What is the impact of single sex – classes on students?


Single sex classes refers to the act of providing or impacting knowledge in a setting where there is only a single gender; that is the act of conducting learning where either male or female attend classes separately in separate building, classes or schools. Various cultures advocate for single sex classes on the foundation of customs and tradition such as religion as conducted in numerous locations in the world. Numerous research, reports and reviews have been presented to educators and the general community with public information concerning the effects of single sex schools on the success, ambitions and perspectives of both boys and girls (U.S department of Education (DOE), 2005). As such, evidence concerning the growing interest in single sex education and the outcomes thereof is at an increasing demand among different stakeholders to enable them formulate and implement appropriate structures and educational reforms for a better future. This research paper will analyze and make conclusion on the impact single sex classes on both male and female students.  In doing so, a thesis will be formed, inclusive of the research questions for the study as well as the importance of this study to the relevant stakeholders in the United States of America.

Research question

The essential question in this study paper is: Should boys and girls be in separate classrooms and does single-sex classes help them learn better? In determining and answering this question an extensive analysis of scholarly materials will be done to make clear cut conclusion on the impact of single sex-classes on students.


Students should be placed in single-sex classes instead of being in coeducational classes. Single-sex classes help avoid the impact of gender differences and have positive effects on the students during learning process.

Theories about learning differences between the boys and girls

Sadowski (2008) notes that there have been numerous theories that have been put forth in the recent times concerning why boys and girls perform differently in schools at various stages of education. This has culminated into a gender war in academics. At one instance there is an outcry that girls are being left, at other times it’s the boys which undoubtedly calls for educational policy makers to approach this issue with much care as to avoid deterioration of education sector. The youth at adolescent stage, may be affected differently in regard to their gender makeup. Some scholars allege that there are some psychological variations between the sexes that are important in creating the impact that is normally felt.

Some of these play an important role particularly in adolescent girls in which most of them become unsure of themselves at the onset of adolescent. The contention is about the materials used in class which are male oriented and dominated hence the girls have less people to identify with. Some research reveal that boys perform better than girls in standardized examinations such as sciences and mathematics and that the boys are better served than the girls. As a result, the performance in relation to the scores obtained is well exhibited and distinguished between the boys and girls. The reports seems to be advocating for separate classes based on the single sex as to eliminate the disparity between the girls’ performance with that of the boys’.

According to biological foundation, by the time youth attain the adolescent stage, they have passed through various experiences through interaction to an extent they are self aware of the disparity between them (Price, 2011). They are normally affected by the biological factors by the manner in which the community relates the boys and girls. In the book “Boys and girls learn differently” the author Michael Gurain illustrates different methods in which boys and girls grow as learners which is traced back to the brain functioning. The author asserts that the maturity of girls’ brains occurs at a faster momentum than the boys. This is the reason why on average girls’ grammar is better than that of boys which corresponds to the verbal abilities, sense of smell, hearing and feeling. All this differences are brought about by the differences in the brain development. In contrast, boys’ brain tends to develop in the right hemisphere which explains why the boys have spatial abilities (Gurain et al., 2001).

In respect to the above theories, boys and girls have different views about the way they view success and failure. Research further reveals that boys view failure as a phenomenon that is unstable and externally caused. But in case of success they view it as internally caused. The opposite is with the girls who view failure as internally caused while success as externally caused. In this respect therefore, more advocacies for single sex class education is spearheaded by various researchers (Wayne et al., 2005). It should be however be noted that there are various factors which impact on the single sex classes on students. These include the following:

  1. 1.      Greater academic commitment

Sax (2009) asserts that there is greater academic engagement when boys and girls attend a single sex class. They will always exhibit higher commitment in academics which may be exemplified by the way they do spent time doing home work, conducting studies with their fellow sex, discussing and conversing with teachers. The students are more likely to participate in group studies with others on a regular basis. Besides, the students are likely to exhibit more time spent with their teachers compared to coeducational schools. Their counterparts in coeducational schools will spend more of their time socializing with one another of the opposite sex compared to time spent on books and reading materials.

  1. 2.      Higher Scores in subjects units or examination

Boys and girls who attend single sex classes have a tendency to get higher scores in the subjects or units they partake in school. Some of the subjects that are standardized like mathematics and sciences will be highly scored by girls who attend single sex classes as compared to their counterparts in coeducational schools (Carolyn, 2002). As mentioned earlier, the concentration level on academic matters is normally high and focused which improves their ability to identify minor details that may make them fail. They will always seek clarity and help from teachers hence strengthen their intelligence in the subjects. This reflects in their scores in the different tests undertaken.

  1. 3.      Higher self confidence in academics

On top of scoring high grades their level of commitment and confidence developed increases. Single sex graduates will always stay focused increasing their confidence in their abilities to make it life. Compared to their counterparts in coeducational schools, the boys and girls’ ability to determine what lays a head of them is normally high. They can define their life and where they want to be. From their constant interaction with teachers, they may happen to ask some question about different careers in life which might shape their level of thinking and reasoning with life.

