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Single-sex education is the practice of teaching boys and girls in separate courses, sometimes in different buildings or institutions. In the United States, the case for separating boys and girls in classes and schools is gaining traction.
Separating students by gender, according to some, caters to each gender's unique demands; improves student achievement, and helps youngsters of the opposite sex appreciate each other more. This position is supported by a growing amount of research and information.
Single-gender public schools were virtually unheard of 25 years ago, but more and more school districts are experimenting with them. According to "The New York Times," in the mid-1990s, there were just two single-gender public schools.
In 2011, over 500 public schools in 40 states have begun to provide some single-sex academic subjects and, in some cases, entirely single-sex institutions. A few education experts, like Michael Gurian and child psychologist Leonard Sax, did research, gave talks, and held workshops that helped the movement grow.
- Stetson University published a study of elementary school boys in 2008 that found that 85 percent in single-sex classrooms did well on a standardized test, while only 55 percent of coed boys did well.
- When a Seattle, Washington, elementary school transitioned from coed to single-sex education, the number of reading-proficient boys increased from 20% to 66%.
- The brains of both genders develop at different rates and have varied strengths. A federal survey found that 17-year-old girls outnumber 17-year-old boys by 31% of a standard deviation. At that age, that amounts to about a grade level of female supremacy. In science and math, however, those same girls fall 22–10% behind their male counterparts.
These disparities between boys and girls are accommodated in effective single-sex classrooms. Because girls' hearing is more acute than boys' at the age of 12, and girls learn best in silent settings, Girl's teachers should strive to keep the classroom quiet.
However, Boys' teachers should roam around the room and raise their voices, and boys should be allowed to yell responses because that is how they learn best. Gender disparities must be taken into consideration in the curriculum. In reading, girls may master more difficult reading lessons sooner than boys, and the opposite is true in arithmetic.