Argument for & against single-sex schools

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in single-sex education. Many people have begun to voice opinions on the positives or negatives associated with single-sex education. One thing is for certain, there are many arguments for and against single-sex education.

Pro: Single-Sex Education Increases Student Achievement

Single-sex education leads to increased student achievement in some subjects. Females perform better when they are not competing with males. In coeducational classes, females feel pressure to act dumb so that they won't appear brainy to the males in class. They don't feel this pressure in a single-sex environment. Males don't feel pressure to try to impress females by clowning or acting out in the classroom. Greater attention is directed toward academic gains in the single-sex environment.

Pro: Single-Sex Education Increases Attendance Frequency

Some people think that single-sex education leads to an increase in the frequency of attendance. The students in single-sex classes enjoy the learning environment more, and therefore, want to attend school.

Pro: Single Sex Education Increases Opportunities for Leadership

Single sex education increases opportunities for leadership, especially for females. In a female single sex environment, females hold leadership positions that they might not have the opportunity to hold in a coeducational environment. Males may be less inhibited to get involved and assume leadership roles in the absence of females.

Con: Single-Sex Education Leads to Instilling Stereotypes

Single-sex educational environment inadvertently leads to the reinforcement of stereotypes. Assigning all individuals of one gender to a class and using gender-based instructional techniques is evidence that it is assumed that all students of one gender are alike and will respond in like fashion. Just because a boy is in the boys' class, does not mean that he is interested in physical activities and the use of manipulatives. Likewise, all girls are not interested in collaborative activities that are used in girls' classes.

Con: Single-Sex Education Does Not Parallel Real Life

The educational experience should parallel real life. Real life means having to interact in a co-ed world. Single-sex education prevents students from developing social skills necessary for a co-ed world. Students of both genders should learn to work, think, learn and play together during the formative years.

Con: Single-Sex Education Groups Unruly Boys Together

Single-sex education groups all rambunctious little boys together so that teaching is almost impossible. A quiet and calm environment is impossible if only boys are in the classroom. A boys' class will not have the benefit of a good learning environment.

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About the Author

Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.