Science still unclear on same-sex schooling

In the 2011 – 2012 school year, more than 500 public schools in America offered single-sex schooling options for students, despite lack of scientific or academic proof that these arrangements benefit the students in attendance. Christine Gross-Loh examines this issue in a an article for The Atlantic where she says that critics call same-sex schooling “sexist” and ineffective.

While most people view same-sex schooling as a strictly female issue, male-only schools have been on the rise in recent years to combat things like dropout rates in Black and Latino populations. For girls, single-sex schooling advocates say that young women can learn without fear of appearing unattractive or uncool to the opposite sex, and that with no males, young women have more confidence to pursue areas like math and science.

There is not a lot of sound evidence to support claims either way for same-sex schooling though, in part due to poor methodology in studies concerning the issue. Of 2,200 studies recently done on the issue, the American Institutes of Research found that only 40 qualified as having “sound methodology.”

There is also the issue of the types of schools involved in any research. An all-girls private school, for example, compared to co-ed public schools may show higher academic accomplishment but that could be based more on the socio-economics, and less on the sex of the students. Or boys attending a single-sex STEM school may perform higher in math and science than boys at nearby co-ed schools — but again, is that success attributed to sex or school focus?

What’s your take on single-sex schooling?



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