What Is the Effect of Single Sex Versus Co-Educational Schooling for Boys and Girls? Article Review

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What is the effect of single-sex vs. co-educational schooling for boys and girls?

The role of single-sex vs. co-educational schooling in the friendship style, academic performance and social behaviour of girls and boys is the topic of discussion. Research studies and arguments that support both types of academic set up are reviewed. The results indicate that single sex schools seem to provide benefits from both the social and academic angles. This does not imply that single-sex schools are advocated as the best types of schools because the benefits of co-education schools are also wide ranging. Limitations of current research are discussed and areas for further research focusing on other parameters for investigation are offered.

Effects of single-sex vs. educational schooling


Single-sex education refers to the exercise of teaching female and male students in separate institutions for example a given high school only admitting male students. This exercise was famous in the previous centuries where education was regarded as only for male students mostly in high schools and colleges as it was advocated by many cultures on the basis of religion and culture. Presently, many parts of the world still practice single sex education and the developing interest in the same is seconded by research in education. Single-sex education is also regarded as single-gender education. Chrisler and McCreary (2010)

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posit that co-education schooling on the other hand refers to a system of education whereby both boys and girls attend the same institution. The set-up is not segregated and resources are available to all groups' even races. Both girls and boys are in the same set up and receive the same lessons being offered (Riordan, 2011). The emergence of the new gender gap between girls and boys in academic performance in tests and examinations has raised the attention of researchers, policy makers and the media on the performance of girls and boys in different school set-ups.

Academic performance

Article Review on What Is the Effect of Single Sex Versus Co-Educational Schooling for Boys and Girls? Assignment

Studies to compare single-sex education with co-education for girls and boys focus on test scores and grades as parameters of importance during investigation. Covington (2008)

conducted a research which indicated that the gender composition of the classroom impacts more on boys than the gender composition of the school while for girls the gender composition of the school was more important. For the case of boys, they make more progress for the language subjects such as English in co-educational classes while girls make progress in mathematics while in single-sex than co-educational schools. Single sex schools offering secondary education evidenced higher educational achievements and aspirations compared to co-educational schools. All studies carried out to determine the effects of the two school set ups found single-sex schooling favouring girls than boys. Parties that support the controversial topic of single sex education argue that students are able to perform better and graduate with good scores as well find solutions to difficulties that arise due to any gender behaviour Skelton, Francis, & Smulyan, 2006.

Co-educational institutions also offer parallel education whereby core subjects are sometimes taught separately on the basis of gender. This includes subjects such as sex education which offers reason for separation. Advantages of single-sex education as examined by a study specially made by the United States indicated that girls are presented with custom made instruction and learning that provides with expanded educational opportunity and greater autonomy in heterosexual relationships. Boys on the other hand, would have more diverse role models of the same sex and feel at liberty to find their identity and therefore participate in art subjects such as poetry and music Park, Behrman, & Choi, 2012()

Social behaviour

Most educational institutions in the past years were single-sex especially in most part of Europe though the situation still exits currently in the United Kingdom. Riordan 2011()

asserts that boys and girls studied separately with support of the argument that presence of members of the other gender presented opportunities for distractions as well as encourage misconduct. This argument co-education schooling leads to distractions is however not total wrong as evidenced by students whereby they engage in other mischievous activities that are not at all beneficial to their studies such as early dating. The single-sex school format offers opportunities that do not exist in co-educational schooling for example teachers can employ certain strategies in an all- girl on boy classroom which would not succeed in a gender mixed classroom Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2011.

Sears (2005)

states that this requires professional development and training in order to have good results through following best practices and not simply putting boys and girls in separate classes. Those against the topic base their evidence on the fact that such separation could lead to increased prejudice and the students suffer the consequences of not developing social skills. The students develop not knowing how to approach the opposite sex and because of this deficiency, unwanted social morals such as homosexuality develop. For the society to deal with such upcoming issues we have to identify the root cause for such behaviour and mitigate the problem.

Supporters of single sex education state that boys and girls need to be educated separately because of gender differences and behaviour in a learning set up. This argument is seconded by the fact that the brain of females and males develop differently and therefore the educator is able to satisfy the different needs according to gender. At the end of it all it amount to the choice of an individual to learn from any given institution whether single-sex or co-educational. When focused no amount of distractions will deter a pupil from achieving his or her academic targets.

Friendship style

Advocates of co-education argue that establishment of single-sex education is misguided and justified by weak scientific claims rather than valid scientific evidence. There is evidence that sex separation legalizes sexism in institutions and the rise of gender stereotypes rather than upgrade a students' academic performance. This is because of hiring staff members with preference to the academic institution for example female teachers for a female school and the reverse Education., 2005.

Co-educational supporters argue that separation is not the root cause for success in education but the motivation of resources both quantitatively and qualitatively. By being separated from the opposite sex, students are not prepared to tackle the real situation communicate in different interactive set-ups. Co-educational school set ups on the other hand breaks down sexist attitudes through free interactions with the opposite sex under a supervised intellectual level. This presents the students with an opportunity to develop a critical view and respect for the opposite sex rather than physical differences. Co-educational institutions create an atmosphere of mutual respect and safety as opposed to separation that encourages fear and stereotyping Riordan et al., 2008.

On friendship style it is important to have friends of the opposite sex. This creates a sense of community and improves self-esteem. Students have positive role models with increased opportunity to provide moral and social guidance.

In a state such as Louisiana separation in institutions was on the basis of race between whites and blacks and in such a case single-sex education faces opposition because of the idea that it allows for further detrimental prejudices. Single-sex education is also a common occurrence in religious based institutions mostly in countries where the majority of the population are Muslims, where this practice has been present for hundreds of years whereby the Sharia law doesn't allow for mingling of members of the opposite sex in educational set ups. The only exceptions are where private schools offer co-education, or secular schools rather than religions ones.

Even after consideration of background factors of student's academic capabilities, both girls and boys still performed better in single sex schools as compared to co-educational schools because the benefits were reliable and more for both parties especially girls and boys who performed on average. For better performing males, there is no empirical evidence that shows the effect of the school type. Girls in single sex schools are more likely to engage in subjects that are considered more male such as physics instead of home science and therefore counter the societal stereotype that there is a distinction between male and female subjects. Boys on the other hand are not affected in any way in any given school set up Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2011.

In developing countries these studies are limited by the number of students attending school majority being boys. Inadequate research applauds single-sex education instead of the unconnected factors that also matter during education such as a student's background.


It is seen from the arguments and evidence presented, there is an almost equal indifference on the issue if segregation and co-education in educational institutions. On both ideologies there is a wide sphere of advantages and disadvantages. Though academic performance is significantly higher in single-sex schools, many argue that an education entails more than merely academic superiority but credit is dully given to single-sex schools on their levels of performance. This is especially seen in girl child education… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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