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The Learning Environment

National Survey of Student Engagement, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. The study empirically shows that women’s colleges provide an educational experience that is in many ways superior to coeducational institutions.

“What’s more, “For more than two decades, proponents of women’s colleges have asserted that such institutions offer female students a more equitable, and therefore higher quality, developmentally powerful learning environment. Our findings support this claim and plainly indicate that single-sex colleges are not an anachronistic post-secondary option for women.”

In this study, engagement was defined using six scales:

  1. academic challenge as measured by reading, writing, time and time spent preparing for class
  2. higher-order thinking as measured by time spent synthesizing ideas, making judgments, applying theories, and analyzing ideas
  3. integration as measured by activities that foreshadow deep learning, such as discussions of ideas from readings or classes with faculty members or others outside of class, or as working on papers and projects that require integrating ideas or information from various sources
  4. active and collaborative learning as measured by working with other students in and out of class, asking questions in class, and making class presentations
  5. student-faculty interaction as measured by a range of contacts inside and outside the classroom
  6. experiences with diversity as measured by student interactions with people of different backgrounds and a campus-wide emphasis on encouraging these interactions