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ERIC Number: ED518941
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 154
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-1727-7
Definitions of Success: Girls at Miss Porter's School Share Their Hopes, Dreams, and Fears
Windsor, Katherine Gladstone
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
This study explores how girls currently enrolled and recently graduated from Miss Porter's School, Farmington, Connecticut, define success and the role gender plays in their definition(s). Data were collected from semi-structured student interviews, written responses by the students to a prompt designed to elicit personal conceptions of success, and data collected from the Admissions and College Counseling Offices at Miss Porter's School. These were used to conceptualize and construct a greater understanding of how girls at Miss Porter's School consider, understand, and ultimately envision success. Findings will be used to inform the school's leadership and programming. Furthermore, the results inform a more focused understanding of the educational and psychological development of girls. Miss Porter's is committed to providing an ideal educational experience for girls, but there has been a tendency to rely on external definitions of success for the graduates, such as selective college placement and adult/faculty perspectives on courses and programming that best fulfill the school's mission. Miss Porter's School has not systematically engaged girls in understanding how they envision their lives beyond college. Consequently, the goal of providing a unique experience for girls is at risk of becoming diluted. This study sheds light on a topic explored frequently from the perspective of girls in comparison to boys, or students as a gender-neutral group, rather than from the perspective of girls exclusively. Psychologist Carol Gilligan, in her 1993 work, "In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development", argued that there is an ongoing struggle for young girls between their rights and responsibilities assigned by their gender. Such a struggle raises questions about the development of young women. How do girls conceptualize being successful given their potential responsibilities as mothers or as wives? How do young women construct choices regarding personal and professional success? What is the range and internal variation among their views, understandings, and choices? Researchers have not adequately studied adolescent girls' definitions of success from their own individual perspectives. In addressing this under-examined area, this study will positively inform Miss Porter's School, all educators of girls and, of course, young girls themselves. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut