Advantages of Single-Sex Schools
According to long term studies of children from around the world, students achieve more and learn better in single sex schools.
An Australian study of 270,000 students found that both boys and girls performed significantly higher on standardized tests when they attended separate schools. During an experiment in Virginia in 1995, 100 eighth graders were separated just for math and science courses. Almost immediately, the girls began to achieve more, become more confident and participate more often in class.
In 2001, a British study conclude that nearly every girl regardless of her ability or socioeconomic status performed better in single sex classrooms than co-ed ones. The study of study of 2954 high schools and 979 primary schools showed that while boys at the lowest ends academically improved the most in single sex schools, single sex education was particularly beneficial to girls. Every one of the top fifty elementary schools and top twenty high schools in Britain are single sex schools.
By using magnetic resonance imaging, (MRI), researchers have begun to literally watch the human brain work. Being able to observe the physical differences between male and female brains as they function, particularly at high level tasks like tests and the SAT exam, have led to understandings in how using different teaching methods specifically designed for each sex work so well.
At an all girls schools, teachers use the latest techniques keeping with the female learning style. The textbooks and other materials don’t have a male bias. Girls are more able to participate in class discussions since there aren’t boys around to dominate as in co-educational schools. Girls become more confident in themselves as students and earn higher scores on their College Board and Advanced Placement examinations.
In addition, having female adult role models, the lack of male favoritism, and the absence of the expectations for girls to be nice, quiet, non-athletic, and passive led to more successful academic careers when girls began college. Professor Robin Robertson said she could identify students from girls only schools on the first day of class. “They were the young women whose hands shot up in the air, who were not afraid to defend their positions, and who assumed I would be interested in their perspective.”
Girls take over all the positions of leadership in an single sex school, whether it’s drama, sports, yearbook, or debate team, and they are more likely to major in math and science in college. After ten years of studying sexism in classrooms, professors Myra and David concluded that girls stay confident and learn more in single sex schools – “where girls are the players, not the audience.”
Almost 90% of girls in co-ed high schools are affected by some form of sexual harassment. Being in an atmosphere that rails against the negative influence of mass media and its troubling depictions of women and girls is nothing but positive for teenage girls during a time when body image and self esteem are most critical.
While single sex education has been illegal in public schools since Title IX passed in 1972, applications and enrollment in private all-girls’ schools has steadily risen. According the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools to enrollment is up 29 percent in member schools, applications increased 40 percent, and more than thirty new schools have opened since 1991. Organized political pressure prevents experiments with single sex classrooms in public schools despite all the research that shows both girls and boys benefit from them. Most public teacher unions are against charter schools because they can be single sex.
A quarter of the female members of Congress and one-third of all female members of Fortune 100 boards graduated from all-women’s colleges. Adult graduates of all-girls high schools and colleges report extreme satisfaction with their education.