A recent study conducted in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago suggests that single sex schooling may be beneficial only for girls who “prefer a single sex environment,” but is not “inherently beneficial for boys or most girls” (Education Week). The study attempted to show that girls who attended a single sex school from 6th to 10th grade would score higher on a standardized test. It focused entirely on academic performance and did not analyze social development.
The benefits of single sex education have been under close scrutiny since No Child Left Behind allowed states to “fund programs to provide same-gender schools and classrooms” in 2002. So far, attempts to determine whether single sex education is beneficial to boys, girls, or both have been inconclusive.
Determining the pros and cons of single sex education is notoriously difficult because of the variety of variables involved, including the fact that most children in single sex schools are there by choice, and that curricula tends to vary widely between coed and single sex programs.
Dr. Leonard Sax, an advocate for single sex schools, called single sex education “an opportunity” for teachers to utilize different teaching styles tailored for girls or boys and their learning styles. But some are concerned that this attitude could lead to stereotyping of girls and boys and limit their educational opportunities.
In the end, single sex schools are probably similar to coed schools– there are excellent ones, terrible ones, and much of their success or failure has a lot to do with individual teachers and students rather than an overarching philosophy about segregating the sexes.
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