Probability Values and Human Values in Evaluating Single-Sex Education

Probability Values and Human Values in Evaluating Single-Sex Education Around the globe, educational opportunities and outcomes have long varied in relation to student gender. Within the United States, a particularly intense and growing controversy concerns whether education should be delivered in single-sex contexts. This paper offers a broad framework for approaching this controversy. I review arguments made by historical and contemporary proponents of gender-differentiated education, concluding that these reveal a foundational commitment to gender essentialism (rather than to gender constructivism more commonly embraced by critics of single-sex schooling). I suggest that different gender conceptualizations and different professional traditions affect the kind of data one collects, weighs, and reports. Gender conceptualizations also affect the valence assigned to the amplification or attenuation of gender differences in educational, career, or personal student outcomes. I then propose that other kinds of human values are also relevant to the controversy. Given that in justifying their position, advocates of single-sex public education have recently been focusing less on gendered brain differences and more on the expansion of educational choice, I focus especially on the value of choice. Using arguments paralleling those found in critiques of the U.S. charter-school movement, I suggest that decisions about school choice necessarily entail judgments about a range of goals and human priorities. I close by suggesting that a resolution of the controversy about single-sex education cannot be reached through empirical data alone, but will require discussions of gender conceptualizations, what constitutes evidence, ideal educational outcomes, and broader human values. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Probability Values and Human Values in Evaluating Single-Sex Education

Sex Roles , Volume 72 (10) – Jan 13, 2015
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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-014-0438-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Around the globe, educational opportunities and outcomes have long varied in relation to student gender. Within the United States, a particularly intense and growing controversy concerns whether education should be delivered in single-sex contexts. This paper offers a broad framework for approaching this controversy. I review arguments made by historical and contemporary proponents of gender-differentiated education, concluding that these reveal a foundational commitment to gender essentialism (rather than to gender constructivism more commonly embraced by critics of single-sex schooling). I suggest that different gender conceptualizations and different professional traditions affect the kind of data one collects, weighs, and reports. Gender conceptualizations also affect the valence assigned to the amplification or attenuation of gender differences in educational, career, or personal student outcomes. I then propose that other kinds of human values are also relevant to the controversy. Given that in justifying their position, advocates of single-sex public education have recently been focusing less on gendered brain differences and more on the expansion of educational choice, I focus especially on the value of choice. Using arguments paralleling those found in critiques of the U.S. charter-school movement, I suggest that decisions about school choice necessarily entail judgments about a range of goals and human priorities. I close by suggesting that a resolution of the controversy about single-sex education cannot be reached through empirical data alone, but will require discussions of gender conceptualizations, what constitutes evidence, ideal educational outcomes, and broader human values.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 13, 2015

References

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