How are students performing in reading and math? How do those proficiency rates compare to other schools in the state? How much is the district spending per student compared to districts with similar demographics? How about compared to the state average? And how does the class size of schools in the area stack up against those of other schools around the state?
These are all-important questions because their answers can help identify local educational challenges and produce praise for students and teachers when outstanding results are uncovered.
The good news is that a lot of school data is readily available online. Parents can turn to the state department of education Web site, for example, to find proficiency rates on standardized tests. Those interested in even more robust data and the ability to compare a school or school district's performance with other schools or compare performance over time can turn to the independent SchoolMatters.com.