Brandi Massey




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Constance L Pearson


Early Elementary, Girls' Perceptions, Low-Socioeconomic Neighborhoods, Single-Gender Classrooms, Single-Gender Education, Single-Sex Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe the experiences and impact of single-gender education in early elementary classrooms (grades kindergarten through second) from the perspectives of the fourth and fifth-grade girls that experienced these classrooms in a low-socioeconomic community in South Carolina at Hopkins Elementary School. The theory guiding the study was Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory explaining how a person’s environments impact their thoughts and behaviors. Often students who enter school from families of poverty continue to live in poverty after they graduate if they indeed make it to graduation (Hughes, 2009). To break this cycle, it is critical for students from poverty situations develop positive perceptions of education and themselves. The study utilized interviews, focus groups, a survey, written prompts, and other archived data were analyzed and coded for themes. Findings from this study revealed the girls were impacted by their experiences in the single-gender early elementary classrooms regarding perceptions of education and themselves. The girls noted an increase in personal identity in the areas of confidence and self-esteem along with an increase in academic perseverance in the areas of work ethic and willingness to try. These two areas provided the opportunity for the girls to set goals for college, careers, and their future.