The Best of Our Knowledge # 879

There has been a long established tradition of single-sex education
in private schools. But just in the last five years, there's been a
substantial surge of interest in single-sex education in public schools.
The current thrust is directly linked to new regulations recently published
by the U.S. Department of Education. The rules give public school
districts the authority to expand the number of single-sex classes,
and even single-sex schools. It's widely considered the most significant
policy change on the issue since a landmark federal law barring sex discrimination in education more than 30-years ago. Many studies
have been conducted in North America to assess the academic
performance of women in a single-sex environment. For example,
in Ontario, Canada, on the standardized Secondary School Literacy
Test, students in single-sex schools had a 58% pass rate for reading
and writing...while co-ed schools only had a 34% pass rate. And there
is also now good evidence that girls in single-sex educational settings
are more likely to take classes in math, science and information
technology, which brings us to our first story today. In the U.S.,
Canada and several other locations, tens of thousands of girls attend independent and public schools affiliated with a group known as the
National Coalitions of Girls' Schools. The coalition's major areas of
focus include math, science, and technology. A member of that
coalition is St. Margaret's School for Girls located in a small river
front town in Virginia.
Shea Shackleford reports. (10:45)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website given at the conclusion
of the above story for listeners who want additional information about
St. Margaret's School for Girls is:**

In our first story today, we learned how one school is preparing high
school girls for careers in science and technology. But we wondered...
are children actually born researchers? It turns out that a professor
in the Netherlands is studying just that question. Dr. Jan de Lange
is looking at what kinds of talents very young children seem to have
that could be developed. Dr. de Lange is a full professor at the
University of Utrecht, and a member of the Mathematical Sciences
Education Board. He currently chairs the Mathematical Functional
Expert Group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development, of which Canada and the U.S. are participating
countries. We asked him at what age he feels researchers can
assess children, to determine if they have an interest in science
and technology?
Laura Durnford from Radio Netherlands reports. (5:55)