Learning & Growing

The Benefits of Co-Ed

    • A survey by The Strategic Counsel found that boys and girls reported nearly the same level of academic confidence regardless of the school environment.

      A survey by The Strategic Counsel found that boys and girls reported nearly the same level of academic confidence regardless of the school environment.

We believe in the many social and academic benefits of mixed-gender education. 
For decades, research, theory and anecdotal narratives have claimed that schools and society are failing either girls or boys. Opinion has also swung on the merits of single-sex and co-ed education.

Our take on the research data is that it shows that neither single-sex nor co-ed schools do a better job of educating girls or boys. In fact, a leading U.K. study (Robinson and Smithers, 2010) concludes that “it is not possible to claim that all girls or boys, under any conditions and at any time, would do better in one or other type of schooling.” The same basic conclusion was reached in a U.S. meta-analysis on the topic published in 2014 (Pahlke, Hyde and Allison).
co-ed environment promotes healthy student relationships, fosters effective learning and reflects 21st century realities.

What do the numbers say?

In 2006, The Strategic Counsel, a Canadian market research firm, surveyed 17,798 students and recent grads from Canadian high schools. Those surveyed were primarily university- or college-bound and came from all types of schools, whether independent or public, co-ed or single-sex. Their findings included the following: 

  • Boys and girls reported nearly the same level of academic confidence regardless of the school environment (co-ed vs. single sex)
  • 84% of students attending independent co-ed schools felt confident expressing their views in the presence of the opposite sex (that number dropped significantly for students in single-sex schools)
  • Students at co-ed schools make friends easily with members of the same sex (80%) and members of the opposite sex (72%) (that latter number drops to 58% for students in single-sex independent schools)
  • Girls at co-ed schools were just as likely as those at single-sex schools to participate in class discussions
  • Girls’ perceptions of their abilities in math and science are not affected by the gender composition of their schools
  • Boys in a co-ed environment are as likely to be engaged in learning as boys in a single-sex environment
  • Students at independent co-ed schools agree (88%) that their school is a safe environment for all students
According to a study by The Strategic Counsel, girls’ perceptions of their abilities in math and science are not affected by the gender composition of their schools.

Single-Sex Opportunities

While we firmly believe in the many advantages of co-education, we also understand that girls and boys benefit from opportunities to interact in single-sex groups. Within our mixed-gender environment, we offer the following single-sex programs and courses.

Girls' Groups and Boys' Groups
Available for Grades 7-11, these groups give students a structured, yet open, forum to discuss issues affecting girls and boys and to form and strengthen new friendships. Grade 11 and 12 students act as leaders, along with teacher facilitators. 

Outdoor Education for Grades 9-11
Our Outdoor Education program contains a blend of mixed- and single-gender experiences, so all students have the opportunity to experience both during their time at the school. Examples of single-sex trips:
  • Algonquin Park canoe trip (Grade 9)
  • Temagami canoe expedition (Grade 10)
  • British Columbia hiking OR sea kayaking trip (Grade 11)

Health and Physical Education
Health and physical education classes are offered in separate-gender groupings in Grades 7-9. Classes for Grade 10-12 students are co ed; students in these grades also have a wide variety of options for health and phys ed courses, including courses geared towards small-group activities, large-group activities and elite athletes. View our Academic Handbook to learn more.

Greenwood College School

443 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON M4S 2L8
Tel: 416 482 9811