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Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Achievement? A Study in a Coeducational University

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  • Alison L. Booth

    ()

  • Lina Cardona-Sosa

    ()

  • Patrick Nolen

    ()

Abstract

We examine the effect of single-sex classes on the pass rates, grades, and course choices of students in a coeducational university. We randomly assign students to all-female, all-male, and coed classes and, therefore, get around the selection issues present in other studies on single-sex education. We find that one hour a week of single-sex education benefits females: females are 7.5% more likely to pass their first year courses and score 10% higher in their required second year classes than their peers attending coeducational classes. We find no effect of single-sex education on the subsequent probability that a female will take technical classes and there is no effect of single-sex education for males. Furthermore we are able to examine potential mechanisms and indirect effects of single-sex education. We find that the effects of single-sex education do not appear to be driven by a tracking mechanism and that there are indirect effects on class attendance and completion of optional assignments for females. However, the indirect effects cannot explain much of the effect of single-sex education for females.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Banco de la Republica de Colombia in its series Borradores de Economia with number 787.

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Length: 23
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:787

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Keywords: Gender; single-sex groups; cognitive ability. Classification JEL:C9; C91; C92; J16; J16; J24;

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  1. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2008. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," NBER Working Papers 14081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  3. Doris, Aedin & O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2012. "Gender, Single-Sex Schooling and Maths Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 6917, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Gerald Eisenkopf & Zohal Hessami & Urs Fischbacher & Heinrich Ursprung, 2011. "Academic Performance and Single-Sex Schooling: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Switzerland," TWI Research Paper Series 69, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  5. Booth, Alison L. & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jackson, C. Kirabo, 2012. "Single-sex schools, student achievement, and course selection: Evidence from rule-based student assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 173-187.
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