Academics in Single Sex Education

Many supporters of single-sex education hold that it can help students learn more effectively.

Several studies show that single-sex groupings deliver advantages to students. Dr Rowe, a Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research, presented the VCE Data Project – a population study of 270,000 Year 12 students’ achievements on 53 subjects of the Victorian Certificate of Education over a 6-year period (1994-1999). The findings indicated that after adjusting for measures of students’ ‘abilities’ and school sector (government, Catholic and independent), the achievements of boys and girls in single-sex environments were, on average, 15-22 percentile TER ranks higher than the achievements of their counterparts in co-educational settings.

According to defenders of coeducation, segregated learning facilities are inherently unequal. System bias will reinforce gender stereotypes and perpetuate societal inequalities in opportunities afforded to males and females. Single-sex schools in fact accentuate gender-based educational limitations and discrimination. Boys' schools do not offer cheerleading or home economics classes, while girls' schools do not offer football or wood shop.

However, gender roles can be subverted in a single-sex environment; boys will be more likely to pursue the arts, and girls more likely to pursue math and science. Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir, an Icelandic educator who introduced single-sex kindergarten to Iceland in 1989, stated: "Both sexes seek tasks they know. They select behavior they know and consider appropriate for their sex. In mixed [i.e. coed] schools, each sex monopolizes its sex-stereotyped tasks and behavior so the sex that really needs to practice new things never gets the opportunity. Thus, mixed-sex schools support and increase the old traditional roles." In one school which shifted from coeducation to single sex education, the girls who once didn't want to take up playing the trumpet, took courage to take it up in the single sex system and became very good at it.

Without the presence of the opposite sex, students will be less distracted from their academics.

Female graduates of single-sex schools go on to achieve greatness in typically male-dominated careers and statistically obtain more high-ranking positions in Fortune 1000 companies than girls who were educated in a co-educational setting.