Do girls in secondary school (ages 12 - 18) benefit from having some classes, e.g. math and sciences, as single sex classes even if they are in a co-educational school? What are the benefits or disadvantages? How does it affect girls' academic progress, social development etc?
We are considering options with our 11-year old daughter and we would love more info. Can you help?
There are two all-girls high schools in California that focus entirely on women in math and science. The results thus far from these schools is that girls perform better than they do in coed classes. However, I think it's important to think of such schools as a short-term solution. The reason that girls do better is that they are better able to assert themselves and their intelligence and don't feel compelled to downplay this part of themselves, which is what consistently happens in coed institutions. Obviously it's not a long-term solution because this is not the way that life is -- you can't live in a gender-segregated world.
Also, Smith College has recently started a women's engineering school -- the first of its kind. They might have concrete research for you. They might also have links to the two schools in California, whose names I can't remember.
I hope that helps