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Upper School
Upper School

Why an All-Girls School?


The Girls' School Advantage: By the Numbers from National Coalition of Girls' Schools

Research shows that girls flourish in single-sex environments. Free from many of society's pressures, they can focus on their interests — on what is truly important to them. Girls' schools take a special interest in developing leaders and allow curriculum choice without gender stereotyping. Just as importantly, they develop strong, life-long friendships and support networks that last a lifetime.

Research consistently shows that "girls can achieve great things in math, science and technology when opportunities exist, when teaching methods are geared to their strengths and when everyone's expectations are set high." (The National Coalition of Girls' Schools).

The Ethel Walker School has been a proud leader in all-girls' education since 1911, and boldly carries that torch into the next one hundred years.

National Coalition of Girls' Schools: Findings at a Glance 

A 2009 study conducted by the National Coalition for Girls' Schools and The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found that female graduates of single-sex high schools demonstrate stronger academic orientations than their coeducational counterparts across a number of different categories, including higher levels of academic engagement, SAT scores, and confidence in mathematical ability and computer skills.

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Greater Academic Engagement

Women graduates of single-sex schools exhibit higher academic engagement than do their coeducational counterparts as measured by survey questions on time spent studying or doing homework, studying with other students, tutoring other students and talking with teachers outside of class:

  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of women graduates of independent single-sex schools report spending 11 or more hours per week studying or doing homework in high school, compared to less than half (42%) of independent coeducational graduates. 
  • Single-sex graduates also report more time talking with teachers outside of class, especially in the independent school sector, where 37% of single-sex graduates reported spending three or more hours per week meeting with teachers apart from class, compared to 30% among women graduates of independent coeducational schools.
  • Students from single-sex schools are also more likely to engage in group study, with a full 53% of independent single-sex graduates reporting that they study with other students on a frequent basis, compared with 45% among independent coeducational graduates. 
  • Additional evidence of peer-based academic engagement is seen in the finding that nearly two-thirds (65%) of women graduates of independent single-sex schools report frequently or occasionally tutoring other students in high school, compared with 58% among women who attended independent coeducational schools.

Higher SAT Scores

Women who attended single-sex schools tended to outscore their coeducational counterparts on the SAT. Mean SAT composite scores (Verbal plus Math) are 43 points higher for single-sex graduates within the independent school sector, and 28 points higher for single-sex alumnae in the Catholic school sector.

Greater Interest in Graduate School

Women who attended single-sex schools are slightly more likely than those who attended a coeducational school to say that they are going to college to prepare for graduate school (71% to 66%) and to choose a college because its graduates are admitted to top graduate schools (45% to 41%).

Higher Academic Self-Confidence

In addition to reporting higher levels of academic engagement, single-sex graduates—especially those from independent schools— tend to exhibit slightly higher levels of academic self-confidence:

  • 81% of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate themselves "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent" for academic ability, compared to 75% of women graduates of independent coeducational schools.
  • Nearly 60% of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate themselves "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent" with regard to intellectual self-confidence, compared to 54% of their independent coeducational school counterparts.
  • 64% of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate their writing ability "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent" compared to 59% of independent coeducational school graduates.
  • 45% of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate their public speaking ability "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent," compared to 39% of women graduates of independent coeducational schools.

Higher Confidence in Mathematical Ability and Computer Skills

Graduates of single-sex schools also arrive at college with greater confidence in their mathematical and computer abilities:

  • 48% of female graduates of independent single-sex schools rate their math ability "above average" or in the "highest 10 percent" compared to 37% of independent coeducational graduates.
  • 36% of women graduates of independent single-sex schools rate their computer skills in the highest categories, compared to 26% of women graduates of independent coeducational schools. 

Greater Interest in Engineering Careers

Women graduates of single-sex schools are three times more likely than their coeducational peers to state they intend to pursue a career in engineering (4.4% versus 1.4%).

Stronger Predisposition Towards Co-Curricular Engagement

Women graduates of single-sex schools are more likely than their coeducational counterparts to report that there is a very good chance they will participate in student clubs or groups while they are in college (70% anticipate involvement in campus organizations, compared to 60% of coeducational alumnae).

Greater Political Engagement

Female graduates of single-sex schools are more likely than their coeducational counterparts to discuss politics in class and with friends. Political engagement is especially strong at independent schools, where 58% of women graduates of single-sex institutions report that it is "very important" or "essential" for them to keep up to date with political affairs, compared to 48% of women graduates of independent coeducational schools. 

 
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