Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The authors conducted a preliminary research study to understand the emotional and academic impact grades have on engineering undergraduate students. Grades in higher education have become a priority for students to secure internship opportunities, post-graduation employment, and graduate school acceptance. However, students’ desire to attain high grades in engineering disciplines may lead to negative effects such as additional anxiety and increased mental exertion, physical exhaustion, and overall lack of work-life balance. A survey was conducted with a cohort of 45 students to understand their perspective on grades before, during, and at the end of the semester, and their responses to obtaining low grades and exam scores in an engineering class. Preliminary results reveal that 60% of the student population expressed anxiety about their grades before the semester began, 64% check their grades at least twice a week via online sources, 96% expressed concern if their grades are not what they expect by mid-semester, 88% mentioned that they memorize material just to pass an assignment. Moreover, other students expressed frustration, disappointment, and high anxiety when they do not attain the grades they want. These findings are imperative and require significant attention since they may affect student learning, retention of fundamental engineering principles, persistence in engineering programs, and overall student well-being.


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: © 2020 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.

Publication Title

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.