Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Johnson, W. C.

Committee Member

Brandenburg, Teri

Committee Member

Lamberth, John

Committee Member

McGrath, Vincent

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires public schools to be highly accountable for dollars spent on education and for the achievement of students. To support this mandate, the law expanded local control and allowed schools to explore innovative ways to enhance student learning (U.S.D.E., 2004). Given the opportunity, some public schools have experimented with single-gender classes as an avenue for improving the way students are taught. Studies have indicated that separating students according to gender has a positive impact on learning (e.g., Haag, 2000; Maslen, 2001; and Sommers, 2001). Single-gender settings have also been reported to have a positive affect on the attitudes of students (NASSPE, 2004b; Colley et al., 1994, James & Richards, 2003; and Rowe, 2000). Because single-gender classes were not an option in the public school sector in recent years, most current studies of single-gender education involve private and parochial schools. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the initial impact of implementing gender-based instruction in a suburban public elementary school in central Mississippi. The impact was analyzed in terms of the overall perceptions of the administrator, teachers, students, and parents who participated in the pilot program. The impact was also measured by the students' performance in the areas of academic achievement, school attendance, and classroom behavior during the pilot year of fifth-grade, single-gender classes. The results of the study indicated the overall perceptions of the participants were favorable toward single-gender classes. The students maintained approximately the same level of academic achievement in fifth-grade, single-gender classes as in fourth-grade coeducational classes. They produced an average of 2.6 years (grade equivalent) growth in Accelerated Math during the year of single-gender classes. The average daily attendance was consistent with previous attendance patterns and exceeded the district average. An analysis of discipline records revealed a positive difference in the reported conduct of students in the single-gender classes as compared to the students in coed classes throughout the district. The conclusions drawn from this study suggest continuing the single-gender classes. It is recommended that the administration and staff continue to explore gender-based teaching and classroom management.