Belfast Telegraph

Girls outperform boys across all grades

Girls have strongly outperformed boys in the latest A-level results in Northern Ireland.

The gender gap increased across all grades as results for boys slumped.

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

The overall number of students receiving top marks has risen by 0.9% to 30.4%.

Talented Our Lady and St Patrick's College Knock pupil Anna Murray celebrated four A*s in sciences, history and French.

She said: "I just feel so grateful and so blessed."

There were more than 30,000 entries.

The awarding authority said it had been a strong year for Northern Ireland's pupils.

The chief executive of Northern Ireland's awarding body the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment Justin Edwards said continued good performance was despite reforms and changes within the system.

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.

Mr Edwards 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."

Other key findings included:

:: The overall A*-E pass rate remained stable following a 0.1 percentage point increase to 98.3%.

:: The proportion of girls earning an A* increased by 0.9 percentage points to 8.7% and at A*-A by two percentage points to 33.3%.

:: Boys' performance declined by 0.3 percentage points to 7.2% awarded an A* and at A*-A by 0.4 percentage points to 26.8%.

:: The proportion of A-level entries saw a slight decrease of 3.6%, in line with the overall school population decrease.

:: Subject choices remained broadly stable, with mathematics continuing to be the most popular.

:: The proportion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) entries decreased to 39.2% of all A-level entries, down from 39.8% last year.

There was a pronounced increase in the number of girls taking computing, up by two-thirds.

More girls have taken Stem subjects over the last four year but there has not been the same rate of growth this year.

French and German studies decreased.

The number of A-level Irish entries have been increasing since 2013, they were up 0.1% this year.

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