Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Education

First Advisor

Kenneth Stevenson

Abstract

On the heels of the recent legislative authorization, over 500 schools across the country have implemented single gender initiatives; nearly one-half of those schools are scattered throughout the state of South Carolina (US Department of Education, 2009). School leaders are pursuing single gender learning environments as a possible solution to closing student achievement and gender gaps that have emerged where minority students lag behind their White counterparts and boys are falling behind girls academically. Some educational theorists assert that single gender education is an effective instructional strategy for increasing student achievement and improving discipline and attendance. This study investigates the impact of single gender education in terms of student performance as measured by academic achievement, school attendance, and student conduct. Secondly, this study investigates changes in perceptions of school environment pre and post single gender implementation. Fifteen South Carolina middle schools with grade six through eight provided the population for this study. Each school used in this study implemented single gender education in math and English language arts for the 2007-2008 school year. The Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test was used to evaluate improvements in academic achievement pre and post single gender implementation. Student attendance, student discipline, and teacher, student, and parent perceptions were compared pre and post single gender implementation using data from the Annual South Carolina Report Card. The paired-samples t test was the statistical analyses used to measure improvement across all groups. The findings of this study were mixed as evidenced by the fact that in the area of academic achievement the percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced improved during the year of single gender implementation in almost every area of investigation. However statistical analysis of these percentage gains was found to be statistically insignificant. The areas of student discipline, student attendance, and perceptions of teachers, students, and parents, data analysis showed no significant differences pre and post single gender education. Though this researcher's findings tended to favor single gender education, no statistically significant changes were made after one year of implementation. Single gender education is an innovative reform that still needs refinement and research. The efficacy of this initiative may be more accurately investigated over a period of time that extends beyond one year of time.

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