Glasser, H. (2011). Arguing separate but equal: A study of argumentation in public single-sex science classes in the United States. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 3(1), 70-92.
- In a study performed at a public coeducational middle school during the 2007–2008 school year, the author sought to determine whether students in single-sex science classes learned “the same science” by experiencing the same instructional approaches and earning the same grades as those in mixed-gender classes.
- The author attended both the boys’ and girls’ science classes, and collected data from audio and video recordings, reviews of students’ work, and interviews with students and teachers. He analyzed these data using a variety of coding schemes, with particular emphasis on argumentation, defined for the purpose of the study as a whole-class scientific discussion involving the teacher that contained both a challenge and a defense. He also examined more than seven hours of video recordings from each class section and counted the instances of argumentation occurring in each class. Finally, the author reviewed students’ grades in the course.
- Although argumentation was not a primary feature of either boys’ or girls’ science classes, with no more than five instances of argumentation per hour of instruction in either case, the author found that boys’ science classes contained more than three times as many instances of argumentation than did girls’ classes. Over the sample lessons considered in this study, the boys produced 22 instances of argumentation, compared with only 7 in the girls’ class. There were no differences in students’ grades by gender.
Reviewed by CLEAR