The Advantages and Disadvantages of Coeducation Schooling

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INTRODUCTION
Based upon media reports, many parents, students and even teachers believe that coeducational schooling is good for boys and bad for girls. Articles appear regularly in the popular press as a result of surveys of parents and students on the topic. Some are of the opinion that coeducational schools benefit boys, because girls have a "civilising" effect on the otherwise unruly behaviour of boys, especially in the early years of secondary school. In contrast, another perspective in favour of single-sex schooling for girls involves the view of many parents that boys distract their daughters from concentrating on their studies, so they prefer them to attend an all-girls school where they are not faced with this issue. In the past decade many single-sex schools in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have been forced to amalgamate or accept students of both sexes for economic reasons. Their enrolments were dropping to a level which threatened their existence. Concern was expressed by parents, alumni and teachers that this change would have a detrimental effect on student achievement and school atmosphere. One solution has been to establish single-sex classes within coeducational schools. There is an urgent need to evaluate such innovations to learn whether they are cost-effective. This article examines the research evidence on the coeducational/single-sex schooling debate and will draw conclusions and implications for teaching and school organisation.

REVIEW OF RESEARCH
Coeducational/single-sex schooling comparisons are hampered by the problem of selecting equivalent schools of each type of gender-based student enrolment. In other words, because single-sex schools are more likely to be non-government, fee- paying schools, their students often come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, with parents who are more directly involved in their education, than students attending coeducational...
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