Have you seen those roadsigns indicating hills? "1 in 10" "Use low gear" would be pretty steep. 1 in 10 means the road rises (or falls) 1 metre for every 10 metres along.
In a graph (which I presume is the basis for your question) the steepness or "gradient" is worked out in the same way. The gradient of the line is worked out between two points on the line, which you can choose. Find out the difference in the y- value between the points and the difference in the x-value. The gradient is y-diff/x-diff. If the line rises going left to right the gradient is positive. If the line goes down from left to right then the gradient is negative.
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