Boys left behind as gender gap widens

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girls left boys standing in this years GCSE results, widening the gap between the sexes in the top grades.

The statistics show that 73.1 per cent of girls’ entries scored A*-C compared with 64.3 per cent of boys’, up from 72.3 per cent and 63.7 per cent respectively.

But boys are closing the gap at the very top, with 5.2 per cent of entries scoring an A* compared with 8.1 per cent of girls’, a difference of 2.9 percentage points, down from three percentage points last summer.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment at Buckingham University, said he was surprised at the results as he believed that the change to end-of-course exams would favour boys.

They tend to do better in those tests, whereas girls’ results rose with the introduction of modular testing.

“I was expecting more change this year than has actually happened,” he said.

“I was expecting the end-of-year exams to kick in but it is probably going to take some while for the new arrangement to bed down.”

In the core subjects, there was wide variety in how well boys and girls did.

In the sciences, boys closed the gap on girls in chemistry and biology at A*-C but could not catch up in physics as both saw their scores rise by the same percentage points. But at the top A* grade boys closed the gap in chemistry and physics while falling back in biology.

Girls widened their lead over boys in English and English literature, both at A* and A*-C.

Boys widened their lead in mathematics at A* level but in the wider A*-C the girls closed the gap.