Coeducation and Students’ Achievement in Mathematics Research Paper


This project aims at investigating two very crucial ideologies with regards to application of various schooling system. The first question will concentrate on the effects that single sex or mixed school environments have on Mathematics achievement, while the second idea will be to look at the merits and demerits of these systems in the overall student’s achievement in Mathematics as a subject.

Technically, the project plan will include a review of its context, project rationale or the thinking behind it, a section on literature review, a description of facts and data collection methodologies, a proposed timeline for the various activities anticipated and a list of reference material used.

Context of the Study

The study of single sex and mixed sex schools may have a varied number of aspects that one may wish to look into. First, there may be the issue of gender distribution… There may also be the angle of resources distribution in schools where one may want to compare the level of balance, in the two types of schools. A researcher may also want to study coeducation from the perspective of discrimination in terms of race, color and even access to facilities (Francis, 2004).

The other angle that one may approach the issue of coeducation from is the performance of these schools either in individual subjects or on an overall basis, in comparison to the single sex schools. One may also narrow down to individual student characteristics on issues like discipline and how it may affect the students performance in the subject, while comparing the same variable to case scenarios in singles sex schools.

Main Focus of the Study

As noted above, various angles. This study will nonetheless focus on two aspects which are; an analysis of the effects of coeducational environment in students’ performance of the mathematics subject and the positive and negative contributions of mix classes, to the achievement of mathematics as a subject.

Coeducation Environment and Students Performance in Mathematics

The environment in which education is being provided happens to be an important contributor to the overall outcome expected of the students (Tully & Jacob, 2010). However, there are several other forces that influence students’ performance on particular subjects and on an overall aggregate that it would not be easy to single out one as the most dominant factor (Sullivan, 2009).

One of the findings that may explain the performance of mathematics subject in coeducational schools is the revelation that boys and girls mixed schools do not exhibit any conspicuously superior qualities in comparison to their counter parts in single sex schools, either in curricular or co-curricular activities (Sax, 2005). Thus the environment of single sex schools seem to be provide students with better chances of doing well in mathematics

It may seem that the perception of mathematics as an otherwise difficult subject pushes boys in single sex schools to go an extra mile, in a bid to display their ability in terms of handling difficult issues in a manly way, and in the process of trying to outshine one another, they end up boosting their individual performances and eventually that of the whole class.(Pomerantaz, Altermatt & Saxon, 2002).

The situation is however different in mixed schools where poor performance by one gender may lead to pulling the average aggregate behind (Paton & Moore, 2010).

Positive and Negative Effects of Single Sex School Environment to the Achievement of Mathematics

Positive Effects

The existence of one gender in one school environment is believed to enhance heightens the levels of competition since the participants are seen as equals and therefore each one of them tends to put more effort to become noticeable and remain competitively relevant (Barmao, Bosire & Mandoch, 2008).This competition is most visible where teachers emphasize on the fact that none of them has more superior characteristic than the other but are more or less of equal in natural endowment.

Single sex schools also tend to level the rules of competition thus there is a balanced playing field that doesn’t give any one advantage over the other. Further, educating students in single sex schools seems to contribute to the ultimate confidence of individual students. Girls in particular have been found to shy away from contributing to questions and discussion in class in the presence of their male counterparts (Sax, 2005).

Further, single sex schools reduce the chances of the attitude of the teacher to have as much impact on the performance of the students. There are more chances that a teacher would more often express a non-accommodating attitude towards a single student rather than a group (Sullivan, 2009).

In single sex school the expressions of a teacher may be easier to deal with since they will have no inclination to any gender and therefore the students are able to form a means of coping with a teacher’s attitude more than in a mixed school situation were expression may be limited by the existence of one gender.

The single sex environment again allows boys and girls to fully act in a natural way as their actions are not subject to criticism by the opposite gender. It is natural that in the presence of members of the opposite gender humans will act in a different way from their normal self thus limiting the chances of bringing out their real self. A single sex school eliminates such attributes and instead advocates for full expression of self thus enhancing such characteristics as being affirmative and assertive.

