Girls beat boys by record margin – because they're more mature

 

The biggest gender gap yet in GCSE performance opened up with the announcement of the results for 650,000 students yesterday. Girls were 6.7 percentage points ahead at A* and A grade with more than one in four (26.5 per cent) registering a top grade pass – the largest gap since the A* was introduced in 1994.

The trend was in stark contrast to A-level results that showed boys closing the gender gap and registering just as many A* passes as girls.

However, Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the gap could be down to a "lack of maturity" on the part of boys who only knuckle down to learning once a university place is in sight.

The girls' stellar performance coincided with a big rise in the take-up of sciences – physics up 16.4 per cent, chemistry 15.2 per cent and biology 14.2 per cent. According to Andrew Hall, chief executive of the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance – Britain's biggest exam board – girls were now becoming "confident" in their ability to tackle the sciences.

Overall, the results showed a marginal increase in the pass rate – up 0.1 percentage points to 98.8 per cent. The percentage of A* to C grades went up – but only by 0.8 per cent compared with 2 percentage points last year. The figure now stands at 69.8 per cent. At A*/A grade, it went up by 0.6 percentage points to 23.2 per cent.

This year saw a reduction in the number of candidates sitting GCSEs – the number of scripts was down by 4.2 per cent, compared with a drop of just 2.6 per cent in the age cohort.

This is being attributed by exam boards to a combination of schools choosing alternative exams – such as the IGCSE, based on the traditional O-level, and teachers putting pupils in for fewer subject to avoid cramming them with too many exams.

In addition, growing numbers – particularly in English – were sitting exams early, partly as an attempt by schools to give themselves a better chance of securing a good league table position.

Religious studies showed the biggest percentage increase – going up by 17.6 per cent to 221, 000, confounding critics who suggested some schools might switch pupils from it in the middle of their studies since it did not count towards the English baccalaureate.

The decline in modern-languages provision continued, so that only one in four pupils now studies French at GCSE. For German, the figure is fewer than one in 10. The gap in performance between state and independent schools remained wide – although private schools accounted this year for 17.7 per cent of all A* grades compared with 17.8 per cent last year. They represented just 8 per cent of the candidates.

There were concerns that successful GCSE candidates could be put off further study as a result of the Government's decision to axe the educational maintenance allowance.

"Many students will find it difficult to continue in education despite having the grades and potential to do so," said Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers. However, ministers argue they are targeting funding at the most needy students. The poorest 12,000 students will receive £1,200 a year under their plans.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat