The Efficacy of Single-Sex Education: Testing for Selection and Peer Quality Effects
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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.
KeywordsSingle-sex education Academic achievement Gender Peer quality Selection effects
This work is based, in part, on a master’s thesis completed by the first author under the supervision of the third author. The authors thank the members of the thesis committee, Judith Langlois and Cristine Legare, for their helpful comments and suggestions concerning the work. This research was supported by funds from the Debra Beth Lobliner Fellowship. A previous version of this paper was presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, March 2010, Philadelphia, PA.
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