Same sex classes a good idea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ask most Americans what the top priorities for the country should be and “education” will

turn up on most lists.

We want our children to get the best possible education, in a safe environment that cultivates learning.

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Next year, Dallas Conty High School will implement a Freshman Academy, which is designed to help do just that.

The freshman classes will be gender separated this fall as part of the new program, according to Principal Susan Jones.

While Martin Middle School students seem to be upset by the prospect, experience shows that gender separation does have a positive impact on grades and test scores.

Studies show single-sex classrooms tend to boost males’ performance particularly in English and foreign languages while females improve in math and science.

Maplesville High School began offering single-classrooms in grades 4, 5 and 6 during the 2004-2005 school year.

Student achievement on DIBELS testing showed dramatic improvement.

Fourth graders benchmarked at 21 percent prior to the introduction of single-sex classes. The following spring, the students showed a dramatic increase in performance, scoring at 75 percent.

Like Maplesville, Ervin Elementary School in Wilcox County implemented single-sex classes this school year. Principal Richard Bryant said students’ shifts in attitude are phenomenal as a result of the gender separation.

“Our data is far superior this year to last year’s based on single sex classes,” Bryant said. “We fully expect to meet AYP based on the enthusiasm we saw in male classes. We feel like it’s going to be a success.”

This is a big step for Dallas County High School, and should prove to be a positive one for the students, although they may not know that just now.