Do all-girls’ environments measure up to their co-educational counterparts? This is a question many parents and guardians ponder when they seek to find the most supportive and enriching educational setting for their daughter. After all, young women, like their male peers, are social beings and with the increase of reflective media attention on Social Media and equality issues, it can be confusing for anyone to separate the myths from the science when it comes to finding the most effective and supportive educational home away from home for their child.
Richard A. Holmgren, Ph.D., Vice President for Information Services and Assessment at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, helped to tackle these questions by surveying over 2,000 high school students. The results revealed girls themselves reported they are more likely to experience supportive learning when enrolled in an all girls’ school than in co-ed environments.
The facts behind these figures point to the ability of all girls’ schools to nurture each unique learner while at the same time breaking down tired stereotypes. The findings show “virtually all students at all-girls schools expect to earn a four-year degree” and many have even greater aspirations to succeed in graduate studies and pursue professional degrees.
These findings align well with the fact that 100% of the HNMCS Class of 2019 graduates have been accepted into university for their post-secondary studies, and 65% are pursuing studies in STEM related fields.
The serious task of motivating young women to believe in their true abilities and set higher expectations is a responsibility the faculty at HNMCS takes to heart. Through co-curricular programmes such as Microbiology, robotics and Destination Imagination, students at HNMCS are encouraged to break out of their comfort zones and pursue new opportunities where they may discover strengths and interests they were not aware of. Accordingly, it is not surprising Holmgren’s research revealed female students in single gender schools are more motivated and hold greater aspirations than those reported by their co-ed peers. The study also found that girls’ school students expressed they are more challenged to achieve and find success than girls in co-ed schools.
The report also highlighted the well-known fact that girls feel less encumbered to pursue a variety of educational activities when they are among young women. This in turn boosts their belief in their new-found abilities, to such an extent that they report they are better prepared for the challenges they will face in the real world.
While the science of Holmgren’s survey makes quite a clear case in favour of an all girls’ education, HNMCS offers a further benefit to its students: the Core Values are promoted in all aspects of school life. To best nurture positive experiences for girls, Holy Name of Mary College School remains true to the founding principles on which it was built as it strives to expand towards innovative learning approaches.