There are also reduced chances of influence by unhealthy relationships that may occur in mixed schools. This actually is one of the contributors of poor performances in mixed schools and thus the further the separation the higher the chances of better performance (Gurian & Steven, 2004)

Negative Effects

A single school environment denies students representation of the real world where both gender have to coexist. This may instill tendencies of chauvinism or inability to view the world as a place where creations have to live and complement one another. In essence, the application of the lessons learnt may not be very practical since the environment they were taught in and their environment of application differ in several ways (Tully & Jacobs, 2010).

There are also higher chances of both genders coalescing for destructive purposes. Since they are all at the same age level, they are likely to have more understanding and bonding amongst themselves further raising their chances of easily agreeing to a negative plot (Paton & Moore, 2010).

It must be understood that students in their formative years have an explorative mind and they may sometimes wan to experiment either well thought objectives or in some case unseen repercussions. This hampers students’ performances since there is the drive of mob psychology.

Project Rationale

Education affects the general view point of the society on various issues and therefore it is important to know how the various systems of education that exist may impact on the society.

This is a study that can as well be of great impact to policy makers in assisting the decision making process that may concern resource distribution. As a student and an aspiring academician, this study would shed light on why one mode of education would be preferable to some people and not others, and why there doesn’t exist a universal agreement on the best practices on this subject.

Project Aims

This project’s main aim will be to:

  1. Compare the performances of students in mixed schools to that of students in single sex schools in mathematics subject.
  2. To find out whether there are notable and major challenges found and /or posed by preference of any of these education systems.

Research Questions

  1. What are the effects of a coeducational environment on student’s achievement on Mathematics subject?
  2. What are the positive and negative results of mixed classes on the students’ performance of mathematics?

Literature Review

There is quite a substantial amount of material on the subject of coeducation, some of which will no doubt serve as a great resource for this project. The internet will be a key resource tool for this study since there is a sizable amount of data that can be useful in informing this study.

Previous studies that have been conducted and preserved in books or journals will also be useful for this study, to provide a historical background of the study. Spielhofer, Benton, and Schagen (2004) compilation titiled A study of the effects of school size and single sex education in English Shools will be a good source of infromation.

Newspaper reviews and insights on this subject may also prove useful to this study and will be used to shed more light on the subject. Although there will be no first-hand data collection, stakeholder’s views that may be expressed in informal sittings or other media will be incorporated.


This study will heavily rely on information available on the backdrop of previous studies. In this regard the research will mainly be conducted from the libraries where books and other material containing the relevant data can be found, such as educational offices where access can be granted. The research will also be dependent on information available on the internet and therefore a substantial amount of time will be spent searching the web.

Essentially, books, journals, articles, case studies and internet materials will be sampled from a wide range of scholarly quarters related to the field of study. Once data collection is completed, the research will progress to the data analysis stage where a blend of qualitative and quantitative data analysis will be used to analytically asses and interpret the collected data.


Barmao, A., Bosire, J., & Mandoch, H. (2008). Effects of streaming by gender on student achievement in mathematics in secondary schools. South Africa Journal of Education, East Africa Publishers.

Francis, B. (2004). Classroom interaction and access. London, United Kingdom: Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Gurian, M., & Steven, K. (2004). With boys and girls in mind. Educational Leadership.

Henry, J. (2001). Help for the boys helps the girls. Times Educational Supplement.

Paton, G., & Moore, M. (2010). Girls do better in single sex schools. The Daily Telegraph.

Pomerantaz, E., Altermatt, E., & Saxon, J. (2002). Making the grade but feeling distressed: gender differences in academic performance and internal distress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 396-404.

Sax, L. (2005). Why gender matters. New York: Broadway Books.

Spielhofer, T., Benton, T., & Schagen, S. (2004). A Study of the effects of school size and Single Sex Education in English Schools.

Sullivan, A. (2009). Academic self-concept, gender and single-sex Schooling. British Educational Research- Journal..

Tully, D., & Jacobs, B. (2010). Effects of single-gender mathematics classroom on self-perception of mathematical ability and post secondary engineering paths. Australia.