Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Edward Cox


There are three purposes of this mixed methods phenomenological case study. First, the researcher attempted to determine if there is evidence that teachers in single-sex classes adjust the delivery of the academic content when compared to coeducational classes. Secondly, while trying to understand the phenomenon of learning in a single-sex classroom, the researcher tried to determine which specific instructional strategies are considered most beneficial by male and female students. The researcher also looked for evidence of differences in achievement between students in single-sex and coeducational environments. Data collection occurred primarily through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and classroom observation over the course of eight weeks. The general perceptions fifth grade males and females have of learning in the single-sex environment were analyzed through descriptive statistics while qualitative methods were used to garner which gender-specific strategies are being used and the perceived benefit the students have of these strategies.

The first and second guiding questions regarding the use of gender-specific instructional strategies were primarily addressed through qualitative and quantitative methods. The researcher observed a single-sex males' class, a single-sex females' class, and two coeducational classes each in two South Carolina elementary schools for the presence and/or absence of gender-specific strategies. The third guiding question regarding student perceptions of the single-sex classroom experiences was addressed through survey, interviews, and focus groups. A survey was administered to 38 males and 44 females enrolled in single-sex classes to find their perceptions on the benefit of gender-specific strategies on their learning. Qualitatively, eight male students and eight female students were selected to participate in in-depth interviews and focus groups that resulted in the phenomenological case study. Criterion sampling was used in selecting the students to participate in order to obtain an understanding of student perceptions within the single-sex environment. The method of research allowed the researcher to understand which instructional strategies are perceived as beneficial to learning in the single-sex classroom.

The fourth guiding question regarding student achievement was addressed through quantitative methods. Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data in reading and math was used to compare achievement of the students in single-sex classes with the achievement of the students in coeducational classes in the two schools. Specifically, the researcher looked for the percentage of students meeting their academic growth targets.


© 2014, Millicent Whitener Dickey