Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lucian Szlizewski


In a large, urban district in western Tennessee, African American students perform considerably lower in math, science, and reading than other districts. Several teachers in western Tennessee are using single-gender instruction as a practice, but little is known about its effectiveness in addressing the needs of African American students. Currently, there is a gap in scholarly and practical understanding of the effects of single-gender classrooms on the academic success of African American students in western Tennessee. This exploratory qualitative case study examined the experiences shared by teachers who use single-gender learning to educate African American students in secondary schools in western Tennessee. The social cognitive theory and brain-based learning were used as frameworks in examining the perceived effectiveness of single-gender classrooms, and the guiding research questions were designed to focus on teachers' experiences with single-gender classroom instruction for African American students. Ten teachers using single-gender classrooms to educate African American high school students in the subjects of English, math, or science were interviewed. Data were analyzed using the matrix approach, which led to the identification of 3 themes: learning styles, classroom management, and instructional strategies used in single-gender classrooms. These themes were identified as factors indicating benefits and pedagogical practices participants perceived as effective when used to educate African American students in single-gender classrooms. Insight from this study will enhance educators' ability to reach a population of underserved students, thus affecting social change by reducing racial education disparities among African American students.