Friday, August 28, 2009

Single-sex classrooms improve rural boys' grades

Independence Middle School sixth graders in Raleigh County, West Virginia, began classes this week in gender-specific rooms. According to Jackie Ayres of The Register-Herald in Beckley, the students will receive separate instruction in the core subjects of math, science, social studies and history. Independence is the first school in the county to try gender-based education, Ayres reports.

Ayres reports there are 540 U.S. public schools with gender-based classes, adopted mainly in search of better gradess and test scores. She quotes Leonard Sax, executive director of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education: "We're accustomed to seeing kids improve 30 or 40 percent in single-sex classes." Katie Scarvey of the Salisbury Post in North Carolina reported in March that Salisbury High School was experiencing similar success in gender specific algebra classes. Scarvey reports that the consensus among an all-male algebra course was clear: "It's easier to concentrate on math in an all-male environment." (Post photo by Jon C. Lakey)

Ayres reports a 300 percent improvement by male students at Anne Bailey Elementary in Kanawha County, W.Va. Sax told her that wealthy families shouldn't be the only ones who have the option of sending their children to all-boy or all-girl schools: "Kids are all different. We are not saying that single-sexed education is best for every child. What we are saying is that parents should have a choice.”

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