Single-Sex Primary Schools and Student Achievement: Evidence from Admission Lotteries

Research output: Working paper


In the last decade, single-sex education has experienced a major revival. However, whether same-gender schooling is an appropriate strategy to boost academic achievement remains an open question. I leverage randomized assignment of 4- and 5-year-old children to schools in Malta to estimate the causal effect of single-sex education on short- and medium-run outcomes. To alleviate concerns of endogenous school inputs, I compare students within the same school sector, for which coeducational and single-sex schools are alike in all dimensions except for the gender composition of the student population. I find that attending a single-sex primary school produces large and significant test score gains for both boys and girls at the end of primary school. Furthermore, single-sex schooling in childhood has lasting effects on the choice of curriculum track in secondary school. Students make less gendered subject choices and are less likely to enroll in vocational subjects. Survey evidence suggests that the single-sex school effect is mediated through higher student satisfaction with school, lower levels of classroom disruption and teachers’ use of guided instruction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2019


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