Single-Sex Education

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Sara Vandenberg
Introduction to Sociology
Term Paper
April 2, 2010

Single-Sex Education
Have you ever been sitting in a classroom and wondered what it would be like to have an entire class with just girls or just boys? What about an entire school? The drive for gender equity in American education occurred during the 1970’s and 1980’s, which was pushing coeducation forward. The Title IX legislation, passed by Congress in 1972, sharpened public awareness of equity issues that were related to gender. Public concerns about sexual freedom; a rise in unmarried–especially teenage– pregnancy; and the growth of sexually transmitted diseases led to a reconsideration of coeducational guidelines. In the late 1970’s, researchers began to note the higher levels of women academic achievements at single-sex colleges compared to coeducational institutions. In a 1992 published report, the American Association of University Women questioned whether or not coeducation was the best way to achieve the higher levels of accomplishments for young women. They claimed that women were more likely to be ignored in class discussions and subjects to threats of sexual harassment. Educational reformers were concerned about the low academic performances of young African-American males. They began to explore the possibility of all-male academies, to provide an environment that would be free of distractions in which these students could focus on achievements. (Rury, 2008)

When tolled together, the numbers are not in favor of single-sex education because ninety-six percent of private schools are coeducational (Kennedy, 2010). Kennedy stated that only one point eight percent of girls and two point two percent of boys are educated in single-sex schools (2010). But this could be because out of the ninety-three thousand public schools in America, only two hundred and forty-one of them even offer single-sex classes (McNamara, 2006). According to CBS Evening news reporter, Melissa McNamara stated, “Three years ago, Woodward Elementary near Orlando, Florida, separated boys and girls. The school's standardized test scores have jumped for both genders. After two years of same-sex classes, seventy-one percent of students beat the national average in reading, and seventy-nine percent beat it in math (2006).”

The first academic source I found that directly relates to my topic is called “Effect of single-sex education on progress in GCSE,” written by Eva Malacova. A recent study found that boys in single-sex schools do better on average GCSE, while girls on total GCSE scores. If you do not know what GCSE is a public examination taken by sixteen year old school pupils in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland at the end of Year Eleven. Another study was done that showed boys performed better in single-sex grammar schools compared to their peers in mixed schools. Also lower ability boys did better in single-sex comprehensive schools than coeducational schools. (Malacova, 2007)

Another study that was done, reported that girls in single-sex independent schools achieve on average 0.179 GCSE points more than those in coeducational independent schools for prior performance, but they achieved 0.175 points lower progress on average for grammar schools. The same study also stated that boys in single-sex independent schools seem to achieve on average 0.204 GCSE points more than boys attending coeducational independent schools, but they achieved 0.273 points lower progress on average for grammar schools. In conclusion for this academic journal source, girls that attended single-sex independent schools achieve higher progress from GCSE when compared to peers in coeducational independent schools. It was the same for boys, as it said that boys in single-sex independent schools seem to achieve a higher mean GCSE score compared to their peers in coeducational independent schools. (Malacova, 2007)

The second academic article I found was entitled...
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