Teachers’ perceptions of single sex science classes in an urban public high school
Jarrard, Amber Renee
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Single sex education has been a popular topic in the media and has been met with significant interest, questions, and criticism. In 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act introduced lenience for public schools to experiment with single sex classes without being in violation of Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment. Although research exists to support single sex education, some opponents cite a lack of credible and generalizable evidence to convince or substantiate trials in public schools. Many public schools are utilizing the ambiguity to experiment with single sex education as a way to improve academic achievement and instructional engagement of students in the classroom. This study presents research on science teachers’ perceptions and lived experiences having been players as a part of their school’s inaugural implementation of single sex classes. All participants displayed acceptance of self-fulfilling prophecies with respect to the student population in their school. These self-fulfilling prophecies intersected with social construction of gender as participants revealed their own beliefs and accepted gender stereotypes as a way to frame their descriptions as well as a way to make sense of and respond to classroom situations. Determining areas of potential effectiveness with respect to single sex classrooms is important to contribute to the knowledge base used by school personnel to make sound decisions that will positively impact students. These findings taken together present a snapshot of a single urban public high school and contribute to the body of knowledge with respect to single sex classes such to encourage further scrutiny and exploration into this potentially positive educational intervention.