kitchen table math, the sequel: single-sex schools

Friday, May 10, 2013

single-sex schools

Ed was talking this morning with a neighbor who also sent her son to Hogwarts. He's been accepted by a very selective (and terrific) college, and she said he would never have gotten in if he'd stayed in the public schools here. (Per pupil spending: $28,517

I'm sure she's right.
Despite the voluminous literature on the potentials of single-sex schools, there is no consensus on the effects of single-sex schools because of student selection of school types. We exploit a unique feature of schooling in Seoul—the random assignment of students into single-sex versus coeducational high schools—to assess causal effects of single-sex schools on college entrance exam scores and college attendance. Our validation of the random assignment shows comparable socio- economic backgrounds and prior academic achievement of students attending single-sex schools and coeducational schools, which increases the credibility of our causal estimates of single-sex school effects. The three-level hierarchical model shows that attending all-boys schools or all-girls schools, rather than coeducational schools, is significantly associated with higher average scores on Korean and English test scores. Applying the school district fixed-effects models, we find that single-sex schools produce a higher percentage of graduates who attended four-year colleges and a lower percentage of graduates who attended two-year junior colleges than do coeducational schools. The positive effects of single-sex schools remain substantial, even after we take into account various school-level variables, such as teacher quality, the student-teacher ratio, the proportion of students receiving lunch support, and whether the schools are public or private.


Anonymous said...

Families who send their children to single sex schools are interested in education. I'm guessing that this is the biggest factor in their producing more 4-year college attendees.

Shannon Severance said...


"We exploit a unique feature of schooling in Seoul—the random assignment of students into single-sex versus coeducational high schools..."

Whether the parents want a single sex school was not taken into account during school assignment for the population, according to the quoted abstract.

I don't know anything about school assignment in Seoul. If you have some specific knowledge about schooling is Seoul, that differs from what is written here, I would appreciate you telling us.

-- Shannon Severance