Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donald Poplau


Empirical evidence substantiating the effectiveness of engagement programs to support at-risk students is virtually nonexistent. In an attempt to improve student engagement and literacy for Grade 9 students enrolled in a developmental curriculum known as the essential-level program, the staff at one school implemented single-gender classes during the 2010--2011 school year. This project study was designed as a summative, goals-based, quantitative program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the first-year single-gender program based on its stated goals and objectives. A purposive sample of 45 students, 6 teachers, and 2 educational assistants in the essential-level program was used to collect pretest and posttest Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) score data as well as teacher and student survey data related to perceptions of single-gender classes. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics to determine perceptions of student engagement, academic achievement, and behavior in single gender classrooms. Findings revealed that students and teachers indicated more positive perceptions toward single-gender classes. Analysis of covariance revealed that students in single-gender classes showed significantly higher reading achievement scores when compared to students in mixed-gender classrooms. The results of this program evaluation contribute to social change by adding to the body of knowledge focused on quantitative program evaluations, addressing a deficiency in the literature on single-gender instruction for at-risk students, and assisting the educational community in decision making to address gaps in literacy development and student engagement.