December 12, 2011
Do Women Perform Better in a Single-Sex Education Setting?
School is a place to learn; although co-ed schooling is one of the first choices on the list for parents and young adults, single-sex schools are also equally good. In the 1990s, students, parents, and educators began to believe that single-sex education was a rising solution to gender inequalities that were popping up in mixed-sex educational settings. Generally speaking, boys respond better to a more active teaching style. In fact, a study by Richard Restak in 1988, showed that boys had an early advantage in visual acuity and have better spatial abilities involving three dimensional space. An early study by Restak also revealed that girls are more sensitive to sound, and more attuned to the social contexts of situations. This explains why girls tend to be more cautious about participating in discussions. As they get older, boys and girls become different and distract each other from both academics and also because of normal social or sexual development (puberty). The problem with co-ed schools is that there are more pubescent distractions, competiveness, and harassment from one another, but being in a single-sex setting will enable students to pay more attention to their studies. Single sex schools will benefit because each gender will be able to focus more without being distracted from the opposite sex. Women learn better in single-sex schools. While being in a co-education environment, students tend to become distracted and less focused. Coeducation gradually emerged during the 19th century as a dominant practice in the United States, first it began in primary and secondary education and then later into the college level. At the time, it was cheaper to have boys and girls in one room together. Feminists soon viewed co-education as a necessary step in women’s emancipation. Being put in a single-sex environment will give students the opportunity to open up and learn more. Both sides of the debate conclude that the increasing amount single sex classrooms and schools are becoming more beneficial. “We see some of these studies with large samples indicating some positive effect from single-sex schooling,” says Rosemary Salmone, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law. Leonard Sax, a family physician and psychologist in Poolesville, Md who is also the founder of the fledging National Association for the Advancement of Single-Sex Public Education says “Single-sex education works better,” he continues to say, “Kids who attend single-sex schools not only do better academically but also have a better attitude toward school and a better outlook on life.”
Many years ago before 1965, a large number of public and private schools in this country were single-gender. But over the next 30 years almost all public and private schools became coeducational. Sexual and racial integration was thought to be beneficial to everyone in all walks of life. Today there is a growing belief that the earlier organization of the schools was wise, and some 223 public schools are offering single-sex classrooms. The U.S. Department of Education has recently introduced new rules that permit school districts to create single-sex schools and classes as long as enrollment is voluntary (Reeves 1). With this being said, there were still problems with all girl and all boy schools. People thought this violated students rights to equal educational opportunities. In 1984, A Pennsylvania court ordered a Philadelphia all-boys school to adopt an open admissions policy after finding out the school’s facilities were better and more refurbished than the all-girls school close by.
There are at least two major reasons for single-sex schools: that boys and girls learn differently, and that the absence of the opposite sex in the classroom eliminates a major distraction that hinders learning. This point is obviously true, so that leaves...