The Effectiveness of Single-Sex Catholic Secondary Schooling: Evidence from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988

LePore, Paul, and John Warren
Working paper no. 1996-05


Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, we ask three questions. First, are there differences between single-sex and coeducational Catholic secondary school students in academic and social psychological outcomes? Second, do these differences especially favor young women in single-sex Catholic secondary schools, as prior research has concluded? Third, can pre-enrollment differences between students account for these sector effects?

We conclude that single-sex Catholic secondary schools are not especially advantageous academic settings, and that the few observed advantages of attending these schools benefit boys more than girls. In the end, we argue that the few observed sector differences in 10th and 12th grade student achievement test scores are due to pre-enrollment differences in measured background and prior achievement.