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IES Grant

Title: The Relation of Gender-Integrated Classroom Climate to Students' Academic Outcomes
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Martin, Carol Lynn Awardee: Arizona State University
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2018 - 07/31/2022) Award Amount: $1,388,186
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A180028

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore associations between gender integration in classrooms and student academic engagement and performance in upper elementary school grades. Because boys and girls are typically taught together in classrooms, there is the assumption that boys and girls are cooperative and integrated in their classroom activities, yet evidence suggests this may not be the case. Classrooms can vary in the degree to which boys and girls work effectively together. Some classroom climates facilitate gender integration, while other classroom climates may perpetuate gender segregation where students tend to only work with classmates of the same gender.

Project Activities: The current study will examine the variation in gender integration at the classroom (macro-culture) and student (micro-culture) levels. The project also examines how gender integration relates to 4th to 6th grade students' school-related engagement and academic perceptions and achievement. The researchers will also explore whether the relation between gender integration and academic outcomes is mediated by school-related engagement.

Products: The researchers will produce preliminary evidence of potentially promising practices for gender integration in classrooms that will be disseminated to researchers, teachers, and school administrators. In addition, the researchers will produce peer-reviewed publications and a publicly available dataset.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in 4th to 6th grade classrooms in elementary schools in urban areas in Arizona.

Sample: The sample will include 975 4th to 6th grade students and 60 teachers, with roughly equal numbers of boys and girls. The sample includes a large percentage of Latino students (~51%; similar to general population in the Southwest U.S.), and teachers who are mainly female (93%) and non-Latino White (88%).

Malleable Factors: This study will examine gender integration in elementary classrooms as a malleable factor for improving student learning. Gender integration involves: (1) working with and having access to classmates of both genders, (2) having quality (positive) interactions with classmates of both genders, and (3) holding positive perceptions about classmates of both genders. Teachers can play an important role in facilitating a classroom climate that fosters gender integration. By examining gender integration and its association with academic outcomes, the findings from this study have implications for education policy and teacher training and professional development.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will collect data across three cohorts of students using a multi-method, short-term longitudinal design. During each of the three school years, approximately 20 teachers and their students in grades 4 to 6 will participate in the study. Data collection includes baseline measures of gender integration and academic outcomes (school-related engagement and academic perceptions and achievement) obtained in the fall (Time 1), mediation data (school-related engagement) collected in the winter (Time 2), and gender integration and academic outcomes obtained in the spring (Time 3). Data collected across three cohorts of students over three consecutive years will enable researchers to explore the macro-cultural (i.e., classroom) and micro-cultural (i.e., student) influences of gender integration.

Control Condition: Due to the nature of this study, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: The research team will use student and teacher questionnaires, classmate peer nominations, and classroom observations to obtain indicators of gender integration. Measures of academic outcomes include school-related engagement (e.g., school liking, classroom supportiveness) and academic perceptions and achievement (e.g., beliefs, performance ratings, grades).

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use a series of single- and multi-level linear models (MLM) to assess how variation in gender integration relates to changes in academic outcomes. The researchers will test school-related engagement as a mediator of the relation between gender integration and academic perceptions and achievement. Researchers will also consider gender, ethnicity, and grade as covariates and moderators.