Pros and Cons of Single-Sex Education – Niche Blog

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If you are looking for the pros and cons of single gender schools, then you have landed on just the perfect article.

Pros of Single Sex Schools

This Buzzle article tries to list out the pros and cons of single gender schools to help you derive your own personal opinion about this education system.

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Smithers, A and Robinson, P. (2006) The Paradox of Single-Sex and Co-educational Schooling, (Buckingham, Carmichael Press) 42
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Elwood, J. and Gipps, C. (1999) Review of recent research on the achievement of girls in single-sex schools. London: Institute of Education University of London.

Pros and Cons of Single-Sex Education

Deem, R. (ed) (1984) Co-education reconsidered. Milton Keynes, Open University Press: This is one of the first edited collections on the issues around co-education and single-sex schooling.

What are the pros and cons of single-sex education? - …

According to one estimate, thousands of U.S. public schools offered single-sex academic classes during the 2009–10 school year.
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In order to assess how important the gender of a school’s intake is for academic attainment, it is crucial to compare like with like. In other words, to compare schools that are the same in all regards other than whether they are single-sex or co-educational. In practice, this is impossible to do. Schools differ in a host of ways, including in terms of the pupils’ social backgrounds, the past attainment of students who enter the school, the way the school is managed, the school ethos, the skills of the teachers and so on. Whilst researchers can select schools for their studies that are as similar as possible to one another, and attempt to control for certain differences when undertaking their analyses, it is not possible to control for all differences.

What are the pros and cons of single-sex education

Problems of comparing like with like are exacerbated by the fact that single-sex schools are often located in particular sectors of the education system. For example, in England most single-sex schools are in the private sector, and this positioning largely accounts for their high rankings in the performance tables. Similarly, in the USA there are few public single-sex schools, as single-sex schooling was seen to violate, in spirit, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (although changes to the legislation in 2006 offer communities more flexibility in terms of single-sex state provision). So, overall, comparing like with like is very difficult, if not impossible, to do.


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Advocates of single-sex schooling frequently point to school league tables as evidence of the academic superiority of single-sex schools. For example, according to tables compiled by BBC News, nine out of ten of the best-performing secondary schools in England in 2006 were single-sex, and seven of these were girls’ schools. Whilst press reports of such patterns may reinforce the perceptions of many parents that single-sex schools are better academically than co-educational schools – particularly for girls – research evidence from around the world suggests a more complex picture.

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Throughout the history of gender and education, schools have been viewed as important sites for social change and places to foster the development of more equal societies with less oppressive social conditions for women. There are different ways to approach the question about the benefits of single sex schools. Some feminist academics argue that women need to have academic success before they can take up roles in public domains and so influence laws, policies and the conditions of all women within society. According to the first position single sex schools may give girls the edge in academic success because lessons can be designed to tap into girls’ interests and so motivate them specifically in subjects that have masculine connotations such as the sciences. Others argue that schools should be places that model equality and so provide young people with early experiences and knowledge of gender equality, otherwise they will reproduce the unequal gender patterns that they encounter outside school in their later lives. According to the second position, co-educational schooling may be seen as a route towards greater gender equality. However, given that in most societies, gender inequalities are structural, teachers need to have enough gender awareness to prevent gendered inequalities being imperceptibly reproduced through their pedagogic practice. Hence the continuing need for all teachers to develop gender awareness.

Pros and Cons of Sex Education in Schools | Sex …

The weight of evidence generated by researchers who have come closest to being able to compare like with like in terms of school types suggests that there are numerous variables that influence academic attainment, most notably, the social backgrounds and ability levels of the intake. Furthermore, the research suggests that these factors are more influential in terms of examination results than whether or not a school is single-sex.