Memphis school tests separation of genders - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis school tests separation of genders

Most Mid-South students attend co-ed schools, but one Memphis school is separating the sexes in an attempt to improve education.

A 20 year study found that both boys and girls performed 15% to 20% higher on standardized tests when they attended separate classes.

After researching the difference in the way boys and girls learn, Principal Alishia Kiner at Booker T. Washington High School's Academy of Excellence decided to get rid of coed freshmen classes.

"Young men are a lot more introspective," she said. "They are not as verbal and outgoing as it relates in academics as girls."
There is no data to back it up yet, but Kiner expects that having same sex classes will boost test scores.  Already, she said, there are fewer disciplinary problems in the freshman class.

Student Delana Drew said it was easier for her to focus in her classes without boys, but there was one drawback: "The boys kind of bring the fun or the funny side to the classrooms, and I like to laugh," she said.

Meanwhile, student Reginald Sanders said without girls to distract him, class was not a problem.  Still, "You don't really want to see a lot of guys all day," he said. "It makes you feel funny."

Staffing issues prevent Booker T. Watson from separating classes by sex in 10th, 11th and 12th grades.  Kiner said parents seem to agree with the separation, citing a jump in enrollment that occurred after parents learned about the Academy of Excellence.

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