A comparative study of self-perceived leadership skills in coeducational, male-only, and female-only educational settings
Caudle, Michael Edward
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The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the effect that a gender-specific classroom had on men?s and women?s self-perceived leadership abilities as compared to coeducational classrooms where the students were studying leadership together. The sample for the study comprised 81 junior and senior students enrolled in a survey leadership course (ALED 340) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications during the Spring 2007 semester at Texas A&M University. The students were assigned to one of five leadership laboratory sections; three sections were traditional coeducational, one was all-male, and one was all-female. During the last week of the course, the students voluntarily participated in a Leadership Skills Inventory survey that asked them to rate their self-perceptions of their leadership skills. The instrument used the post-then design method that asked for their perceptions prior to beginning the course and their perceptions at the conclusion of the course. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 14.0. Results of the study showed statistically significantly higher self-perceptions of leadership skills abilities for those students who participated in the gender-specific laboratory sections. The all-male section?s self-perceptions were statistically significantly higher than both the males in the coeducational sections and the coeducational sections as a whole. The all-female section?s self-perceptions were statistically significantly higher than the coeducational sections as a whole. The study also revealed that leadership experience in organizations and activities in high school and college prior to enrolling in a college-level leadership course statistically significantly improves self-perceptions of leadership skills ability. Results of this study agree with many research studies that support single-sex schooling and education.