A 2006 study completed at the College of Education at Arizona State University showed that most of the research into gender-segregated education thus far has been of questionable value. is mostly flawed by failure to control for important variables such as class, financial status, selective admissions, religious values, prior learning or ethnicity.” The ASU study also found that the methodology of less than 2 percent of the more than 2,000 quantitative studies of gender-segregated education was of high enough quality to meet the standards of the National Center for Education Statistics.
In 2005 the Department of Education released a comprehensive meta-analysis of gender-segregated education scholarship, titled “Single Sex Versus Coeducational Schooling: A Systematic Review.” The DOE found the results “equivocal.” “There is some support for the premise that single-sex schooling can be helpful especially for certain outcomes related to academic achievement and more positive academic aspirations,” the DOE reported.
The Department of Education accelerated the trend in 2006 by altering the Title IX provision of the No Child Left Behind Act to ease restrictions on gender-segregated education in public schools. Sax, a child psychologist who never set foot in a classroom as a teacher, have stepped up their promotion of SSPE as a panacea for public education.
With scant evidence backing them up, they herald SSPE as the most effective way to narrow the achievement gaps between rich and poor students and black and white students that persist eight years after the passage of No Child Left Behind.
He maintains that two days of training, 14 hours total, is all that’s needed to prepare the staff of a public school to switch from coeducation to SSPE. Sax by his own count has led such two-day conversion seminars for more than 300 schools in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
One of them was Carman Trails, an elementary school in the Parkway School District, which is in the St. Despite a lack of test data to prove the program is working, SSPE at Carman Trails has won over teachers, parents and students. When it began two years ago, it was limited to first grade.
Last October, more than 450 public school teachers, principals and central administrators from across the United States — as well as from Argentina, Bermuda, Canada and Poland — came together in Atlanta, Georgia, for the fifth annual convention of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education.
Dozens of presentations extolled the superiority of gender-segregated classrooms and entire schools, with lecture titles such as, “Burps, Farts and Snot: Teaching Chemistry To Middle School Boys,” and “Just Don’t Say ‘SEX’ — tips on how to implement single-gender programs in conservative, rural communities.” Attendees ranged from Chicago and Philadelphia inner-city high school teachers to elementary school principals from small towns in Idaho and Indiana.
“For many outcomes, there is no evidence of either benefit or harm.
There is limited support for the view that single-sex schooling may be harmful.” The DOE report included the caveat that most research into gender-segregated education has been conducted in private Catholic schools, which hardly makes for an apples-to-apples comparison to public education.