A just-released report from Arizona suggests that it might. Officials at Anderson Junior High School say that four years of single-sex education have increased boys' test scores. Boys' scores increased from:
- 62 to 69 percent in reading
- 77 to 84 percent in math
- 55 to 73 percent in writing
But it's not enough to just separate boys and girls into different classrooms. According to Dr. Leonard Sax, a vocal supporter of single-sex eduction, boys and girls must be taught differently. "If you put a teacher with no preparation into an all-boys classroom and she still expects the boys to sit still and be quiet, you're not going to get good results," Sax said. "In fact, you may have trouble."
If the teachers are aware of the learning differences between boys and girls, though, the results can be almost magical. At Anderson, teachers in all-boy classrooms utilized competive learning environments, physical movement and visual lesson plans.
Dr. Sax believes that young boys stand to gain even more than older boys from single-sex classrooms. "What's best for a five-year-old girl is different from what's best for a five-year-old boy," Sax says. "The most dramatic success stories we have of huge jumps in grades and test scores and drops in discipline referrals are at the elementary school level."
Think there aren't any single-sex elementary classes where you live? You may be wrong. According to Dr. Sax, just 11 public schools were offering single-sex classroom in 2002. Today, there are over 500. For a complete list, visit www.singlesexschools.org.
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