Do you believe same gender classes raise student achievement?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you believe same gender classes raise student achievement?

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This question reflects a very old debate about same gender classes. Some people feel that the distraction of the opposite sex affects student achievement levels. This may be true for teenagers but does the theory hold water with younger children? The majority of teachers polled believe that, for whatever reason, same gender classes raise student achievement.

Teenagers with raging hormones can indeed be distracted by members of the opposite sex. If time is being spent ogling the student three desks over it's pretty hard to concentrate on the teacher's lesson. Does this happen often and does it have a significant, statistical affect on student grades? According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education (NAASSPE) is does and it makes a difference at all grade levels.

Same sex classrooms were studied at all grade levels where teachers were trained with specific strategies to approach same-gender classes. All other parameters such as class size and demographics were matched in the study groups. The results were dramatic. Test scores were monitored and almost 50% more boys in single sex classes scored in the proficient range than those in co-ed classes. The girl's results were less dramatic, but still significant, with an increase of slightly less than 20% for single sex versus co-ed.

This seems to prove what the majority of teachers believe: same gender classes do raise student achievement levels. It certainly goes beyond the issue of distraction. Boys and girls have been shown to learn differently and forcing them both into the same mold does not provide the best benefit to either, although girls seem to fair a little better.

There are so many basic differences in learning styles and preferences between boys and girls that it's not surprising they would perform better in classes geared toward their gender specific style. Even reading material varies widely between boys and girls. Most librarians will tell you that girls prefer fiction and boys are attracted to non-fiction.

Is it feasible to completely alter the public education system to segregate boys and girls into gender specific classrooms? That is a question for school districts, teachers and parents to decide. Coed classrooms have been in existence since the time of one room school houses and affecting such a monumental change will take time and effort. Perhaps the effort is worth the result.