NZ results confirm girls do better in single-sex schools

05 November 2015

Analysis of the 2014 New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results has confirmed that girls at single-sex schools achieve higher academic results than girls attending co-educational schools. At NCEA Level 1, 34.2% of girls from single-sex schools in the top socioeconomic decile gained an excellence endorsement, compared with 24.1% of girls from co-ed schools in the same decile group. Commenting on the results in an article published online by, Principal of Diocesan School for Girls, Heather McRae, attributed girls’ greater academic success to a learning environment free from gender discrimination where girls are more confident and assertive, more likely to study STEM subjects and participate in physical education, and are more comfortable taking on leadership roles.

The article also refers to a 1999 Christchurch School of Medicine study by Lianne Woodward, David Fergusson and John Horwood which found, even after adjusting for socioeconomic and other factors, that students at New Zealand single-sex schools achieved higher academic results and stayed at school longer. They also found that students from single-sex schools were were more likely to leave school with a qualification and less likely to be unemployed after leaving school.