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Single-Sex Schools Don't Work AND They Make Kids Sexist

girls and education, boys and education

Study finds single-sex classrooms don't achieve better academic outcomes. But they do make you sexist.

In a desperate effort to raise test scores and improve education, some schools serving at-risk kids decided to segregate classes between the sexes. Some defended this action, saying boys and girls learn differently and that teachers could be more in your face with the boys classes and more talkative and less competitive in the girls.

But there’s actually no proof that single-sex education is more conducive to learning. And a new study even found that it makes kids sexist.

Although a lot of single-sex schools are notorious for giving their students a great education, a new study published in the journal, Science, concluded that this stellar student performance wasn’t achieved by segregating the sexes. In fact, the Science study found, earlier research touting the benefits of single-sex education didn’t adequately account for different socio-economic differences. So high-achieving single-sex schools in wealthier areas — populated by students who would have done well in traditional schools — made the enterprise of dividing the boys and girls appear to have a greater impact on student performance than it actually did.

Which is not to say single-sex schools achieve worse outcomes — there’s not evidence that they do. However, the international study did find single-sex schools and classes had a detrimental effect on the students by reinforcing gender stereotypes.

Here’s what the Telegraph reported about the study:

The authors of the study wrote: “The strongest argument against single sex education is that it reduces boys’ and girls’ opportunities to work together in a supervised, purposeful environment.”

Boys who spend more time in each other’s company are more likely to become aggressive and develop behavioural problems, while isolating girls can lead them to accept gender stereotypes, they said.

Research conducted last year showed that after two weeks of teachers lining children up by gender and asking them to post their work on different bulletin boards in the classroom, boys and girls began to have more stereotyped attitudes towards one another and play less with pupils of the opposite sex.

Related posts:

Girls improve learning for both sexes

Single-sex preschool (got your reinforced stereotypes right here!)

Do your kids attend single-sex schools or learn in gender-segregated classrooms? Would you ever consider it?

Photo: Babble

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