How Single-Sex Schools Affect Boys’ and Girls’ Scores

While most children attend mixed schools, there are still opportunities to let your child opt for a single-sex school (though most of them are private). The question of whether single-sex schools affect a student’s performance has long been a debatable one, yet more data are being collected: a recent research showed that boys who study at schools where the majority (i.e. more than 60%) of students are girls prove to be better learners, compared to those who are surrounded by fellow boys. Contrary to it, girls seem to benefit more if they attend single-sex schools.

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Girls Perform Better In Single-Sex Schools

The role which school environment plays in the performance of boys and girls seems to vary significantly. It has been known for almost a decade that girls do better in single-sex schools: their GCSE results are more impressive, compared to those studying at common mixed schools. Besides, those pupils who were struggling academically before starting secondary school education managed to improve their results much more when they went to a single-sex school instead of co-ed schools. Among those girls attending schools without boys, almost all of them sat GCSE better than it had been predicted (for this calculation, Sats results were taken into account). On the contrary, out of those from co-eds, twenty percent showed poorer scores.

The investigators say the implication can be misleading: while girls can be less distracted if they study at single-sex schools, such difference can also be stipulated by the fact that those parents who opt for girls-only schools want their child to get better education, and such girls are more
education-oriented.

Unlike girls, boys do not seem to perform better if there are too few girls around them, a new study shows.

Boys Prove To Be Better Learners If Surrounded By Girls

The study which has recently appeared in School Effectiveness and School Improvement looked at how the environment of the school a pupil attends affects his or her performance. Only secondary school pupils’ educational performance was analyzed.

The research aimed at revealing the differences between reading test scores collected from over 8,000 schools from around the world which both girls and boys attend. The researchers assessed the scores of about 200,000 pupils and found out that boys are influenced by school environment to a great extent and seem to benefit from studying at educational facilities with predominantly female population.

Reading skills are especially important, as they affect the way a pupil can perform in other subjects. The association between better scores and being surrounded by girls can be explained in a variety of ways: first, girls’ ability to concentrate helps create a beneficial academic environment which stimulates boys’ studying and motivates them. Second, it can be explained by the wish not to be the worst pupil around: if the overwhelming majority of students perform well, being the only one who does not manage to learn is not a thing most teenagers would want. Third, the better the academic environment, the more the pupil wants to overachieve to compete or just maintain the healthy learning atmosphere seen most often in well-balanced schools.

Still, not all academics agree that gender can make a difference when balancing classes. There are many other factors which contribute to performance, such as the social background of pupils, teacher competence and skills, etc., so it is very likely that educational aspiration of a pupil is the thing that matters most in this case – regardless of how many boys and girls there are.

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