Private Schools Column

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Regardless of their ability levels, girls who attend all-girls schools are more likely to take mathematics and science achievement tests and Advanced Placement examinations than boys or girls attending coeducational private schools, a survey sponsored by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools has found.

The survey, released last month at the National Association of Independent Schools' conference in New York City, also found girls'-school students of all ability levels scored on a par with coed-school students on practically all of the achievement and A.P. exams.

Ability levels were gauged by students' performance on the math portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

As part of a larger study, the coalition collected data on about 3,000 students in 25 girls' schools and about 1,000 boys and girls in four coed schools. (See Education Week, Nov. 25, 1992.)

Thirty-one percent of girls'-school students took the Math Level II achievement test, compared with 20 percent of girls and 29 percent of boys at coed schools.

Fifteen percent of girls'-school students took the A.P. biology exam, compared with 11 percent of girls and 7 percent of boys at coed schools.

However, fewer students from girls' schools took the A.P. physics and A.P. computer exams than did male and female students at coed schools. Also, girls'-school students' performance on the áŸðŸ physics and A.P. chemistry tests lagged markedly behind that of their coed-school peers.

Ann S. Pollina, the dean of the faculty at the all-girls Westover School in Connecticut who oversaw the survey, attributed the performance of students from all-girls schools to collaborative teaching techniques, small-group settings, and use of examples based on girls' life experiences.

The N.A.I.S. released two publications at its conference, The Search Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Selecting the Right Leader for Your School and Shaping Strategy: Independent School Planning in the 1990's.

The Search Handbook, edited by Barbara Gilvar, an executive-search consultant, covers such topics as the selection of a search committee, legal and ethical concerns in the search process, and effective interview strategies.

Shaping Strategy, by Susan C. Stone, a strategic-planning consultant, outlines a model long-range-planning process that shows readers how to put together and implement a vision for the future.

The Search Handbook and Shaping Strategy are available for $22 and $20 each, respectively, from the N.A.I.S. Publications Department, 75 Federal St., Boston, Mass. 02110; (617) 451-2444.-M.L.

Vol. 12, Issue 24

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