Which direction does education point to?

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Plato is credited with the statement

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.

So, work hard, learn lots and get the best grades it will pay off in the long term, right? Well, maybe

There has long been a debate about the role of coed schooling in providing better or worse grades for students. Some studies indicate that single sex education is a better learning environment, especially for girls. Anecdotal evidence from teachers suggests a common belief that girls help to focus the attention of boys, providing a more calm and purposeful learning environment; but that boys can be a distraction to girls, that they tend to dominate Q & A sessions and their immaturity leads to low level disruption in class.

A study reviewed in The Economist gives some weight to the notion that coed schooling may disadvantage all learners, but especially girls, when it comes to achieving good grades. Andrew Hill, of the Department of Economics at the University of South Carolina, applied a metric using data about the percentage of friends from the opposite sex to conclude that there is an adverse impact on academic achievement; and that the impact is felt more by girls than boys.

So, further evidence of the need for single sex schools, or separating girls and boys for classes in key subjects? Possibly

But doesn't all this boil education down to the achievement of a grade, rather than the growth of the whole person? Formal education at any age isn't simply the Thomas Gradgrind filling of minds with facts in pursuit of profitable enterprise. It may be more qualitative than quantitative, and therefore more difficult to encapsulate, but a successful education is more than learning what is needed to get a grade.

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