I recommend the book Driven by Data, by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo for those interested in improving how schools measure their progress. The basic idea is that schools need to create common cumulative assessments that crystallize learning objectives and guide lesson planning. These need to be given at 6-8 week intervals and the data should be analyzed within 48 hours so that teachers can respond in a timely manner.
So how does this compare to what schools currently do? Obviously it depends on the school, but it is a lot different than what I have been doing at my current school. First, we don't have common assessments. Occasionally there is talk about coordinating exams, but it usually doesn't come to much. Second, the exams aren't cumulative. At least the ones I write, and what I have seen from other teachers, simply cover the material we learned in the preceding unit. Third, we don't really analyze the results in a systematic way so we can reteach those critical items that are missed.
In other words, my experience has been nothing like what the author advocates.