Does Gender Composition of the Classroom Matter? A Comparison of Students' Academic and Social Outcomes in Single-Gender and Coed High School Classrooms
University of Denver
How gender composition affects students' academic and socio-emotional outcomes?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
University of Denver
- Students were generally neutral about whether single-gender classes are a good idea, with no difference in favorability based on gender.
- The most important distinction in student attitudes seems to be whether or not students had actual experience with single-gender classes. Findings consistently revealed that those with single-gender experience were more favorable toward single-gender classes than were their peers.
- The majority of the respondents on any given domain were neutral (and not favoring single-gender or coed), indicating that most students did not think that gender composition of the classroom was important for their academic and social outcomes.
- While parents' global rating of single-gender classes was favorable, there was a gender difference similar to student's in that mothers were significantly more favorable toward single-gender classes than fathers.
- Students perceived other students to be relatively neutral about whether single-gender classes are a good idea.
- Overall, student's academic self-concept was not found to differ by subject based on gender or classroom composition, nor was the interaction.
- While no differences in math or English intrinsic motivation were found based on classroom composition or its interaction with gender, boys had significantly higher intrinsic motivation for English than did girls, and there was a trend in which boys had higher intrinsic motivation for math than did girls.
- Student's extrinsic motivation for math and English did not differ significantly on gender or classroom composition, nor was there an interaction.
- Findings reveal that boys and girls had similar levels of social self-concept and students in coed and single gender math classes did not differ form each other in reported social self-concept.
- Gender composition of the English classroom may affect certain social outcomes for students, such as increased levels of social self-concept, voice and perceptions of teacher parity in single gender compared to coed classes and that classroom gender composition may interact with student gender to differentially impact students' internalized motivation in math and task orientation in English.
- Students in single-gender classes did not seem to fare any worse in math grades than students in coed classes.
- Single-gender classes in this school do not seem to be detrimental to the students, and in some cases, seem to be beneficial.
- Results suggested that gender composition of the classroom alone is not likely to be responsible for large changes in students' academic and social trajectories.
Classroom Composition, English, Gender, Math, Parents, Stereotype, Teachers
Participant observation, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Large Public High School
Unit of Analysis:
- DV: academic achievement, academic self-concept, academic motivation, social self-concept, level of voice, perceptions of classroom climate.
- IV: gender, whether or not student had experienced single-gender classes, gender composition of the classrooms
- Conducted two pilot studies. Pilot 1: 336 students from various grade levels with the purpose of gaining insight into the psychometric properties of student's attitude toward single gender classes. Pilot 2: 516 students with the goal to ascertain whether the outcomes of interest differed for students based on whether or not they chose to take the particular math and English classes.
- The sample was predominantly White and from an upper-middle socioeconomic class.
- Two times of data collection. Time 1: 366 9th grade students completed questionnaires. Time 2: 236 students answered the same questionnaire as in Time1. Questionnaires were collected from students enrolled in single-gender or comparable coed classes. Questions were designed to measure students' self-concept, academic motivation, level of voice, and perceptions of classroom climate. Additionally also their attitudes toward single-gender classes in general and about the grades they received for those classes when they were in 8th grade.
- Parents also participated and they reported their views on single-gender and coed classes and also some demographic information.
- Teachers also participated and they rated student's conduct, academic motivation, level of voice in class, time spent on task, social interactions and overall academic performance.
- Observational data was also collected in Time 1 and Time 2 to analyze classroom processes, teacher behavior toward students, and student engagement.