Girls took home more of the new 9 grades in this summer’s exams than their male classmates.
Around 60% of English and maths GCSEs awarded the highest result were girls’ entries, compared with around 40% for boys, according to a Press Association analysis of the figures.
The gender gap was similar for all UK candidates sitting the qualifications, and for 16-year-olds in England only.
For both groups, girls scored more 9s in English and English literature, while boys were ahead in maths.
The analysis shows that among 16-year-olds in England only, girls achieved around 29,600 grade 9s across the three GCSEs, while boys scored around 19,900.
One expert said comparisons with last year indicate that the new GCSEs, which include end-of-course assessment rather than exams throughout, are benefiting boys.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said he calculated that the proportion of 16-year-old boys in England scoring a 7 or higher – an A*-A under the old grading system – in English language had fallen by 0.5 percentage points to 11.4% compared with last year, while girls had seen a one-point fall to 22.3%.
In maths, the proportion of boys scoring 7 or above had risen one point to 20.6%, while girls saw a drop from 19.9% achieving at least an A grade last year to 19.3% gaining at least a 7.
“It does look as though the move to end-of-course examinations has enabled the boys to narrow the gap at this level for English and move ahead in maths,” said Prof Smithers.
Experts have previously suggested that girls tend to respond to modular courses, as they can apply themselves throughout the course, working towards specific modules or coursework, whereas boys are more likely to revise in the weeks before a final exam.