The acronym GPA stands for grade point average, and is the average of the student's grades across the whole term's subjects. Therefore, even if a student excels in Science, if they do poorly in English then their overall GPA down dramatically. A cumulative GPA refers to the average of all subjects across all terms up to a given point. The GPA system is employed in educational establishments across the US and Canada.
A high GPA is very important for a student to attain; as it opens more doors in the future. If they are still at school then achieving a high GPA score allows them to pick from the best colleges and universities; higher education institutions use GPA scores as a means of assessing and comparing applicants.
For students who are already in college or university, it also still crucial to maintain a high GPA if they want to be considered for highly sought after jobs. Many leading companies will only hire candidates with a strong GPA, and will not even invite candidates for interviews if they lack this credential.