In today's society, education is often seen as the key to success. However, not all students have equal access to high-quality education, and even those who do may struggle to achieve their full potential due to various factors, such as socioeconomic status, gender, and school environment. One of the most critical factors in determining a student's success is their self-belief and expectation of personal and professional success.
Research has shown that an individual's attitude and expectations play a crucial role in achieving their goals. Children born into socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are more likely to grow into similarly disadvantaged circumstances. This is because, in these communities, students often lack access to resources and opportunities that can help them develop the self-belief and expectation of success that are necessary for achieving their goals. On the other hand, socially advantaged children tend to have more opportunities and resources that help them develop a positive attitude and high expectations, which can lead to greater success.
However, regardless of socioeconomic status, the attitudes and expectations of one's peers also play a significant role in determining one's own attitudes and expectations. When people around us accept lower expectations, we are likely to do the same, which can create a cycle of negative outcomes. This is particularly true for girls, whose expectations and outcomes can be influenced by the gender setting of their schooling.
The study 'Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools' by Holmgren (2014) found that girls in single-sex schools have higher motivation, are more engaged in their work, and have higher aspirations and expectations than girls who attend coeducational schools. This is true for both private and public-school settings. Students at all-girls schools set high standards for themselves, and they take pride in the quality of their schoolwork. The expectations of these students are significantly higher than those of girls enrolled in coeducational schools.
One of the significant advantages of all-girls schools is that the shared high standards, aspirations, and expectations of students lead to a perpetuating cycle of excellence. This creates a positive learning environment that prepares students for future success. In addition, nearly all students at all-girls schools expect to earn a four-year degree, and more than two-thirds expect to earn an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. These expectations are significantly higher than those of girls enrolled in coeducational schools.
The benefits of single-sex education for girls are numerous. By attending an all-girls school, students are surrounded by peers who share their high expectations and aspirations. This creates a culture of excellence that encourages each student to reach their full potential. Additionally, without the presence of boys, girls feel more comfortable taking on leadership roles and participating in activities that are traditionally male-dominated.
In conclusion, self-belief and expectation of success are primary drivers to achieving success. Unfortunately, not all students have equal access to the resources and opportunities that can help them develop a positive attitude and high expectations. The gender setting of schooling also plays a significant role in determining the expectations and outcomes of girls. However, all-girls schools provide a positive learning environment that fosters a culture of excellence and prepares students for future success. The shared high standards, aspirations, and expectations of students in single-sex schools lead to an advantage over girls from coeducational schools in the short and long term. By attending an all-girls school, girls can develop the self-belief and expectation of success that are necessary for achieving their goals.
Holmgren, Richard A. (2014) “Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools’” for the National Coalition of Girls Schools
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies