - an easy process because of the way it was constructed. During the extension process, new functionality was added without changing the underlying technical architecture. Through the OEA's site, http://reportcard.gaosa.org, every citizen in Georgia can easily review comprehensive data about every school and school system in the state.

B2B Technologies' innovative approach to this project not only had the site up and running quickly, it is minimizing the site's ongoing development and maintenance costs. For example:

  • Dynamically driving visual information displays from the database eliminates the need to redesign or reprogram the system when new data is added, saving ongoing maintenance costs.

  • Extensive use of caching capabilities enables the system to quickly display extensive information graphically with minimal hardware, thus minimizing the initial and ongoing hosting costs.

  • Automating the process of creating and printing the school- and school system-specific report cards keeps costs to a minimum despite the fact that the system has to expand each year to handle new data and reports.

Despite the fact that the system grew substantially in one year, its flexible database design was able to handle the growth with few changes to the underlying data structure, minimizing the costs in year two. Using the enhanced and streamlined object models will lower costs in years three and beyond.

Benefits:

  • Every citizen in Georgia has quick and easy access through the Web to comprehensive information about every school and school system in the state.

  • By making the visual display of information dynamically driven from the database, the pages never need to be redesigned or reprogrammed when underlying data is added or changed. This minimizes on-going development and maintenance costs.

  • By making extensive use of caching, the system can quickly display a lot of graphical information, even at peak load times, with a minimal hardware configuration. This saved on the initial and ongoing hosting costs.

  • By automating the creation of printable versions of the report card, these were generated with little effort or cost once the Web site was complete and the data up-to-date. The investment in a well designed database up front resulted in few changes to the underlying data structure when the site was updated in the second year. This helped minimize year-two costs even as the site grew substantially.

  • The enhanced and streamlined object model refined for year two will result in lower costs for year three and beyond.

“B2B Technologies’ hard work is really paying off, the comments are positive; they did a wonderful job! They provided us with a very polished-looking Web-based report card in a short amount of time.”

-Melodee Davis, Assistant Director OEA