Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul Brinson

Committee Member 1

Martin Waters

Committee Member 2

Bryan Griffin

Abstract

The research on single-sex classrooms, especially in high schools, is at best, sparse. Settings and findings vary so dramatically from one area to another that correlating studies is difficult. However, with the advent of No Child Left Behind (2001), schools have been given the opportunity to explore new and creative ways to increase student achievement. Single-sex classrooms are one of the ways schools across the country are attempting to meet the criteria of NCLB. Some single-sex studies have shown that female students improve test scores in areas that are generally thought of as male-dominated areas, such as math and science; that females feel safer in participating in classes with males absent and opportunities to participate are increased; differences in learning styles can be used to an advantage in single-sex classes; and distractions in the classroom caused by the opposite sex are diminished. This research was conducted in a high school in South Georgia where the biology End-of-Course Tests (EOCTs) for single-sex and coeducational classes were examined. Student questionnaires were also given to the students in these classes. The questionnaires had questions divided into five scales: emotional security, self-efficacy, peer help, participation, and interest in biology. The two teachers who taught the biology classes and the administrator in charge of the classes were interviewed at the conclusion 2 of the semester studied. Each set of data was analyzed for any significant differences between sex, setting, and sex by setting interaction for each scale as well as the EOCTs. This researcher found that in this study there were no differences between the EOCT scores for sex, setting, or sex by setting interaction. However, there were differences found within certain scales in the questionnaire, some favoring coeducational classes and some favoring single-sex classes. The teacher and administrator interviews showed a tendency to favor single-sex classes inasmuch that the teachers believe they affect student achievement by building stronger relationships in single-sex classes, as well as relieving distractions help those who need it the most. The analysis of these tendencies may provide other administrators strategies they could use in implementing single-sex education in their own schools.

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