Research Versus the Media: Mixed or Single-Gender Settings?

Author(s): Helen J. Forgasz, Gilah C. Leder, Calvin Taylor
Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education
Year of Study: 2007
Research Versus the Media: Mixed or Single-Gender Settings?

This paper compares scholarly research and media coverage of the benefits and disadvantages for students of learning in mixed or single sex settings. The debate on the relative advantages of single-sex and co-educational learning settings continues to attract the attention of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the community at large. The more measured tones of scholarly work can be contrasted with the often heated and emotive voices of the popular media – print, radio, and television. Our examination of relevant articles and reports over the last decade confirms that the focus, however, has changed from concerns about girls’ educational needs to those of boys, particularly in the popular media. Even when educational researchers have devised studies incorporating many interrelated factors that can influence educational outcomes, media commentators, with few exceptions, have tended to simplify the issues or ignore completely the complexity of the issues involved. A consistent finding in the research literature of the crucial role played by teachers was frequently overlooked in media reports, thus fueling the impression that gendered settings of schools or classrooms per se can “fix” perceived inadequacies in the educational system.

View Report