Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools
NCGS was founded with a focus on research to empower girls' schools to make the case for all-girls education. Research findings give our member schools the opportunity to strengthen teaching and learning as well as the social and emotional well-being of students, and also help NCGS and our schools to better advocate for the unique benefits of girls' schools.
It is with much excitement that NCGS releases Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools. This robust research report is a comparative analysis of responses to the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE), which was taken by nearly 13,000 girls attending all-girls schools, coed independent schools, and coed public schools. The girls' responses provide unequivocal support for the value of an all-girls educational environment.
In the spring of 2013, the NAIS Commission on Accreditation started conducting a three-year study using HSSSE, which is administered by the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy at Indiana University. HSSSE is a comprehensive survey of student attitudes, behaviors, and experiences administered with the goal of generating discussions on teaching and learning and guiding student improvement initiatives. An analysis of the survey results reveals that 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).
NCGS Director of Strategic Communications & Research Olivia Haas interviewed the author of the report, Dr. Richard Holmgren, Vice President for Information Services and Assessment, and Chief Information Officer at Allegheny College. Dr. Holmgren was commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools to analyze the survey results.
Q. What are the most significant findings in the report?
A. 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). In particular, 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 then 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%).
Q. How may I get a copy of the report?
A. Click here to view a sample of the first three pages Steeped in Learning. NCGS member schools may email firstname.lastname@example.org to request one complimentary electronic copy of the report in its entirety.
Q. How do I acquire multiple copies of the report?
A. Multiple copies of Steeped in Learning are available for sale at member and non-member rates via the NCGS Publication Order Form.