New research shows that all-girls school graduates are more likely to leave school feeling primed for success.
The study, titled: ‘Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University’, was conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and involved almost 6,000 girls’ school graduates.
The Researchers found that these graduates were more likely to have higher levels of science self-confidence, consider themselves critical thinkers, score higher on measures of academic habits of mind and demonstrate stronger study habits than girls from co-ed schools.
Interestingly, all-girls’ school grads are also more likely to be involved in volunteering and community activities, take part in political activities, and be supportive of societal improvements.
These results were found even after controlling for students’ personal and school characteristics, including race, ethnicity, parent education, family income, student-teacher ratios, and school size.
“We found that graduates from all-girls schools are more likely to say they could explain the results of a study, collect appropriate data, understand scientific concepts and use their technical skills [than girls who graduated from a co-ed school],” the study’s lead author, Dr Tiffani Riggers-Piehl said.
“Girls’ school graduates are also more likely to say they are confident in their ability to do things like support their argument with logic, seek alternative solutions to a problem and they rate their critical thinking ability more highly then women from co-educational schools.”
Loren Bridge, executive officer of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA) said the UCLA findings demonstrate how girls’ schools are preparing girls for the real world.
“The results from this study highlight the life-long contribution of all-girls schooling towards women’s success in traditionally male-dominated fields,” Bridge said.
“It’s promising to see yet another piece of research confirm that girls’ schools are leading the way when it comes to closing the gender gap in STEM.”
Bridge said the study also shows that girls’ schools provide an empowering and non-gender stereotyped environment for girls to become critical thinkers and leaders who are both politically aware and involved in community activities.
“It’s no surprise that some of the world’s leading women were educated in all-girls environments,” she said.
Reflecting on the totality of the findings, the researchers noted that “these statistically significant results demonstrate differences in areas of critical importance in the twenty-first century for women as they enter university and beyond, thus emphasizing the contribution of all-girls schooling for women’s success”.