Academic Research

Research finds no advantage to single-sex schooling

Despite a persistent and widespread belief that girls do better in single-sex schools, many decades of worldwide academic research has failed to find any substantial evidence to back up this assumption:

“There is little evidence of an advantage of Single Sex schooling for girls or boys.”

The Effects of Single-Sex Compared With Coeducational Schooling on Students’ Performance and Attitudes: A Meta-Analysis Pahlke et al, Whitman College/University of Wisconsin, 2014

“The evidence from PISA does not support the notion that females tend to do better in a single-sex environment.”

O.E.C.D. report on attainment in single sex and coeducational schools across 30 countries in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). 2009

“Coeducation was found in this study to have no academic disadvantages for either girls or boys.”

Empirical evidence on the coeducational/single-sex schooling debate. Dr Ian Smith, University of Sydney, 1994

“the popular belief that girls will do better academically at single-sex schools is not sustained by the data.”

Achievement, Gender and the Single-Sex/Coed Debate. Richard Harker, Massey University, New Zealand, 2000

“research on single-sex and co-education has failed to demonstrate unequivocally that one approach is superior to the other.”

The Paradox of Single-Sex and Co-Educational Schooling. Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson, University of Buckingham, 2006

“There is no well-designed research showing that single-sex education improves students’ academic performance, but there is evidence that sex segregation increases gender stereotyping and legitimizes institutional sexism.”

“apparent advantages [of single-sex schooling] dissolve when outcomes are corrected for pre-existing differences”

The Pseudoscience of single-sex schooling. A report by 8 leading psychologists and neuroscientists, led by Diane. F. Halpern, past president of the American Psychological Association. 2011

“There appear to be no grounds from the present results for either separate schooling for boys and girls or single‐sex setting in coeducational schools as a means to encourage greater participation by girls in science.”

The Impact of Single‐sex and Coeducational Schooling on Participation and Achievement in Science: a 10‐year perspective. McEwen et al, The Queens University, Belfast, 1997

“evidence that exists regarding the long-term social consequences of single-sex and mixed schooling reveals no consistent differences in the personal development of girls and boys in these school types.”

Report on single-sex and co-educational schooling. Carolyn Jackson and Gabrielle Ivinson, Gender and Education Association, 2013

“our results provide no evidence that single-sex schooling reduces the gap [between boys and girls in mathematical achievement].”

Gender, single-sex schooling and maths achievement. Doris et al, National University of Ireland, 2013

“every major review has concluded that gender-segregated schooling is not superior to coeducational schooling.”

Gender-Segregated Schooling: A Problem Disguised as a Solution. Fabes et al, Arizona State University, 2013

“young women and men did not appear to benefit from being taught in single-gender relative to mixed-gender classrooms in Language and STEM-related subjects.”

Controlling for Prior Attainment Reduces the Positive Influence that Single-Gender Classroom Initiatives Exert on High School Students’ Scholastic Achievements. Pennington et al, Lancaster University 2017