The Impact Of Single-Sex Education On African American Student Achievement: An Analysis Of An Urban School's Reform Efforts

No Thumbnail Available

Links to Files


Author/Creator ORCID




Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy


Doctor of Education

Citation of Original Publication


This item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.


The academic underperformance of African American males is nothing less than an epidemic that continues to limit their academic, career, and life opportunities. The complexities of meeting the academic needs of African American males are compounded for large, urban school districts with limited resources. Consequently, many urban school districts have implemented various non-traditional school programs in an effort to better address the schooling needs of African Americans. In 2006, federal legislation passed allowing public schools to offer single-sex instructional programs. Since the inception of this legislation, urban schools across the nation have been implementing varying forms of single-sex education in an effort to raise achievement. More research on the effectiveness of single-sex education is needed to inform policy on this topic. The purpose of this study was to evaluate to what extent the restructuring of a coeducational school to single-sex academies impacted student achievement. More specifically, this study assessed the impact of this restructuring effort on the achievement of African American students in grade 8 attending an urban middle school. African American male and female achievement was also assessed separately to determine whether there was an interaction effect between the restructuring and gender on student achievement. The study followed an Ex Post Facto research design. De-identified student achievement data included Mathematics and Reading standardized test scores. The data were analyzed using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). Data from the school years immediately prior to and the 5 years following the restructuring were compared to assess program effectiveness. Findings revealed that the restructuring to single-sex classes proved effective in raising reading achievement for African American female students. African American females reading performance increased each of the 5 years following the restructuring, and their scores were statistically significant in years 4 and 5 of the restructuring initiative. Additionally, achievement patterns for all students (male and female student performance combined) showed an upward trend during the initial 5 years of the restructuring. There was no evidence of improved reading achievement for African American males as a result of the restructuring. There was no evidence that the restructuring proved effective in improving achievement outcomes in mathematics for neither males nor females.