  1. 4.      Stronger predisposition towards co-curricular activities

Students attending single sex classes have higher chances of participating in student clubs or teams while they still in school. Most of them actively engage in campus organizations, outings and sporting activities which enable them to develop both physically and mentally that enhances their wellbeing. Such students are unlikely to engage in violent activities either in school or the community; as such the community development is highly promoted.

  1. 5.      Higher participation in political involvement

In comparison to their counterparts in coeducational schools, the students in single sex classes have been reported to engage in discussions about politics both in class and with their colleagues. These independent schools create an environment that triggers critical thinking among students about political affairs of the nation. They have been found to effectively analyze the political climate of the country with a sense of maturity and knowledge that can effectively have an impact on their decisions regarding politics and the government.

  1. 6.      High performance in computer skills, engineering and mathematics

In contrast to girls in coeducational schools, girls in single sex schools tend to perform better in computer skills, engineering and mathematics. As discussed in the theories about difference in learning among boys and girls, the ability of girls to perform well in standardized subjects is quite low. However girls in single sex schools tend to disprove these theories by performing better than expected (Ursula and Bettina, 2008). This is attributed to the quality time spent with their colleagues in group discussion, time spent with teachers for clarification of concepts and the level of attention and focus they have in life. Concepts that might seem challenging when in a mixed gender will appear to be simpler in a uni-gender. As a matter of fact the reflection in performance is portrayed in the high scores they obtain in tests and examinations.

Importance of this research

A question of who benefits from single sex classes is fundamental to various stakeholders and participants in the educational sector towards making prudent decisions that may shape the future of this nation. This study therefore is relevant for parents who can use the research to identify the different educational needs and desires of their children to promote their bright future. The parents will use this study to understand the ambitions and preference of their children and hence make decisions that may benefit all the parties (Abd-arrahman and Wajeeh, 2011). Some of the children may be shy among different genders which can equip the parent with appropriate choice of school for the son or daughter.

Besides, this study is important to teachers, administrators, educational policy implementers, and the government in planning the curriculum system for the best of the students. The teachers need to know the requirements of the students, their attitudes and perceptions in order to equip him or her with the necessary skills of delivering and impacting knowledge among the students. The administrators will use the study to identify the relevant policies that can be employed in both coeducational schools and single sex schools in enhancing learning for the students through an elaborate understanding of their social needs (Virginia, 2010). The government and policy implementers will use the study in planning for the appropriate facilities that will promote effective learning in both coeducational schools and single sex schools. In so doing, promotion of a sustainable and bright future for the boys and girls will be enhanced to have an assurance of a self reliant nation.

Advocacy for Future Research

In spite of the numerous inputs made this study, constrains experienced triggers for several opportunities for further research to fill the relevant gaps that may be left. With all research in social sciences, there was inability to control for all possible disparity between the single sex graduates and the coeducational graduates. As such self-selection predisposition was minimized by identifying the reasons behind the single sex students opted to attend or not to attend single sex schools. Doubts were in place as to the character traits or attitude of the parents towards choosing such kind of environment fore the children. The reasons for their rationale in choosing such schools are not known as to whether it’s related to religion or the available academic opportunities presented in the schools (Jennifer, 2011).

It would be most desired to create a disparity or separate the impacts of gender from that of the climate. The climate may be attributed by the kind of administration in the schools, the attitude of the teachers, the opportunities available for students’ leadership and other factors that may have an impact on the end results of a student. Moreover, the duration a student may take in order to achieve the impacts discussed in this paper must be known and documented for further application. Further research need to be conducted to determine also the background of the students, the features of the school and other contextual factors that may seem necessary or worth of discovering. Finally further research avenues advocated for in regard to the duration and ability of the discussed impacts to persist in the college life of a student (Gurain et al., 2009).


From the discussion above it is worth pointing out that the study has identified the avenues in which single sex schooling tends to produce magnificent results for students; both boys and girls,  particularly in terms of their ambitions, commitment and self-confidence. Notably, the study has also spotlighted the specific areas that have been known to have low rate of performance among the girls in coeducational schools in comparison with the single sex schools. The theories in learning difference among the boys and girls have been linked as to validate the advocacy for single sex classes as opposed to coeducational classes to ensure a sustainable future for the youth.

Consequentially, importance of this study to the relevant stakeholders has been pointed out to help in implementation of such policies among all schools in the State. However, it is worth understanding that as much as these programs may be fully incorporated as it may be recommended, the process must be taken with much caution to avoid distancing of the gender and gender discrimination among the youth. It should therefore be acknowledged that no universal conclusion can be drawn from this study without a careful further research by other professionals to avoid creating a gender gap that may emanate from execution of such policies.








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