Northern Ireland students have outperformed the rest of the UK in terms of top GCSE grades.
The proportion of Northern Ireland pupils achieving grades from A*-C has increased by half a percent, with almost a tenth of entries being awarded an A*.
The proportion of entries awarded A* - C grades has risen 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.
This is higher than the average across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were 66.9% of entries achieved A* to C grades.
Females continue to perform better than males in GCSE examinations, with 82.9% of all female entries gaining the A* - C grades (up 0.7 percentage points on last year). Male entries achieving A*- C grades also improved to 75.3%, up 0.2 percentage points on 2015. The gap between Female and Male performance at A*- C has widened by 0.5 percentage points.
The total number of entries in GCSE examinations in Northern Ireland has fallen from 171,325 in 2015 to 161,975 in 2016, a drop of 5.5%. The entry decline was anticipated, given the 5% drop in the pupil cohort.
Entries for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have grown by 0.3% in Northern Ireland. This growth means STEM subjects here account for close to one third (31.9%) of all GCSE entries.
The increase in STEM entries is being driven by Biology (up 3.4%), Chemistry (up 1.7%) and Computing (up 106%). There were decreases in the percentage of the overall entry taking Design and Technology (down 7.7%), ICT (down 4.6%) and Physics (down 3%).
Languages entries have declined by 3.7% in Northern Ireland. French entries declined by 6.4%, Spanish entries declined by 3.8% and Irish entries decreased by 4%. German increased by 11.3%. today, up on last year's 5,429,478.