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A-level results day: Gender performance gap widens in Northern Ireland

 

Three in 10 A-level entries scored at least an A grade this year as Northern Ireland students performed strongly.

Figures showed 30.4% received grades A* or A, an increase of 0.9% percentage points on the previous year.

The gap between girls and boys widened as, for the first time, the latter's results slumped when compared across all grades.

Despite a year of major change to the qualification, performance remained stable, said awarding organisation the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

Chief executive Justin Edwards said: "There are reforms and changes going on within the A-level system so to have stable outcomes ... is important and I am pleased that Northern Ireland candidates continue to do strongly."

He said there was plenty of "head room" for further inflation in grades in the years ahead without hampering universities' ability to choose between pupils.

Whilst we must recognise and celebrate the achievements of female students, a widening of the gender gap is a concern. JCQ Chief executive Justin Edwards

The "decoupling" of AS-levels from A-levels in England, entailing a move away from coursework and modular exams throughout the course, has seen a drop in the number taking AS-levels in Northern Ireland.

A proportion of the qualifications there come from English awarding bodies.

The gap between girls and boys widened across all grades.

Krissy Bell, Kaite Lynn, Francesca Eldred, Gina Gilmartin and Emma Connolly at Victoria College in Belfast receive A* and A Grades Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Krissy Bell, Kaite Lynn, Francesca Eldred, Gina Gilmartin and Emma Connolly at Victoria College in Belfast receive A* and A Grades Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
A Level Students from St Dominic's Grammar School on the Falls Road in Belfast pictured after receiving their A-levels. Picture By: Pacemaker Press
Niamh Hanna and Jane McNulty celebrate as they receive A-Level results at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Claire Murphy receives A-Level results at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Michael Darling receives A-Level results at Royal Belfast Academical Institution on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Megan Wilkinson and Amy Wilkinson receives A-Level results at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Kaja Olszewska , Kaitlyn Bradshaw, Jenni Cupples and Jasmin Higgins receive A-Level results at Belfast Model School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Christopher McGuinness receives A-Level results at St Malachy's College Belfast on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Anna Arthurs receives A-Level results at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Jane McNulty receives A-Level results at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Megan McCloskey and Emma McCloskey receives A-Level results at Malone College on August 17th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
A delighted Lisneal College, Derry principal, Mr. Michael Allen with some of his A Level students yesterday morning.
AUNTIE’S HERO!. . . .St. Mary’s College, Derry student Janine McSherry gets a hug from her aunt and St. Mary’s senior teacher, Catriona Kealey yesterday morning.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry student Gabrielius Dobrovolskis is congratulated on his A Level results by Senior Teacher Mr. Gerard Doherty at the school yesterday morning.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry students Nathan Doherty, Conal Kelly and Jack Gillespie pictured after receiving their A Level results at the school yesterday morning.
St. Mary’s College, Derry students celebrate their A Level results at the school yesterday morning.
St. Mary’s College, Derry students Jane McGowan and her mum Catherine and Jayne McSherry and her mum Seana check their A Level results at the school yesterday morning.
Lisneal College, Derry student Richie Laird.
Ms. Marguerite Hamilton, Principal, Thornhill College, Derry pictured with the school’s top A Level students and their teachers at the school yesterday morning after the student received their results.
Lisneal College, Derry student Hannah Working.
A delighted St. Mary’s College, Derry student Lauren Young shows her mum Annette her A Level results at the school yesterday morning.
St. Columb’s College, Derry student Jack McKeever.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry only female student Chloe McFadden pictured with fellow student Dian Nash at the school yesterday after receiving their results at the school yesterday morning.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry student Darren O’Hagan.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry student Harry Curran is congratulated by Principal, Mr. Damian Harkin yesterday morning.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry Principal, Mr. Damian Harkin pictured with A Level students Jake Allen Darragh Stillman and Shaunie McLaughlin after receiving their results at the school yesterday morning.
