He Tests... He Scores!

In a few days, I'll be entering final grades for this semester. I hate it. I try to be firm - you get what you get – but in reality I’ll end up browsing the final scores of each class, noting especially which students ended up a few points away from a different letter grade one way or the other.

What exactly am I attempting to measure here? Is it how much they've done? How far they've come? How well they've met state curriculum expectations? What they can DO decently in terms of social studies skills? Effort? Cooperation? Whether or not they're a huge pain in the @**? What am I measuring each time I give one of these 'grades'?