Sax on Sex

The emerging science of sex differences.

Dr. Lise Eliot Evades the Question

Co-author of article in Science carefully avoids answering the question
This post is a response to Pseudoscience in Sax on Sex by PT Blogs

There are many errors in the article by Halpern et al. published last week by Science magazine. The point of my essay was to focus on just one category of error, namely the purported harm of single-sex education. I observed that these alleged dangers were based on studies conducted in coed prekindergartens in Tempe, Arizona. The authors assume that they can extrapolate findings from studies in coed prekindergartens to broad statements about the alleged harm of single-sex education - while neglecting studies which actually investigated whether gender is more salient in the single-sex setting or the coed setting.

Diane Halpern, Lise Eliot et al. argue that supporters of single-sex education base that support primarily or entirely on brain research, which is not the case.  Lise Eliot's "reply" to my post "Are Single-Sex Schools Actually Dangerous?" does not even mention, let alone respond to, the main point of my post:  namely, that she and her co-authors based their assertions on the alleged harm of single-sex education entirely on studies conducted in the coed setting, while neglecting studies in which students were randomly assigned either to single-sex classrooms or coed classrooms (e.g. Kessels and Hannover 2008).

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Dr. Eliot seems to have trouble understanding the point of my previous post.  So let me reduce it to a very simple question:  In their article for Science, Drs. Halpern, Eliot, Hyde et al. assert that gender is more salient in a single-sex classroom than in a coed classroom.  Yet they don't mention, let alone refute, any of the studies which demonstrate the opposite: that gender is LESS salient in a single-sex classroom than in a coed classroom. Why didn't Halpern, Eliot et al. mention Kessels & Hannover 2008? Why did they base their arguments about the alleged harm of single-sex education on studies conducted in COED prekindergarten?

I eagerly await Dr. Eliot's reply.

Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., is a family physician, PhD psychologist, and author of Boys Adrift and Girls on the Edge.

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