Single-sex classes and student outcomes: Evidence from North Carolina

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Abstract

The effects of single-sex education are hotly contested, both in academic and policy circles. Despite this heated debate, there exists little credible empirical evidence of the effect of a U.S. public school's decision to offer single-sex classrooms on the educational outcomes of students. This study seeks to fill this hole. Using administrative records for third through eighth graders in North Carolina public schools, the paper finds evidence that the offering of single-sex mathematics courses is associated with lower performance on end-of-grade math exams, and finds no evidence that the offering of single-sex reading scores increases performance on reading exams. Robustness checks are conducted. While the mathematics results are robust to the checks, the reading results fail an important check, and the baseline reading results should be interpreted with this in mind. Evidence of significant heterogeneity in the effect across schools is also presented.

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About the Author

 

Michael R.
Strain
  • Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconomics. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and in the policy journals Tax Notes and National Affairs. Dr. Strain also writes frequently for popular audiences on topics including labor market policy, jobs, minimum wages, federal tax and budget policy, and the Affordable Care Act, among others.  His essays and op-eds have been published by National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Forbes, Bloomberg View, and a variety of other outlets. He is frequently interviewed by major media outlets, and speaks often on college campuses. Before joining AEI he worked on the research team of the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program and was the manager of the New York Census Research Data Center, both at the U.S. Census Bureau.  Dr. Strain began his career in the macroeconomics research group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  He is a graduate of Marquette University, and holds an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Cornell.


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    Email: michael.strain@aei.org
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