Most people know that academic performance generally refers to how well a student is accomplishing his or her tasks and studies, but there are quite a number of factors that determine the level and quality of students' academic performance.
Certainly the most well-known indicator of academic performance, grades are the student's "score" for their classes and overall tenure. Grades are most often a tallying or average of assignment and test scores and may often be affected by factors such as attendance and instructor opinion of the student as well. Grading systems vary greatly by country and school; common scales include a percentage from 1-100, lettering systems from A-F, and grade point averages (GPA) from 0-4.0 or above.
It would be difficult to perform well in class if the student doesn't attend. In public grade schools, attendance is compulsory and numerous unexcused absences may lead to notifying the students' parents, barring of make-up work for missed assignments and tests, or direct affects on grades. In extreme instances, parents have even been taken to court and given jail time for their truant students!
Standardised tests are those that provide a consistent measure of a student's performance with those that take the same test, often nationwide. Standardised tests include the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, and the California Achievement Test (CAT). As the testing procedures and scoring are consistent regardless where the test is taken, standardised tests can provide a more direct representation of the taker's knowledge and aptitude than his or her grade in school.
Although by definition voluntary, involvement in extra-curricular activities such as sports, volunteer work, and school newspapers develop and showcase student initiative and leadership skills, as well as provide insight into the student's interests and priorities. Extra-curricular activities therefore can make a student more attractive to colleges and employers.
Yet another measure of academic performance is the assessment of the student's behaviour while in school. Grade schools often have strict guidelines for student behaviour, and violations such as academic dishonesty (cheating and plagiarism) and class disruptions can lead to disciplinary action. The Delran School District in New Jersey, for example, cites several different types of detention and suspension for student misconduct in its 2009 guidelines.