One thing that I have always wondered is that if school uniforms have an effect on academic performance. Throughout my life I have attending public school, which requires no uniform. I have also attended a private catholic school that had a very strict school dress code. I have been successful at both schools and I was curious to find a correlation between what you wear and your academic performance. The debate has been going on for a long time, many believe that school uniforms promote professionalism while others say no dress code is better because of the choices that one has. For this blog I will look at the benefits of both sides and then review a case study that will show the answer.
Private schools typically enforce a moderately specific dress code for their students to wear. According to an article in “Pacific Standard” magazine, school uniforms actually decrease gang violence. One very positive aspect of wearing school uniforms is that outsiders can be identified easier, because they can be spotted. One specific case study that I had examined for the purpose of this blog is that 160 schools were involved and it was found that females had the largest improvement of all in the study. One very important trait of wearing a school uniform is that it is believed to create a more serious atmosphere which can lead to to better motivation for one’s grades. Wearing dress code clothes also doesn’t allow for social divide, because everyone is wearing the same thing. Besides the money to invest in at the beginning, you do not have to buy many clothes if you have a dress code. Although I did find an interesting study where 90% of 7th and 8th graders didn’t like uniforms.
I also attended public school during a portion of my schooling. It was nice to not have to dress up and wear a uniform. One benefit of a public school is cost, it does not cost as much to attend a public school as it does to attend a private school. Diversity is also a great attribute of attending a public school, you have lots of people with different backgrounds attending it. The one thing that I personally enjoyed about public school was having the ability to wear whatever I wanted to wear. Public schools do not prepare you for the real work world though, in some instances. One can wear a suit and tie everyday and end up being a construction worker on the opposing side of things. Public school creates a divide in social class because you can see who has the best clothing, that is probably the biggest downfall of not having a dress code.
To find the final answer and know if school uniforms have an effect on one’s grades, I looked at various studies conducted. The biggest one that I found in terms of summarizing my findings came from the southwest United States. This particular study examined not just grade performance but behavior as well. The findings shocked me. I found that uniforms actually improved attendance indefinitely. The biggest conclusion that I found was that uniforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary schools, meaning 6-12 grade. There was a raise in .3-.4% points. There was little evidence on grade achievement.
I think there is no definite answer to my proposed question of if school uniforms affect school grades. I think there are tons of 3rd variables that go into play with it. I think you can have a great public school with no dress code and compare it to a not so good private school. I think there are many factors in finding an answer. I believe that uniforms are important in terms of creating a serious atmosphere but comfort is equally important too.