Two of the Sunday Times’ journalists decided to challenge the results of a recent large survey by education data analysts, SchoolDash, which concluded that girls at single-sex schools generally achieve higher exam grades than those in mixed schools. I wrote about this survey two days ago (“Why do some girls get better exam results”). The results of their case are in today’s paper.
What the Sunday Times duo have done is to analyse the results of girls’ scores in last year’s exam scores in the top 50 schools — whether in girls-only or co-educational and whether in state or private. What the journalists discovered is that of the ten best results, the top five were all from girls at mixed-sex schools. This was then followed by four girls-only schools and then another mixed. Without actually saying so, they give the strong impression that they have thus disproved the original survey.
What they haven’t done, however, is to show the results of the next 40 schools. I have little doubt that the 6:4 ratio in favour of girls from mixed would not have been repeated when going down the list. I wouldn’t be surprised that the ratio would have been reversed to 4:6 long before it reached No. 50. And what about several hundred other schools in the country? I’ve little doubt that SchoolDash’s original findings would stand.
But let us look at the top five schools. They are King’s College School (Wimbledon), Queen Ethelburga’s College (near York), Brighton College, Cardiff Sixth Form College, Westminster School (London). They’re all private schools ! Here, unlike many hundreds of state schools in the country, the boys would not be allowed to make any distractions.
Incidentally, it’s noticeable that the Sunday Times doesn’t quote the source — SchoolDash — of the original survey. Also incidentally, the reason I gave in my earlier piece — that girls’ minds develop years before boys — is something that hasn’t yet reached the public domain. If any country seriously wants to reform their educational systems for tomorrow’s far more complex world then they had better start paying attention to the fact that male brains don’t reach parity with female brains until they’re about 30 years of age.