ERIC Number: ED558549
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov-14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Moral Development in Single-Sex Schools: A Review of the Research
Murphy, Madonna M.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Association for Moral Education Annual Conference (34th, University of Notre Dame, Nov 14, 2008)
This paper is a systematic review of the research studies on single-sex schools conducted in the last decade. It concludes that there is empirical support to the hypothesis that single-sex schools may be advantageous for both boys and girls in terms of promoting academic achievement with a greater degree of order and control in the classroom and fostering social-emotional development and promoting positive peer interactions. Nevertheless there is a great need for more research with better experimental designs focusing on measures of moral growth and character development as specific aspects of social-emotional development. The seminal research is that done by Dr. Leonard Sax documented in his classic book, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences (2004) on the value of single-sex schooling. He maintains that as boys and girls are biologically different, they learn differently and need significantly different teaching methods in order to learn effectively; therefore they need single-sex classes if they are to learn effectively. Cornelius Riordan directed the U.S. Department of Education's systematic review of research literature on single-sex schooling that was conducted by the American Institutes for Research subcontracted to RMC Research Corporation and completed in 2005. This is the best meta-analysis available of the effects of single-sex schools in the United States. The objective of the review was to document the outcome evidence for or against the efficacy of single-sex education as an alternative form of school organization. Both quantitative and qualitative literature was reviewed. The major focus of most studies was academic achievement; not social/emotional or moral development. One third of the studies reported positive effects for SS schools on all-subject achievement tests, i.e. mathematics, science, English and social studies. The review found positive results favoring SS schools regarding social-emotional development regarding locus of control, educational and career aspirations, positive behavior, political involvement, climate for learning, interest in grades and opportunities for leadership. The results were particularly strong regarding social-emotional outcomes that favored females in single-sex school. Advocates of single-sex education fall in two camps; those who favor separating boys from girls because they are essentially different; and those who favor separating boys from girls because they have different social experiences and social needs. Nevertheless, there are strong research findings in both camps that support the value of single sex schools. A bibliography is included.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A