Sex Roles

, Volume 65, Issue 9–10, pp 693–703

The Efficacy of Single-Sex Education: Testing for Selection and Peer Quality Effects

  • Amy Roberson Hayes
  • Erin E. Pahlke
  • Rebecca S. Bigler
Original Article

Abstract

To address selection and peer quality effects in tests of the efficacy of single-sex schools, the achievement of girls attending a public single-sex middle school in the Southwest United States (N = 121) was compared to that of (a) girls who applied but were not admitted to the same school (N = 229) and (b) girls who applied to and attended a coeducational magnet school (N = 134). Achievement scores were collected over 3 years for the ethnically diverse participants (41 African Americans, 27 Asian Americans, 163 European Americans, 251 Latinos, and two Native Americans). After controlling for selection and peer quality effects, there was no significant effect of the gender composition of schools on achievement. Implications for educational policy are discussed.

Keywords

Single-sex education Academic achievement Gender Peer quality Selection effects 

References

  1. Balkin, J. M. (2002). Is there a slippery slope from single-sex education to single-race education? The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 37, 126–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blakemore, J. E. O., Berenbaum, S. A., & Liben, L. S. (2009). Gender development. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bracey, G. W. (2006). Separate but superior? A review of issues and data bearing on single-sex education. Tempe: Educational Policy Research Unit (EPRU).Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, P. B., & Wahl, E. (1998). What’s sex got to do with it? Simplistic questions, complex answers. In S. Morse (Ed.), Separated by sex: A critical look at single-sex education for girls (pp. 63–74). Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  5. Elliot, L. (2009). Pink brain, blue brain: How small differences grow into troublesome gaps- and what we can do about it. New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  6. Gurian, M., Henley, P., & Trueman, T. (2001). Boys and girls learn differently!: A guide for teachers and parents. New York: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Haag, P. (1998). Single-sex education in grades K-12: What does the research tell us? In S. Morse (Ed.), Separated by sex: A critical look at single-sex education for girls (pp. 13–38). Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. The American Psychologist, 60, 581–592.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kurdek, L. A., & Sinclair, R. J. (2000). Psychological, family and peer predictors of academic outcomes in first- through fifth-grade children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 449–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lee, V. E. (1998). Is single-sex secondary schooling a solution to the problem of gender inequity? In S. Morse (Ed.), Separated by sex: A critical look at single-sex education for girls (pp. 41–53). Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. Lee, V. E., Marks, H. M., & Byrd, T. (1994). Sexism in single-sex and co-educational independent secondary school classrooms. Sociology of Education, 67, 92–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marsh, H. W. (1989). Effects of attending single-sex and coeducational high-schools on achievement, attitudes, behavior, and sex differences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 70–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Morse, S. (Ed.). (1998). Separated by sex: A critical look at single-sex education for girls. Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  14. Mael, F. (1998). Single-sex and coeducational schooling: Relationships to socioemotional and academic development. Review of Educational Research, 68, 101–129.Google Scholar
  15. Mael, F., Alonso, A., Gibson, D., Rogers, K., & Smith, M. (2005). Single-sex versus coeducational schooling: A systematic review. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Prepared for the U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  16. Myers, R. (1990). Classical and modern regression with applications (2nd ed.). Boston: Duxbury Press.Google Scholar
  17. National Association for Single-Sex Public Education (2009). Single-sex schools/schools with single-sex classrooms: What’s the difference? Retrieved from http://www.singlesexschools.org/schools-schools.htm.
  18. Riordan, C. (1998). The future of single-sex schools. In S. Morse (Ed.), Separated by sex: A critical look at single-sex education for girls (pp. 63–74). Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  19. Riordan, C. (2002). What do we know about the effects of single-sex schools in the private sector? Implications for public schools. In A. Datnow & L. Hubbard (Eds.), Gender in policy and practice: Perspectives on single-sex and coeducational schooling (pp. 10–30). New York: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  20. Rustad, N., & Woods, J. (2004). Statement on the legality of single-sex education. American Association of University Women: Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.aauw.org/advocacy/issue_advocacy/actionpages/upload/singlesex_comments.pdf.
  21. Sadker, M., & Sadker, D. (1994). Failing at fairness: How our schools cheat girls. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  22. Salomone, R. (2006). Single-sex programs: Resolving the research conundrum. Teachers College Record, 108, 778–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sax, L. (2005). Why gender matters. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  24. Shapka, J. D., & Keating, D. P. (2003). Effects of a girls-only curriculum during adolescence: Performance, persistence, and engagement in mathematics and science. American Educational Research Journal, 40, 929–960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Texas Education Agency (2010). Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) resources. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=948&menu_id=793.
  26. U.S. Department of Education (2003). Identifying and implementing educational practices supported by rigorous evidence: A user friendly guide. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/evidence_based/evidence_based.asp.
  27. United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Roberson Hayes
    • 1
  • Erin E. Pahlke
    • 2
  • Rebecca S. Bigler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations