Effects of Single-Sex Schooling in the Final Years of High School: A Comparison of Analysis of Covariance and Propensity Score Matching

Nagengast, Benjamin; Marsh, Herbert; Hau, Kit-Tai
October 2013
Sex Roles;Oct2013, Vol. 69 Issue 7-8, p404
Academic Journal
Typically, the effects of single-sex schooling are small at best, and tend to be statistically non-significant once pre-existing differences are taken into account. However, researchers often have had to rely on observational studies based on small non-representative samples and have not used more advanced propensity score methods to control the potentially confounding effects of covariates. Here, we apply optimal full matching to the large historical longitudinal dataset best suited to evaluating this issue in US high schools: the nationally representative High School and Beyond study. We compare the effects of single-sex education in the final 2 years of high school on Grade 12 and post-secondary outcomes using the subsample of students attending Catholic schools ( N = 2379 students, 29 girls' schools, 22 boys' schools, 33 coeducational schools) focusing on achievement-related, motivational and social outcomes. We contrast conventional Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) with optimal full matching based on the propensity score that provides a principled way of controlling for selection bias. Results from the two approaches converged: When background and Year 10 covariates were controlled, uncorrected apparent differences between the school types disappeared and the pattern of effects was very similar across the two methods. Overall, there was little evidence for positive effects of single-sex schooling for a broad set of outcomes in the final 2 years of high school and 2 years after graduation. We conclude with a discussion of the advantages of propensity score methods compared to ANCOVA.


Related Articles

  • SINGLE-SEX SCHOOLING. SPARKS, SARAH D. // Education Week;9/28/2011, Vol. 31 Issue 5, p5 

    The article discusses the impact of segregating students by sex on academic achievement and gender stereotyping, adapted from an article entitled "The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling," by psychology professor Diane F. Halpern, published in "Science" magazine.

  • A League of Their Own: Do Single-Sex Schools Increase Girls' Participation in the Physical Sciences? Cherney, Isabelle; Campbell, Kaitlin // Sex Roles;Nov2011, Vol. 65 Issue 9-10, p712 

    With the rapid shifts in the education of women in the United States, and the underrepresentation of women in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), an issue generating much controversy is whether women may benefit more from single-sex education or coeducation. The present...

  • Schools separate the sexes to help kids concentrate in class.  // Education (14637073);12/4/2009, Issue 376, p3 

    The article reports that the Head of Education at Cambridge University, Mike Younger, notes that schools are increasingly separating boys and girls. He says separating classes can help boys participate in classes without showing off, and that their work improves when girls are not present. He...

  • The Efficacy of Single-Sex Education: Testing for Selection and Peer Quality Effects. Hayes, Amy; Pahlke, Erin; Bigler, Rebecca // Sex Roles;Nov2011, Vol. 65 Issue 9-10, p693 

    To address selection and peer quality effects in tests of the efficacy of single-sex schools, the achievement of girls attending a public single-sex middle school in the Southwest United States ( N = 121) was compared to that of (a) girls who applied but were not admitted to the same school ( N...

  • What price exam success?  // New Scientist;9/10/94, Vol. 143 Issue 1942, p3 

    Reports on the statistics on GCSE examination results in Great Britain. Comparison of boys' schools with girls' schools and single-sex education with mixed schools; American Civil Liberties Union's claim that single-sex education is a form of gender discrimination.

  • Girls vs. Boys. Coyle, Meghan; Razavian, Noosha // Current Events;2/1/2010, Vol. 109 Issue 15, p7 

    The article discusses the issue of whether girls and boys should attend separate public schools in the U.S. The article focuses on the debate regarding the separate boys and girls public school. It claims that single-sex public schools are not advocating gender stereotypes but they actually...

  • Female-Only Classes in a Rural Context: Self-Concept, Achievement, and Discourse. Wilson, Hope E.; Gresham, Jeanie; Williams, Michelle; Whitley, Claudia; Partin, Jimmy // Journal of Research in Rural Education; 

    Two middle schools in rural east Texas implemented an optional, single-sex program. Although previous studies have documented the effects of single-sex instruction, and recent educational innovations have focused on its benefits, little research has investigated its effects in rural contexts....

  • Separating Girls and Boys: Should school districts offer single-sex public schools and classes?: No. Barnett, Rosalind Chait // Teacher Magazine;Jan/Feb2007, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p12 

    The article focuses on the argument whether there should be single-sex public schools and classes in school districts in the U.S. The analysis of data on graduation rates and academic achievement shows that the big differences are due to poverty. The graduate rate of girls is higher than boys,...

  • Gender-Friendly Schools. King, Kelley; Gurian, Michael; Stevens, Kathy // Educational Leadership;Nov2010, Vol. 68 Issue 3, p38 

    The article discusses sex differences in education, how boys and girls learn differently, and what Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle, Colorado has done to help both genders to excel academically. The socioeconomic status of the students at Wamsley is discussed as is the school's failure to meet...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics