Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Exam Scores? An Experiment in a Coeducational University

28 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2013

See all articles by Alison L. Booth

Alison L. Booth

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Lina Cardona

University of Essex

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We examine the effect of single-sex classes on the pass rates, grades, and course choices of students in a coeducational university. We randomly assign students to all-female, all-male, and coed classes and, therefore, get around the selection issues present in other studies on single-sex education. We find that one hour a week of single-sex education benefits females: females are 7% more likely to pass their first year courses and score 10% higher in their required second year classes than their peers attending coeducational classes. We find no effect of single-sex education on the probability that a female will take technical classes and there is no effect of single-sex education for males. Furthermore we are able to examine potential mechanisms driving the single-sex effect for females. We find that the results are consistent with a reduction in stereotype threat for females and are not due to a potential tracking effect.

Keywords: single-sex, education, gender, experiment

JEL Classification: C91, C92, J16, J33

Suggested Citation

Booth, Alison L. and Cardona, Lina and Nolen, Patrick J., Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Exam Scores? An Experiment in a Coeducational University. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7207, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2223114

Alison L. Booth (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 2 6125 3285 (Phone)
+61 2 6125 0182 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Lina Cardona

University of Essex

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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