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Performance Comparison Of U.S. And Thai Engineering Students Under Similar Learning Conditions

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

International Engineering Education I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.985.1 - 9.985.10



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Paper Authors

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Pichai Rusmee

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

Session 1660

Performance Comparison of US and Thai Engineering Students under Similar Learning Conditions P. Rusmee Sirindhorn Institute of Technology, Thailand.

Abstract Comparative study of two groups of engineering students, one from the United States and one from Thailand, was conducted. Their performance and their behavior were compared to show the differences or similarities that may not be obvious when only a few students from one group is placed with the other group, i.e., foreign students in a US classroom situation. The US sample group was from solid mechanics classes taught at the University of Utah, USA from 1994 to 1997. The Thailand group was from the solid mechanics classes taught at Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT), Thailand from 2001 to 2004. Both groups were subjected to similar teaching and learning conditions. It was found that the Utah group performed better than the SIIT group in all grading categories, i.e., assignment, exam, and project. The differences can be attribute to the age, level of expectation, and cultural conditioning. Understanding the root causes of the differences in performance of the two groups can help US-base engineering educators deal with “foreign” students more effectively.

Introduction Instructors in a US engineering school will invariably have non-American students in their classes at some point. Certain behaviors and standard of conducts exhibited by these non- American students may seem strange to some. At times, they may even do something that is clearly not acceptable by US standard of conduct. The number of students in this category is usually too small to warrant further examination as to the root cause of the behavior. They are simply an anomaly and are dealt with as such, on a case-by-case basis. Seeing how these students perform and behave in their “native” environment can yield a great insight into reasons behind many of the observed behaviors. This way, the root cause of what perceived to be a problem can be dealt with effectively.

This study is a report on observations of two groups of students, one at the University of Utah, USA and the other at Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT), Thailand. Specifically, they were students taking a second year, mechanical engineering course in solid mechanics. As many variables such as textbook, instructor (the author), teaching method, etc., were kept as close to being the same as possible. The data from the Utah group were complied from classes taught between 1994 and 1997. The SIIT group included the data from classes taught starting in 2001 up to 2004.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Rusmee, P. (2004, June), Performance Comparison Of U.S. And Thai Engineering Students Under Similar Learning Conditions Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13132

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