INTRODUCTIONThe purpose of this report is to present highlights of a recently conducted study by Leader100 in Poland. In general, the results show different personal development needs of male and female students.
Leader100 is a program of skills and habits development for school students aged 11-18. The program offers teachers and parents tools to form their children, grow their personalities and prepare them for the life ahead as well as offers students to get to know themselves better and work on improving their skills.
There are four levels: PreLeader (11-12 year olds), JuniorLeader (13-14 year olds), SeniorLeader (15-16 year olds), and CollegeLeader (17-18 year olds). 25 competencies are covered on each level in two years time which add up to 100, hence the program name Leader100.
The concept for Leader100 skills and habits development program is accredited to professors from IESE Business School and their leadership skills development program for youth clubs in Spain. IESE Alumni from Poland adapted and adjusted the program to be used in public and private schools.
There were over 8000 Leader100 program users targeted from 40 schools (maily public schools) based in Poland. Respondents were divided into four groups: Male Students, Female Students, Teachers, and Parents. All study participants were to pick 9 competencies out of 24 from the list they should focus on for the reminder of the year.
After the study launch in early 2013, an on-line questionnaire would pop up after a user has logged in to the Leader100 web application. The questionnaire was anonymous to foster sincere response.
The study shows there are different needs of Female and Male students when it comes to personal development across students who participated in the study. In order to make valid comparisons, Table 1 shows sample research data related to a study of students at 15 years of age, both Male and Female students. More comprehensive research data is to be presented at EASSE Congress also indicating how priorities change with student’s age e.g. Friendship may be much more important for a 15 year old than 18 year old student.
For instance, 100% Female students indicated that ‘Friendship’ is top competency they should develop while only 50% Male students stated this is the case. On the other hand, 87,50% Male students indicated that ‘Courage’ is top competency they should develop while only 42,86% Female students stated this is significant for them.
When additionally taking into account views of teachers and parents, one can see that those groups point out different top competencies than Male or Female students. It may be contributed to age or sex. There is a large disproportion in a competency such as Courage which only 20% of teachers rate as important compared with Male students at 87,50% or Female students at 42,86%. Given the fact that most teachers in Poland are females may explain the lesser difference between Male students and teachers responses. Another factor – age may explain a significant difference in such a competency as Friendship which Male students rated at 50%, Female students at 100%, but only 40% of teachers and 42,86% of parents.
In summary, there are different needs of Female and Male students when it comes to personal development based on our study of students at 15 years of age. This study is not the strongest evidence for a single-sex education, but it clearly supports the case for a single-sex education where Female and Male differences and needs are accounted for when designing educational programs for school students.