Do single-sex schools help Australians major in STEMM at university?

Single-sex schooling is believed to benefit students’ academic achievement and girls’ engagement in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). The latter is assumed because single-sex environments are meant to neutralise gender stereotypes. Little is known, however, about longer term effects of such schooling. Therefore, we consider whether graduating from a single-sex school increases the uptake of university majors in physical or life sciences. Using data from the 2003 cohort of the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth and multinomial logistic regressions, we find that girls who graduated from single-sex schools did not major in physical sciences at university at rates higher than their peers from coeducational schools. Likewise, there are no differences in the take up of life science majors, irrespective of gender or type of school. By contrast, fewer boys who graduated from single-sex schools went on to study physical sciences at university. We discuss the implications of these findings.


Law, H & Sikora, J 2020, 'Do single-sex schools help Australians major in STEMM at university?, School Effectiveness and School Improvement.

ANU Gender Institute member author
Joanna Sikora 


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Gender Institute

Date posted

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute