The affects of single gender classroom grouping on students' achievement and discipline in a selected school district in South Mississippi

Jean Lyles Young

Abstract

Educators are searching for innovative methods to keep students' attention and increase classroom productivity. A method that has been given attention over the past few years is the single-gender configuration of the classroom. Experimentation with this type grouping has implications for investigation. American public schools are beginning to take a closer look at single-gender classes as an alternative way to group students. Research supports the fact that most schools that have tried same-gender classes have seen improved test scores and reduced disciplinary problems. Description of subjects. This study was produced to determine how grouping students in same-gender classrooms affected achievement and discipline. Students in fifth grade at a rural elementary school in a southeastern state were randomly assigned to one of three math groups included in the study. One class was all girls; another class was all boys and the third class was a mixed class of both boys and girls. Procedure. A one-way Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (RM ANOVA) was conducted to determine the effect of single-gender grouping on math achievement. The STAR Math Test was used as Pre and posttests. Scores on the two tests were compared to determine if there was a statistically significant difference. A one-way Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to evaluate the relationship between class grouping configuration and disciplinary referrals. Discipline records from the first semester of the 2002-03 school year were studied and compared to discipline records from the first semester of the 2003-04 school year. This analysis attempted to determine whether negative behaviors increased, decreased or stayed the same among the groups of students. Results. There was significant interaction between Math pre- and posttest scores for the all-girls' class, the all-boys' class and the mixed-gender class. The mixed-gender class made a significant gain in math scores from the August 2003 to May 2004. The all girls' class also achieved higher scores on the posttest, however, the all-boys' scores declined. The analysis showed that discipline improved for the mixed gender class by fifty percent. There was a significant increase of disciplinary referrals for the all girls' class. The number of referrals remained the same for the all boys' class.