The Causal Effect of Single-Sex Schools: Random Assignment in Korean High Schools
Hyunjoon Park

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Pennsylvania

Primary Discipline

Single-sex schools have long received public and scholastic interest with their potential benefits for girls’ educational advance. Along with the rising concern about underachievement of boys in the United States, reviving interest in single-sex schools gives new emphasis on single-sex school effects for boys. Despite numerous empirical studies that have found differences in educational outcomes between students in single-sex and coeducational schools, there is always the question of whether single-sex schools have direct educational benefits not attributable to the pre-existing characteristics of students who choose to attend single-sex schools. In Korea, a lottery is used to randomly distribute students to single-sex or coeducational high schools, which creates an exceptional opportunity for estimating the causal effects of single-sex schools. Exploiting the distinctive feature of Korean education, the proposed research assesses the true causal effects of single-sex schools on several educational outcomes, including national test scores, peer culture (nature of friendship and kind of activities with friends), academic interest in math and science, and self-concept, among Korean high school seniors. In addition to the average effects of single-sex schools, the research identifies for which types of students single-sex schools work, examining whether single-sex school effects vary by student’s socioeconomic background.
About Hyunjoon Park

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