A grade point average, or GPA, is a numerical assessment of how well a student has performed in his or her classes. Most schools use a 4-point or 5-point scale, with scores calculated on a semester or quarterly basis, and then on a cumulative or ongoing basis.
A student's high school GPA is critical when applying for college. Colleges and universities consider the GPA a student earned while in high school, comparing this performance against all other applicants. The higher a student's GPA, the more likely a college will accept him or her. Schools also use GPAs to rank students in the same grade or class and to determine eligibility for enrollment in advanced placement or honors classes.