Asee peer logo

A Comparative Study Of Grade Inflation And Academic Standards For Various Departments At Salt Lake Community College

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.15.1 - 6.15.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Don Merrill

author page

Nick Safai

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

I. Background Information

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) is a large metropolitan community college, surrounded by rural communities, with an overall budget of nearly $70,000,000 per year. SLCC consists of four campuses, and five teaching centers, for a total of nine locations within the Salt Lake City, Utah area. There are approximately 12,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, and 25,000 actual student head count. This number includes approximately 3,200 skill center students. Students attending SLCC take credit courses as well as non-credit courses. Students complete Associate of Engineering Degrees, Associate of Science Degrees, Associate of Applied Science Degrees, diplomas, and certificates in a variety of specialty areas. The majority of our students complete transfer programs and continue their educational studies at four year colleges and universities, while some complete their education at SLCC and go directly into their chosen profession.

The Engineering Departments at SLCC enjoy one of the best articulation agreements with the outstanding universities within the State. Students beginning their engineering education at SLCC can transfer with no loss of credit, to complete their education. All SLCC departments, including those in this study, enjoy articulation agreements, with four-year colleges and universities within the State of Utah.

II. Introduction

For the past several years, there has been concern throughout the State of Utah, regarding grade inflation within the educational community. These concerns involve both the number of high grades given and the relatively few grades given to students who will not pass. Some controversy exists between rigorous academic programs and social science programs. To analyze this problem, we decided to investigate the grades given in four areas at SLCC. These four areas include Computer Science, Engineering, Family and Human Studies, and Mathematics Departments. We specifically selected these areas to compare differences, if they exist. To verify any changes that occurred chronologically, we elected to study these groups during fall semester in 1993, 1996, and 1999. Fall Semester was selected because it has the largest enrollment and the largest variety of courses.

III. Procedure

Grades from every class, including multiple sections, taught in these four departments, i.e. Computer Science, Engineering, Family and Human Studies, and Mathematics, were examined for 1993, 1996, and 1999 fall semesters. The grade point averages (GPA s) were calculated for each department. The number of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, and C grades were tabulated for each class, and summarized for each department. Percentages of increase/decrease were calculated and evaluated. Charts and tables were constructed to aid in the analyses of this data. This data was analyzed to verify whether or not grade inflation exists, and if there is a differential in grade inflation between the four departments. This data was also used to determine and compare academic standards between these departments.


Merrill, D., & Safai, N. (2001, June), A Comparative Study Of Grade Inflation And Academic Standards For Various Departments At Salt Lake Community College Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9014

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015