Mount Saint Dominic Academy

Because of All Girls Schools

Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools

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By Richard A. Holmgren, Ph.D., Vice President for Information Services and Assessment, Allegheny College

Girls attending all-girls schools are more likely to have an experience that supports their learning than are girls attending coed schools (independent and public).

Students at all-girls schools report:

1. Having higher aspirations and greater motivation.

When asked what motivates them, 94.9% of students at all-girls schools (compared to 93.5% of girls at coed independent schools and 86.7% of girls at coed public schools) agree or strongly agree they are motivated by their desire to succeed outside of school and 83.9% by their desire to learn (compared to 81.0% of girls at coed independent schools and 66.1% of girls at coed public schools).

2. Being challenged to achieve more.

Nearly 80.0% of girls’ school students report most of their classes challenge them to achieve their full academic potential. This is compared to 72.3% of girls at coed independent schools and 44.3% of girls at coed public schools.

3. Engaging more actively in the learning process.

Girls’ school student report more engagement with course-related speaking and writing then their female peers at coed schools. In particular, over 95% report participating actively in class discussions compared to 93.5% at coed independent schools and 80.4% at coed public schools.

4. Participating in activities that prepare them for the world outside of school.

Girls’ schools encourage students to link concepts across problem domains. Over 80% of students at girls’ schools report having connected ideas from one area to another compared to 77.1% of girls at coed independent schools and 61.2% of girls at coed public schools.

5. Feeling more comfortable being themselves and expressing their ideas.

An atmosphere of respect provides girls’ schools students the opportunity to share their views openly and learn from peers. Girls’ school students report giving and receiving respect at higher rates than do their female peers at coed schools. Nearly 87% feel their opinions are respected at their school compared to 82.9% of girls at coed independent schools and 58.1% of girls at coed public schools.

6. Showing greater gains on core academic and life skills.

Almost 95% of girls’ school students report their work has contributed to successfully reading and understanding challenging materials, which compares favorably to girls at coed independent schools (92.5%) and coed public schools (76.6%).

7. Being and feeling more supported in their endeavors.

To be successful, students need more than just a feeling of support. That support must translate into actions geared toward student success. Nearly 96% of girls’ school students report receiving more frequent feedback on their assignments and other course work than girls at coed independent schools (92.9%) and coed public schools (79.5%).

Read more from “Steeped in Learning.”

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