Single Sex Education vs Co-education

The debate between single sex education and co-education continues. In this Single Sex Education vs Co-education post we will look at some of the arguments for and against each to determine which type of education is really better or if there is enough evidence to decide. Naturally there are statistics both for and against single sex education, depending on who is providing the statistics and evidence. Possibly the most important factor affecting how effective single sex education vs co-education is, is the amount of preparation put into making the class a success. By this we mean that if classes are simply separated into an all boys class and an all girls class, without changing the teaching methods or anything else, the classes are not likely to see any significant difference compared to the co-education classes.

Statistics for single sex education vs co-education can be skewed either way depending on the schools being surveyed; for example a New York Times article from September 2011 states that “Single-sex education is ineffective, misguided and may actually increase gender stereotyping…” the article goes on to describe what some feel the problems are with the research and studies that have been done and even some of the problems they feel are created by the single sex education. Whether having classes of all boys or all girls provides a place of security and safety or just feeds into the aggression of boys, for instance, is still a matter of debate. Nevertheless, giving parents and students the opportunity to select a single sex education class if that is what is desired is a priority for many people.

On the flip side, the evidence from the National Association for Single Sex Public Education (NASSPE) is very different. The argument from the NASSPE is that given the right preparation and environment the results, test results specifically, that come from single sex education compared to co-education is tremendous. The evidence page on the NASSPE website details results that they found from controlled studies factoring in teacher training, demographics of the class, curriculum, and a number of other factors. They then provide the evidence showing that students in the single sex education classes outperform co-education classes by a substantial amount. They continue their evidence supporting single sex education by talking to students that have been involved in single sex education classes to get a feel for how the student felt about the environment and related the positive experience the students related.

As with any debate there are always two sides to the story and the information you gather is going to vary according to whom you are talking to. As with any education choices, be it homeschool vs public school, or debating the pros and cons of school uniforms, the more research you do and then apply your findings to the specific person in question, the easier it will be to make a decision about what is best for that student. There is no one right answer that is the best for everyone. Each person is unique and has different needs and learning styles. The debate between single sex education vs co-education is likely to continue for many years to come and choosing the best education for you or your child is a matter that must be decided today. Take into consideration the findings from the studies but then talk to the teachers, visit the location, and get a feel for the exact situation you will be dealing with to find the best choice for your educational needs.

Sources:  singlesexschools.org, nytimes.com