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Curriculum Catch-Up

What is special about attending a single sex school and in particular, a girl’s school? There are many advantages to girls only educational settings. These include advantages in academic achievement, community connectedness and confidence. Throughout 2020, I will be outlining a variety of research findings outlining advantages of girls only schooling.

This week I am considering a study conducted by ACER in 2017 which compared NAPLAN results in single sex and coeducational settings for Year 3, 5, and 7. The results illustrate that students in girls’ schools achieve significantly higher than those in coeducational settings across all year levels in numeracy and reading. There is a gap of up to 1.25 years in achievement levels between students in girls and students in co-educational schools. It is important to note that all data is adjusted for socioeconomic status (SES scores) and taken over a three-year period to minimise any potential effect of individual cohorts making the data quite reliable.


Whilst this shows a significant over achievement in girls schools, it is particularly interesting to note the largest achievement gap of over a year occurs at Year 3. This certainly reinforces the very real importance of girls only education in the formative Primary context.

Whilst this study is a single example, it must be stated that similar findings in different contexts have been reported by other organisations such as the OECD (PISA).


More information on the study is available form ACER https://rd.acer.org/article/single-sex-schooling-and-achievement-outcomes.


Dr John Fry

Dean of Senior Studies

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