Slight rise in students achieving top GCSE grades
The proportion of Northern Ireland pupils achieving top GCSE grades has increased by half a percent.
Almost a tenth of entries were awarded an A*.
Girls extended the performance gap over boys at grades A* to C by half a percentage point, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications.
The proportion of science, technology, engineering and maths entries increased to almost a third.
Northern Ireland pupils continued to make steady improvements, with small rises across the grades.
The proportion of entries awarded A* - C grades has risen by 0.4% this year to 79.1%. Entries achieving A* - A have improved 0.5% to 29.1%, and entries achieving the top A* grade now sit at 9.3%, a slight rise of 0.3% on last year.
In English, A* - C performance rose by 2% to 77.8% of entries this year.
In mathematics, A* - C performance fell by 1.7% to 64.9% of entries. At age 16 the performance was stable at 68.4%, with a decline of 0.2% compared to last year.
The sciences continue to perform strongly with A* - C performance in biology rising 0.6% to 92.2% of entries, chemistry up 0.1% to 93.6 of entries, and physics up 0.3% to 95.9% of entries.
Girls continued to perform better than boys, with 82.9% gaining the A* - C grades (up 0.7% on last year). The tally of boys achieving A*- C grades also improved to 75.3%, up 0.2% on 2015.
Stormont education minister Peter Weir said pupils continued to show steady improvement, with small rises across the grades.
Students again outperformed their counterparts in England and Wales.
Mr Weir said: "High standards have once again been achieved in this year's GCSE examination results, with over 79.1% of local candidates achieving A*-C grades and 29.1% achieving A*-A, representing a slight increase in both categories on last year.
"I am pleased to see that entries for Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have grown by 2.4% in Northern Ireland.
"This growth is stronger than the equivalent UK figure of 0.1% and means Stem subjects here account for close to one-third of all GCSE entries."
Top performer Sarah Kidd, 16, from Belfast, attends Methodist College in the city. She achieved eight A*s and two As and will now take A-levels. She wants to study medicine at university.
She said of her GCSE results: "There was a lot of work put into it. I was hoping to do as well as this but I definitely did not expect to do as well."
She said her advice was to work hard and do your best.
She volunteers with children aged four to eight at Girl Guides and swimming and goes ice skating in her free time.
Shan Mathew, 16, also from Belfast, earned nine A*s and two As at Our Lady And St Patrick's College Knock in the city.
"I was really surprised and happy with what I got," he said. "It was a lot of hard work and revising for the exams."
His favourite subject is chemistry and he said he wants to study medicine or engineering at university.