The most widely accepted and most-often used forms of assessing a student's progress are the student's grades. Grades provide educators with a common language with which to evaluate students’ learning and progress. With the proliferation of standardized forms of assessment, states began to set minimum thresholds for students to reach by the end of each year. Point-in-time measures like grades are effective at measuring mastery of content for a particular subject and grade level within a school year, though (for a variety of reasons) may be less effective measures of growth made over time.
Despite being a summative and point-in-time measure, grades have a profound impact on a student's educational career, especially in secondary school. A high grade point average is of great value in applying for colleges, and low or failing grades can limit a child's opportunities for higher education — or even prevent the child from graduating at all. Further, grades can be used at all levels of the educational system to inform educators about strengths and weaknesses within the system.
For these reasons, educators should monitor grades closely.
The following metrics are documented in this section: