Single-Sex School Education: Pros and Cons

Category: Classroom, Gender, School
Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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Single-sex school has not been a stranger to us even from back in those old days. It practically shows how gender differences and effects caused by it had largely impacted on the society. People learnt how the attraction between Adam and Eve kind brings a lot of many things, including the separation of these two kinds through - one of the most important thing to the society, the education.

single sex school example

According to the article ‘What is Single Sex Education? Defining Single-Gender Education’ by Amanda Morin, Single-Sex education are the practice of educating girls and boys in separate classes or schools. Just like many other co-educational schools, single-sex ones are no exception to the ‘villains and angels’ of this issue. There has been a lot of discussion regarding the pros and cons of single-sex school, which would be my focus in the essay. Pro, based on the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, are something that are in favour of. Hence, con would be the opposite meaning of pro, meaning disadvantages of something, issues or problems.

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Before 1900, education in America was contained largely within a single-sex framework (Bracey, 2007). That structure was the result of societal views, expectations, and opportunities for each gender. As a rule, males required greater formalized education to facilitate their expected worldly occupations, and females received a much less formalized education, rich in the practical skills necessary for their anticipated domestic life. Males and females required such different educational experiences and subject matter that they were educated separately (Cohen, 2000).

There were long and storied history in American higher education about single-sex colleges and universities where a few original colleges in U. S. existed – though that is to educate men only. However, in the early 1800s several seminaries for women were founded to provide girls with a liberal education. Post Civil War has also produced the women's colleges of the Northeast, whom been wishing to demonstrate that women were as capable of achieving advanced education as were men. By 1950 the percentage of women in higher education dropped to a low of 30 percent, and enrolment at many of the single-sex institutions began to decline.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a more pronounced shift away from single-sex institutions toward coeducation. The history of one’s place or issue could probably make us understand better, whereas would help us to elaborate more on the matter. The focus in this essay would be the advantages and disadvantages of single-sex school, from two different perspectives – academically, and socially.


As we all know it, boys and girls inhibit and exhibit different learning style and learning outcomes. Research has shown that boys and girls brains are different, they are programmed to learn distinct ways.

It is not saying that one gender is inferior to the other, they are just different. Single sex education has been shown to reduce stereotypes based on gender rather than promote them. Factors such as smaller classrooms and teacher training are factors of a good school and many single sex schools offer those variables, in addition to offering different and specialized teaching styles which also may improve the quality of education.

From the book entitled ‘Early Implementation of Public Single-Sex School : Perceptions and Characteristics’ , its study team has contacted all 20 schools the U.S. Department of Education identified as public single-sex schools in 2003. It shows academic behaviours in 164 single-sex classrooms and 45 coed classrooms in the single-sex and coed schools visited. Students in the single-sex elementary, middle, high schools, were more likely to complete homework than were students in the coed comparison elementary and middle school, but no study on high school were included. One public charter school in Northeast Indianapolis namely Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, segregates academic classes for its younger students.

Overall, the policy has been positive, resulting in better grades and fewer distractions. On the social side of this matter, Rosemary Salomone, professor of law at St. John’s University and author of the 2003 book Same, Different, Equal: Rethinking Single-Sex Schooling, said that: “Many students in single-sex classes report feeling more comfortable raising their hands and expressing uncertainty regarding a lesson or topic without fear of embarrassment or teasing from the opposite sex. ” Boys tend to soften up and become more collaborative as they can just be boys and not worry about what the girls might think in a single sex setting.

Girls become competitive, bold, and a risk-taker which also give girls the opportunity to take on leadership roles and interact with women in positions of leadership. National Coalition of Girls' Schools had conducted a survey which 93% of the women surveyed felt that they had more leadership opportunities and that 63% felt they were well-prepared for the "real world. "


On the surface, it is undeniably true that most single-sex schools do well academically, by saying that the gender gap between girls and boys has been overcome. However, by separating them, the gender gap are still there, but not always seen.

Over the past 10 years, 130 independent schools that taught girls and boys separately have either become co-educational or closed. Some schools now offer single-sex lessons in an attempt to close the gender gap that has seen girls overtake boys in achievement. This gender gap is about the fact where boys are always lagging behind girls, and if practiced through placing them in a same sex school, it should probably causes the fact that all-boys’ school lagging behind all-girls’ school. From the article ‘All-boys school are not the answer’ by Oli De Botton, in practice, the single-sex question is a distraction from what really matters.

