Classroom sex composition and first-grade school outcomes: The role of classroom behavior

Erin Pahlke, Carey E. Cooper, Richard Fabes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (N= 21,409; 10,452 girls and 10,957 boys; mean age. = 7.24. years), the association between first-grade classroom sex composition (CSC), measured as the percentage of female students, and end of the year academic (reading, mathematics) and socio-emotional (externalizing problems, internalizing problems, self-control, interpersonal skills) outcomes was examined. Using multilevel modeling techniques and controlling for prior achievement levels, CSC was positively associated with children's reading achievement at the end of first grade; students performed better in reading in classes with a higher percentage of female students. CSC was also associated with three of the socio-emotional outcomes; controlling for prior levels, students in classrooms with a higher percentage of girls had better self-control and interpersonal skills and fewer internalizing problems. Classroom behavior mediated the effects of CSC on reading achievement and the socio-emotional outcomes. Implications for the composition of first-grade classrooms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1650-1658
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Achievement
  • Classroom behavior
  • ECLS-K
  • First grade
  • Sex composition
  • Socio-emotional outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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