In a 2008 report released by NBC, students in coed classes had a markedly better performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. In co-ed classes in public schools, 37 percent of boys and 59 percent of girls scored proficient on the FCAT. In single-sex classes, these numbers jumped to 86 percent for boys and 79 percent for girls.
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Studies indicate that differences in the ways boys and girls learn can be traced back to biological differences. Boys and girls interpret colors differently, hear differently and therefore, according to a Readers Digest study, learn differently. According to the study, teachers who speak loudly and energetically can be interpreted by young girls as yelling, while young boys are more likely to pay attention.
There are some options available, both public and private, within Connecticut.
A few public schools in Connecticut have adopted single-sex education, including the Beecher School in New Haven, a middle school with classes separated by sex, and the Young Men's Leadership Academy in Hartford, a school for boys grades 6-12. As of June 2010, there were no single-sex magnet schools in the state.
The other option — private single-sex schools that have been around for generations — often carry a hefty price tag, but financial aid is available. Miss Porter's School, a private girls-only high school in Farmington, costs nearly $35,000 for day students and almost $45,000 for those who board, but nearly 40 percent of Porter's students qualify for aid and the school gives more than $3.6 million in scholarships per year.
Here's what some students have said about single-sex education:
"No one wants to be called a nerd,'' said Catey Achley, a 15-year-old student in an all-girls class at Lowery Freshman Center in Allen, Texas. "If you're in an all-girls class, that doesn't happen.''
"Most of us have the same interests,'' said Mike Li, 14, a student at the same school as Atchley. "We kind of discuss things more as a class. We all get along much easier. I get choked up around girls."
"We probably get more done because we're more focused,"' said Zach Rehmert, 14, a classmate of Li.
For more information about finding a single-gender school in Connecticut, call Dr. William A. Howe, the Connecticut Department of Education's Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Civil Rights Compliance, at 860-713-6752.
SOURCES: Dallas Morning News, Hartford Courant, http://www.singlesexschools.org, http://www.rd.com