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Franklin County all boys math class adding up to higher grades

Franklin County all boys math class adding up to higher grades (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROCKY MOUNT (WSLS 10) - A new math class in Franklin County is showing students they can do pre-algebra but there's one thing missing  that is proving successful.

Protractors plus calculators equals math problems. It is s a middle school math class minus the girls.

"I think they are a little less distracted with those little pretty faces so I think that's really helping them stay a little bit more focused," said Alison Jones, an 8th grade math teacher at Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

Robert Huffman likes not having girls as a distraction.

"I have the highest grade in my class. I've held that record for a while now," said Robert Huffman, an 8th grader studying pre-algebra.

Jones is piloting the single sex class in it's first year made up of at risk students. These are middle school students with behavior problems, lack of motivation or low grades.

"They just needed an extra push, some extra support, someone that believed in them and that's what we're giving them. We're giving them the confidence," said Jones.

Student performance has increased. Jones says at the end of seventh grade the average student GPA was a 0.6 and the number has now gone up to 1.6 halfway through eighth grade.

"This year I look forward to stuff more. Last year I was in trouble all of the time. I had failing grades, I had three F's. This year I came to math and Miss Jones helped me a lot with math and she's been a good tutor," said Huffman.

"I think it's good that there's not girls in there for these kids. They are the social ones, they love to talk and they love the ladies so i think it's good that they're not in there with them," said Jones.

Allowing the boys to concentrate on solving problems and making the grade.

The National Association for Single Sex Public Education points to studies saying students perform better when split up but critics say it's illegal and discriminatory and when students grow up they'll have to work together.

Jones says her data shows it's working and would like to see the model expanded to more math classes.