Gender Grouping and its Initial Effect on a Title I Upper Elementary School during the Pilot Year of Implementation
Simon, Pamela Reed
Hare, R. Dwight
CommitteeDavis, James E.
Boggan, Matthew K.
Studies have documented challenges in meeting No Child Left Behind (NCLB) expectations as well as gender differences that contribute to the achievement gaps between boys and girls. In response to increased NCLB accountability and achievement gaps between boys and girls, several experts have promoted single-sex education as a possible strategy to improving student achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine data that were gathered from an economically disadvantaged Title I federally-assisted upper elementary school with respect to the implementation of single-gender classrooms. This study was guided by the following two research questions: First, what were the perspectives from teachers, students, and parents with the initial year of implementation of single-gender classrooms? Second, what school level data could be analyzed and summarized with respect to student behaviors during the initial year of implementation? Unlike previous studies, which focused on private or parochial schools at the secondary school level, this study focused on an economically disadvantaged school within an upper elementary setting. In addition, limited previous research has examined the perspectives of teachers, students, and parents. As research continues to show an ever-increasing achievement gap between students in poverty and those who are not, many educators seek alternative ways to educate students in economically disadvantaged schools. While single-gender classrooms are by no means a cure-all for the adversity faced by disadvantaged students in public schools, an analysis of the aforementioned research data indicated salient benefits for such students in that they can provide a learning environment where affective and cognitive learning outcomes could be realized. The results from this study revealed that teachers and parents considered single-gender classrooms provide a positive learning environment for students. Teachers, students, and parents emphasized that single-gender classrooms allowed students to be more productive, removed the largest distractions for male and female students, and allowed them to concentrate on their schoolwork. In addition, the data revealed that single-gender classrooms had a positive impact on girls as viewed by teachers, female students, and parents of female students in terms of feeling comfortable enough to ask questions when they did not understand something.