Graduates of all-girls schools have a definitive edge over their co-educated peers. In December 2018, the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) released the results of a study that shows statistically significant advantages for girls’ school graduates as they enter university. Commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS), Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University was prepared by principal investigator Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), in collaboration with HERI. This new data analysis is an update of a 2009 report, also published by HERI, that was originally conducted by Dr. Linda Sax of UCLA in association with Dr. Riggers-Piehl.
These two major peer-reviewed studies spanning Generations Y and Z compare the self-confidence, academic achievement, political engagement, and aspirations of girls’ school graduates to their coeducated peers. Drawing data from the well-known Freshman Survey conducted by HERI, both studies used the same sophisticated multilevel modeling to separate the effect of an all-girls education from other influences including socioeconomic differences, race/ethnicity, parent education, and the characteristics of the high schools attended. Dr. Riggers-Piehl and her colleagues note the data reveals “a consistent portrait of girls’ school graduates who are more engaged academically and socially than their co-educated peers, findings which align with the profile outlined in the aforementioned report in 2009.”
The study identified several key areas in which all-girls schools are better preparing their students for success in university and beyond. Based on the reported data, the researchers concluded that when compared to their female peers at coed schools, girls’ school graduates:
- Have stronger academic skills
- Are more academically engaged
- Demonstrate higher science self-confidence
- Display higher levels of cultural competency
- Express stronger community involvement
- Exhibit increased political engagement
Specifically, the research report identifies over 80 statistically significant differences that favor graduates of all-girls schools when compared to female graduates of coed schools, such as the following:
- Girls’ school alumnae are 5% more likely than their co-educated peers to say they frequently seek alternative solutions to a problem and more frequently explore topics on their own, even when not required. More than 2/3 of girls’ school graduates report frequently supporting their arguments with logic, whereas coed school female graduates are 7% less likely to report this academic skill.
- Graduates of girls’ school are 7% more likely to frequently tutor other students and 6% more likely to frequently study with others.
- Girls’ school graduates, compared to students from coed schools, are 4% more likely to report they are “very confident” or “absolutely confident” in their understanding of scientific concepts and ability to explain the results of a study and use technical science skills such as tools, instruments, and techniques.
- When asked about their ability to work and live in a diverse society, alumnae from all-girls schools are nearly 10% more likely to have the goal of helping promote racial understanding, and 75% value improving their understanding of other countries and cultures, compared to 70% of their co-educated peers. Half (50%) of girls’ school graduates, compared to 45% of female students from coed schools, count their tolerance of others with different beliefs as a strength. Girls’ school alumnae are 6% more likely to note their ability to work cooperatively with diverse people as a strength.
- Girls’ school graduates are 8% more likely to have a goal of participating in community action programs and are 5% more likely to think it is “very important” or “essential” to become involved in environmentally minded Alumnae of all-girls schools more frequently participate in volunteer work compared to their co-educated peers—52% versus 47%.
- Women who attended all-girls schools are 5% more likely than co-educated graduates to plan to vote in elections and to publicly communicate their opinion about a cause. Considering their political engagement, graduates from all-girls schools are 7% more likely to think it is “very important” to have the goal of keeping up-to-date with political affairs.
As the data shows, girls’ school graduates rate themselves as more successful and engaged in areas where men have historically seen greater representation: science and politics. Reflecting on the totality of the findings, the researchers noted, “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.”
Earlier this week, we received some exciting news about one of our graduates. Emma Durham, Class of 2014, was selected as The Maryland Daily Record’s Leading Women 2018 Scholarship Recipient . Now in its 9th year, this program honors women 40 years old or younger who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. The award recognizes professional experience, as well as community involvement and a commitment to inspiring change. Emma was selected from a field of 52 women from across the State of Maryland, where she attends school. She is one of so many OLMA alumnae who are doing amazing things in this world. We are proud of each and every one of them. For all the details, click on the link highlighted above. Congratulations to Emma and her family.
OLMA Receives $10,000 Award to Create Model Classroom
One of 25 schools to receive a portion of Ocean First Foundation’s $250.000 program.
Our Lady of Mercy Academy’s (OLMA’s) efforts to raise awareness among its students of the many career opportunities available to women in business recently received a big boost thanks to a $10,000 award presented to the all-girls’ school by OceanFirst Foundation. OLMA was one of 12 elementary schools, seven middle schools and six high schools selected from 144 applicants to each receive a $10,000 grant for use in improving academic achievement.
OLMA will utilize its $10,000 grant to transform a Laptop Lab into a fully functional Center for Business and Collaborative Learning.
The classroom will be geared for primary use by juniors and seniors as part of a four-semester business education program. The program will focus on using hands-on and simulated learning to introduce and provide skills for use in business careers in which women are underrepresented, yet successful and in high demand. As part of the initiative, OLMA will establish a DECA chapter and develop courses focused on business fundamentals, create a business specific Job Shadow Program, recruit alumnae and other women in business and related fields to become part of a Business Speakers Series, explore dual credit and/or certification opportunities, and form an Advisory Board of experts. The room will be outfitted with a stock ticker display, collaborative furnishings and interactive learning tools.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the OceanFirst Foundation as we work to provide our students with every opportunity possible for them to discover themselves and explore the many career possibilities that await them,” said Brooke A. Coyle. “The more informed they are now, the better job they’ll do when it comes to selecting colleges and fields of study. We are incredibly grateful to OceanFirst Foundation and intend to make them proud.”
Thousands of students across Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties will see improvements to their classrooms this fall as part of the $250,000 Model Classroom Grant Program. Since its inception, the OceanFirst Foundation has awarded 6,600 grants totaling more than $36 million to over 900 local organizations, charities and schools throughout central and southern New Jersey.
“OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen,” said Christopher D. Maher, Chairman of the OceanFirst Foundation and President, Chief Executive Officer, OceanFirst Bank, who was joined at the presentation event by OceanFirst Foundation Executive Director, Kathy Durante. “Our commitment to helping families, organizations, schools and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey has spanned several generations. Through the OceanFirst Foundation, we are proud to support these 25 outstanding schools and this wonderful educational program.”
Our Lady of Mercy Academy, located in Newfield, NJ, is South Jersey’s only all-girls’ Catholic high school. Through a challenging academic curriculum, diverse extra-curricular program, hands-on leadership experiences, and the spirit of sisterhood, our students are forever bonded in faith and friendship. For more information, call (856) 697-2008, or visit OLMANJ.ORG.
Is there an OLMA classmate, alumna, teacher, coach, or family that stands out in your mind as deserving recognition? If so, we want to know more and invite you to submit a nomination to the 2018 slate of OLMA Hall of Fame inductees. To find out more and make a nomination, please click here.
Congratulations to 2012 OLMA graduate, Ashton Flora, on being named a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is currently attending Northern Virginia Community College where she is pursuing a degree in Radiography. Ashton is a recent recipient of a grant from the International Chapter P.E.O. Sisterhood, enabling her to continue her education after it was interrupted for a time. Congratulations, Ashton! We look forward to receiving additional updates.
Proud alumnae moment! Samantha Zarankin, OLMA ’16, competed in the 2018 MAC Swimming Championships in York PA for Widener Univ (School of Nursing) this weekend. She posted Personal Best in the 100 & 200 Breaststroke! Way to go, Sam!
Congratulations to our second alum this week! Tia DuPont, OLMA ’17, attends University of Miami and has been nominated for membership in The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). The NSCS is the preeminent honor society that invites and recognizes high-achieving first- and second-year college students across the nation. Less than 10% of entire student body is invited to join. Way to go, Tia!