CHECKING RESULTS. . . .St Mary’s College, Derry students Mairead Ward, Chloe Boyle, Oliwia Marcinkowska, Niamh Dunlop and Emma Doherty discuss their results yesterday morning.
St. Joseph’s Boys School, Derry A-Level students pictured with Principal, Mr. Damian Harkin yesterday morning after receiving their A Level results.
Mrs. Marguerite Hamilton, Principal, Thornhill College, Derry pictured with Blessy Biji and Emer Mulholland who both got 3A*s in this year’s results.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 17th August 2017 Pupils at Victoria College in South Belfast revive their A Level results. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Pacemaker Press 17/8/2017 Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 17th August 2017 Pupils at Victoria College in South Belfast revive their A Level results. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Pacemaker Press 17/8/2017 Top achievers at Victoria College in Belfast receive A* and A Grades, As the level Results on Thursday, The proportion of top A-level grades achieved by Northern Ireland students has risen significantly. More than 30,000 students received their A-level and AS-level results on Thursday and the overall A*-E pass rate was 98.3%. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/08/2017 A Level Results 2017
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 17th August 2017 Pupils at Victoria College in South Belfast revive their A Level results. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye ©
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Rachel Andrew, Beth Gault, Patrick Gault and Katie Herron.
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Rachel McKeeg 2A' B with Andrew Rogers A* and 2A's
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Rachel Keer A* and 2B's and is hoping for a place in UUJ to study sports.
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Erin Boyd A* A B and Amy Caldwell 2A's B
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Sarah Stewart, Cameron Keys, Peter Gordon and Sarah Bridle great results and looking forward for more study.
Press Eye © Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye © Nadine Gault 3A's and Harry Mathers 2A's and 2B's
Friends (from left) Anna Murray, Chloe Roberts, Caitlin Lawlor, and Aine Kerr, after collecting their A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Tiarnan Curran-Feeney who got 3 A* and an A with Anna Murray who got 4 A* after collecting their A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A Level results at Banbridge Academy in Co Down. Pictured are A-s students Ellie Large,Rebekah Dougan and Lauren Ferguson with Olivia Knox. Picture Mark Marlow
Emer Maguire who got 3 A* celebrates with her mother Ciara Maguire after collecting her A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Doireann Sheridan after collecting her A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 17, 2017. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Orla Kearney with her mother Moya Kearney after collecting her A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 17, 2017. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Imogen Forbes who received four A's and a B in As level pictured with principal Dr Michelle Rainey at Ballyclare High School. Pic by Peter Morrison
Rory Dorman and Anna Crowe from Ballyclare High, who received four A's in A.S level. Pic by Peter Morrison
Some of the top achievers at Ballyclare High School in A2, from left, Aaron Coleman, Katie Young, Sophie Patterson, Sian Reed, Christian Montgomery and Charolette Loughhead. Pic by Peter Morrison
A Level results at Banbridge Academy in Co Down. Pictured are A2 students Matthew Young,Megan Ringland and Angus Corbett. Picture Mark Marlow
A Level results at Banbridge Academy in Co Down. Pictured are Chartlotte Hawthorne 3 A* in Chemistry, Biology and Maths Charlotte McCrum 3 A* Biology, Chemistry and Maths and Sarah Thompson A. A. C. Biology, Geography and Religious Education. Picture Mark Marlow
Emer Maguire who got 3 A* and Rory Cullen who got 2 A's and a B after collecting their A-level results at Our Lady and Saint Patrick's College, Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mr Edwards said this was due to an increase in outcomes for girls and a decrease for boys.

Girls now outperform boys by 1.5 percentage points at the A* grade and 6.5 percentage points at A*-A.

The chief executive added: "For a first year we have boys' outcomes decreasing and girls' outcomes increasing well and strongly so we need to keep an eye on that.

"As with any results, there are some things worth further study, such as the widening performance gap between males and females. Whilst we must recognise and celebrate the achievements of female students, a widening of the gender gap is a concern.

He added: "The results today are an important part of a student’s educational journey and I wish them all the very best for the journey ahead.”

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