It sounds obvious, but both boys and girls will do better if they are taught better by excellent teachers. That means skilled teachers whom can attract and teach the students well – regardless of their gender. Kids that are able of responding to all learning environments are better, which they can break out from their comfort zone. Let boys and girls learn together, taught by the best teachers we can find. A new report, published in the journal Science, states that single-sex schools’ students are no better educated than those who attend co-ed schools.

The study has also noted that a review commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education found only, little overall difference in academic outcomes between children in single-sex schools versus those in co-ed schools. The professor of psychology and education at Penn state, Lynn Liben says that "There's really no good evidence that single-sex schools are in any way academically superior, but there is evidence of a negative impact," Another disadvantage would be students’ socialization. The article ‘Co-ed vs. Single-sex schools’ by ULS. com has said that a wider range of people allows the interaction of students of both sexes which allow them to learn how to work and talk to people of the opposite sex.

This, though does not happen in a single-sex school causing lack social skills of the students of a single-sex school. Furthermore, the all-boys and all-girls situation might lead to other case such as homosexual. Ghanaweb. com has reported that how their Ghana Education Service has conceded that single-sex schools in Ghana are becoming the place where homosexuals breed. Stephen Adu, the Deputy Director General of the GES told Citi News, that he disagree to the way of dealing with the situation with converting such schools into mixed school. Instead he thinks holistic approach is required to deal with the situation.

He added, “I will agree that homosexuality and lesbianism started with single-sex schools. It has become prevalent and so more people have become aware of it. This is just one of the many problems we have in our educational system".


In my opinion, single-sex school is neither good or bad. It is the matter of how people work, consider and tolerate it. Elizabeth Weil, in her article titled ‘Teaching Boys and Girls Separately’ stated that the United States Department of Education, along with the American Institute for Research, published a meta-analysis comparing single-sex and coed schooling.

The authors started out with 2,221 citations on the subject that they then whittled down to 40 usable studies. Yet even those 40 studies did not yield strong results: 41 percent favored single-sex schools, 45 percent found no positive or negative effects for either single-sex or coed schools, 6 percent were mixed (meaning they found positive results for one gender but not the other) and 8 percent favored coed schools. I have one friend of mine, ex single-sex’s school student, whom has such different way of thinking. She’s a feminist, has such a hard time trusting guys and has limited social skills.

She doesn’t know how to interact with boys especially, even with the girls sometimes. This is what I can see from her. My evaluation and interpretation might be wrong as I am not an expert. As academically, she’s a perfectionist, hardworking, competitive and a bright student indeed. But her low self-esteem and lack of social skills penetrated her from speaking in class as she doesn’t have the ability of delivering what she wanted to say. What I can see is that single-sex school benefit so much on the academic side, as students really focuses on studying because there is no other distraction and attraction at school.

They really want to compete with each other, curious and wanting to know their ability because they think they have the same capabilities, just at different levels. However, it is sad to compare to their socialization, because single-sex school changes the way they think. They got used to the all-girls or all-boys situation that they end up being sexist, which then later lead to cases like homosexuals.


Boys and girls are obviously different in nature, and vary in their likings and favourites. What people do not know is a little bit of understanding in these differences could bring such a vast improvement on students.

Socialization and academic are both important, and must be balanced well in order to have a fully accomplished life. Pros and Cons are unavoidable where we can’t really choose the good one instead of the bad one but to accept both willingly and somehow work with it.


  • References : RMC Research Corporation Portland, Ore. (August, 2008).  Early Implementation of Public Single-Sex Schools : Perceptions and Characteristics.
  • Bradley, K. (n. d. ) The Impact of Single-Sex Education on the Performance of First and Second Grade PUBLIC School Students.
  • Kreyden, V. (March, 2011). Multiple benefits of single-sex classes.  Retrieved from : http://blogs. indystar. com/ypress/2011/03/01/multiple-benefits-of-single-sex-classes/
  • Morin, A. (n. d. ) What is Single-Sex Education? :Defining Single-Gender Education.Retrieved from : http://childparenting. about. com/od/schoollearning/a/what-is-single-sex-education-def. htm
  • Weil, E. (March, 2008). Teaching Boys and Girls Separately. Retrieved from : http://www. nytimes. com/2008/03/02/magazine/02sex3-t. html? pagewanted=all (e-news) APPENDICES

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Single-Sex School Education: Pros and Cons. (2017, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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