Girls in a class of their own in the A* stakes
Girls in Northern Ireland have once again outshone boys at all grade levels in their GCSEs.
At A* just 6.5% of boys achieved the top grade compared to 10.5% of girls; 23.3% of boys and 31.9% of girls were awarded A*/A, while 71.3% of boys secured A* to C grades and 78.1% of girls.
Although Northern Ireland pupils' performances at GCSE has dipped, the overall results are still above the UK average.
A* grades are down 0.4%, A* to C have slumped by 0.5%, while there has been no change in A* to G grades. The only rise was in A*/A grades which are up by 0.1% compared to last year. In comparison, the UK average has risen across the board with a 0.3% increase at A*, 0.6% at A*/A , 0.8% at A* to C and 0.1% at A* to G.
But at the crucial A* to C grades bracket, 74.8% of entries gained the Government benchmark - higher than the UK average of 69.8%. The number of entries has decreased in line with declining numbers of young people. The total was 178,017.
CCEA director of qualifications Anne Marie Duffy said: "Our students have again produced an excellent set of GCSE results and they should be proud of what they have achieved. It is encouraging to see that the Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects remain a popular choice, particularly the sciences."
Education Minister John O'Dowd said: "I would like to congratulate all the young people receiving GCSE exam results. Your excellent results highlight not only your own hard work and determination over many years, but also the inspiration and motivation provided by your parents and teachers."
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said: "The importance of making an informed decision following exam results is crucial to effective career planning. Taking time now to explore all the options available will pay dividends in the future. Whatever results you have achieved, there are many opportunities available to you, and I would urge you to examine these fully."