Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Single-sex schooling does not improve academic performance and can lead to gender stereotyping, study finds

Date:
September 23, 2011
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
Social scientists have found that there is no well-designed research that demonstrates that single-sex schools improve student's academic performance. However, there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping among children and teachers and legitimizes institutional sexism.

While many parents chose to put their children in single-sex schools and anecdotal evidence may show these schools perform excellently, there is no well-designed research that demonstrates that these schools improve student's academic performance. There is, however, evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping among children and teachers and legitimizes institutional sexism.

These findings are the focus of a new article that examines "The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling," published in the Sept. 23, 2011, issue of the journal Science. Authored by researchers in ASU's School of Social and Family Dynamics and social scientists from other universities, the article presents information for parents to consider when they are choosing an educational setting for their children.

Teaching boys and girls separately has become increasingly popular during recent years with at least 500 public school single-sex classrooms currently in the United States.

"Though public sentiment may have strengthened in support of such settings for improving the learning environment and outcomes for both boys and girls, the science is just not there to support this," said Richard Fabes, an author of the Science article and director of the School of Social and Family Dynamics in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Fabes and the other co-authors cite evidence to the contrary, including a U.S. Department of Education review comparing single-sex and coeducational outcomes, which concluded that results of both are equal. Similar large-scale reviews in Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand found little overall difference between single-sex and mixed-sex academic outcomes.

In addition, claims that boys and girls learn differently is not supported by brain research since neuroscientists have found few sex differences in children's brains beyond the larger volume of boys' brains and the earlier completion of girls' brain growth, neither of which is known to relate to learning, the article states. Differences among the sexes can grow in sex-segregated environments, making positive interactions between boys and girls constrained, the social scientists write. "Positive and cooperative interaction with members of other groups is an effective method for improving intergroup relationships," according to the authors. There is evidence, however, that sex segregation increases gender divisions among children, according to the article. "Separating boys and girls in public school classrooms makes gender very salient, and this salience reinforces stereotypes and sexism," Fabes said.

The social scientists noted that research shows that children exposed to environments where individuals are labeled and segregated along some characteristic -- gender, eye color, or randomly assigned t-shirt groups -- infer that the groups differ in important ways and develop biases in their individual groups. "Is it ever good to segregate on the basis of race, income or age? I think the answer is no," Fabes said. "There is no good evidence that it is ever a good time to separate and segregate. Any form of segregation undermines rather than promotes equality."

The lead author is Diane F. Halpern of Claremont McKenna College. Other authors include ASU social scientists Carol Lynn Martin and Laura Hanish, Lise Eliot of the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University, Rebecca S. Bigler of the University of Texas at Austin, Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin -- Madison and Lynn S. Liben of Pennsylvania State University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. F. Halpern, L. Eliot, R. S. Bigler, R. A. Fabes, L. D. Hanish, J. Hyde, L. S. Liben, C. L. Martin. The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling. Science, 2011; 333 (6050): 1706 DOI: 10.1126/science.1205031

Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Single-sex schooling does not improve academic performance and can lead to gender stereotyping, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110922141902.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2011, September 23). Single-sex schooling does not improve academic performance and can lead to gender stereotyping, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110922141902.htm
Arizona State University. "Single-sex schooling does not improve academic performance and can lead to gender stereotyping, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110922141902.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Sex Segregation in Schools Detrimental to Equality

Sep. 22, 2011 Students who attend sex-segregated schools are not necessarily better educated than students who attend coeducational schools, but they are more likely to accept gender stereotypes, according to a ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins