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Single-sex schooling

Danielle Carver and her faculty mentor Joseph Covert examined the potential for single-sex classrooms to outperform classes of mixed gender. Using 5th-graders, they studied the performance of classrooms composed of boys, girls, and both.

“One of the biggest challenges was simply gaining permission and the certification required to look at student scores,” Carver said.

Covert explained that not much research has been done documenting the progress single-sex classrooms can make as opposed to mixed-gender classrooms.

“We want to know if single-sex schooling can increase academic achievement,” Carver said. “Using Criterion-Referenced Content Tests (CRCT) we can judge how much a group of students has learned over a period of time.”

Studying single-sex schooling
Photo by Mary Bricker

Scores from the classrooms were tallied and compared, along with opinions from some of the students. Carver and Covert found that the boys and girls usually preferred classrooms of their own gender, and the scores also pointed to generally higher performances by single-sex classrooms.

“Because this project primarily utilized a qualitative research approach rather than quantitative, I struggled starting out with understanding how to go about gathering the data,” Carver said. “But the results proved to be worth it. I hope to continue this research project over the next year.”

Covert viewed the project as fun and rewarding, saying the opportunity to work one-on-one with a student without the distractions of other obligations helped both him and Carver grow academically.

“This intensive interaction allowed us to keenly focus on our research subject, which helped us prepare for our coming year-long research study,” Covert said.

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