Monitor on Psychology - December 2011 - (Page 11)

Single-sex schooling called into question by prominent researchers Sex-segregated primary and secondary education fails to improve educational outcomes, such as test scores and college admission rates, and can increase sex stereotyping, according to a Sept. 23 article in the “Education Forum” of the journal Science. “Contrary to many people’s beliefs, single-sex schooling is not supported by serious scientific research and may actually be harmful to children’s social development,” says co-author Lise Eliot, PhD, a neuroscience professor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago. The article’s first author is former APA President Diane Halpern, PhD, a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College in California. The paper — written by eight social scientists who founded the nonprofit American Council for CoEducational Schooling — cites several large reviews published over the last few years, all reporting little difference between singleand mixed-sex academic outcomes. The perception of the superiority of single-sex education comes from “an historical accident,” Eliot says — namely, that the best, most expensive private schools in the United States, England and elsewhere were traditionally single sex. But studies now show that benefits of single-sex education disappear when researchers control for demographics and school quality, she says. The paper also contradicts claims from single-sex proponents that girls and boys Studies now suggest that benefits of single-sex education disappear when learn differently because of innate brain researchers control for demographics and school quality. differences. Some researchers assert that, for example, boys respond to confrontational, when they interact primarily with members of their own gender. aggressive teaching styles while girls should be treated more Last, the authors address some educators’ and parents’ gently by educators. But these conclusions come from “obscure requests that students simply be given a choice between singleand isolated findings about brain maturation, hearing, and mixed-sex classes. “But such choice is not without its vision, and temperature sensitivity,” the authors say, and are costs,” Eliot says. “If a school district is going out of its way to recognized by most scientists as “pseudoscience.” provide single-sex education, what other truly evidence-based The report also says that single-sex education may increase enrichment opportunities is it passing up?” gender-stereotypical behavior among children, citing studies finding that both girls and boys behave in more sex-typed ways —M.l. PhilliPS DeceMber 2011 • Monitor on psychology 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - December 2011

Monitor on Psychology - December 2011
President’s Column
From the CEO
Willpower Pioneer Wins $100,000 Grawemeyer Prize
Single-Sex Schooling Called Into Question by Prominent Researchers
Maternal Depression Stunts Childhood Growth, Research Suggests
For Boys, Sharing May Seem Like a Waste of Time
Good News for Postdoc Applicants
In Brief
Treatment Guideline Development Now Under Way
Government Relations Update
Psychologist Named Va Mental Health Chief
The Limits of Eyewitness Testimony
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Time Capsule
Deconstructing Suicide
A Focus on Interdisciplinarity
A Time of ‘Enormous Change’
The Science Behind Team Science
Good Science Requires Good Conflict
A New Paradigm of Care
Speaking of Education
Science Directions
New Labels, New Attitudes?
Psychologist Profile
Early Career Psychology
Unintended Consequences
Better Options for Troubled Teens
Saving Lives, One Organ at a Time
New Journal Editors
APA News
Division Spotlight
Guidelines for the Conduct of President-Elect Nominations and Elections
American Psychological Foundation

Monitor on Psychology - December 2011