The American Association of University Women has recently published a review
of the literature of "what works for girls." This focuses on middle school,
but should be relevant to you too. This is what the authors say about single
sex classes in math and science.
"The evidence on the impact of these same-sex classes is still largely
anecdotal, but many girls, parents, teachers, and administrators believe they
are making a positive difference." (Growing Smart: What's for Girls in
School, Executive Summary p. 10).
Basically, they say that in the US single sex classes are allowable in public
schools if they are established in response to sex differences in achievement
and keep participation voluntary. Often (or sometimes) the schools need to
show that boys have not been turned away from these classes, that they are
based on certain learning needs, not just on gender.
The authors include several references in their full report. This is
available from the AAUW, 1(800)225-9998, ext. 328 or AAUW Sales Office, Dept.
328, PO Box 251, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0251. These references include
three reports by Patricia Cambell about designing effective programs for
girls in math and science which are available from the Women's Educational
Equity Act PUblishing Center.
I also know that the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is starting up a
special museum based science program in conjunction with the Girl Scouts to
support girls' interest and involvement with science.