Are Single-Sex Schools Better For Education?
By Hank Campbell
September 26th 2011
The least convincing argument for government-run schooling is that it provides a 'social' experience for children. Anyone who attended school has horror stories about the behavior kids learn from the social environment at schools and, if you are a parent with a school age child, you might even worry about it more than be relieved. Single-sex schools would seem to relieve some of that pressure, just like some women or some men feel better at a single-sex exercise facility. Advocates of single-sex schools contend that there may be brain differences between girls and boys that benefit from different teaching styles, though neuroscientists have found no brain differences linked to different learning styles. Instead, single-sex schooling is a negative, claim a group of psychologists, though their logic seems to be reaching a bit. They contend that when sex segregation occurs, the students are left to infer reasons for the separation. Are boys not as good in some subjects? Are girls unable to learn in cooperative settings? They dismiss numerous studies showing a pedagogical benefit, claiming little evidence to support claims that single-sex schools are a better learning environment. "Our examination of the existing studies leads us to conclude that there is not scientific evidence for positive effects of single-sex schooling," said psychology Prof. Lynn S. Liben of Penn State."That's not to say that academic outcomes are definitively worse, but neither are they definitively better. Advantages have not been demonstrated." Then they cite a few weeks watching pre-schoolers as demonstration of their claim. They watched preschool classes to look at effects of gender divisions among the students and found that after two weeks of teachers using gendered language and divisions, like lining children up by gender or asking...