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Single-Sex Classrooms in 2014
posted by: Ruthie | February 11, 2014, 04:19 PM   

In an effort to remove distractions and enhance learning, several Washington, D.C. area public schools are
experimenting with classes by separating boys and girls into single-sex learning environments. The practice is becoming a new trend in education reform.

According to the National Association for Single-Sex Public Education, during the 2012 school year alone, nearly 500 public schools in the United States offered single-sex educational opportunities. The system is not just limited to private prep schools or parochial schools. All-girls or all-boys charter schools are becoming more and more prevalent, as are single gender fitness classes.

In Maryland, 20% of C. James Gholson Middle School’s classes are separated by gender. The school’s principal reports rising test scores, attributed at least partially to single-gender learning.

Supporters of single-sex classes, like Kathy Piechura Couture an education professor at the University of Florida, said students report greater focus on learning when students aren’t distracted by other genders. Students can focus on academics without worrying about certain social dynamics with the opposite sex.

One student, Paradise Kelly, a Gholson eighth-grader, commented on single-sex classrooms, saying, “I didn’t think it was going to work at all, but it did.” She continued, “It seemed like it was going to be a lot of drama” with all girls in class, “but it’s not a lot of confusion.” She continued to explain that she can concentrate and learn more now.

However, critics like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argue that separating students by gender is a violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs.

Similarly, Shibley Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said separating students might not adequately prepare them for college and careers. She said, “One of the major purposes of school is to prepare students for the adult world, and that world is co-ed. I think we do a disservice to students by not preparing them for the adult world.”

As with any education reform, certain practices and environments work with certain students and teachers. Separating the sexes in some classes is a tool for many leaders to experiment with.

What do you think about single-sex classrooms? 
Comment below.




Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Ginger Brindley, Hagerstown, MD, February 17, 2014

I recall that they did this in a few of our middle schools a few years ago and also saw a rise in test scores, not to mention the discipline issues were greatly diminished.

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