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Top A-level marks achieved despite gender imbalance

Different subjects saw the minority gender outperform the majority.

A massive gender imbalance in some A-level subjects did not always stop the group in the minority achieving a higher percentage of top marks, figures show.

In some subjects the minority gender outperformed the majority in relation to the percentage of the highest grades awarded.

One subject was computing, in which 88% of entries were boys and 12% girls.

But of all the grades awarded to female candidates in the subject, 4.2% were A*, compared to 3.2% for boys.

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(PA Graphics)

Computing saw the biggest leap in entry numbers across all subjects, up nearly a quarter (23.9%) on last year.

English literature followed the same gender trend for the top grade. Twenty-four percent of the exams were sat by boys, but of all the grades awarded to them for the subject, 9.3% were A*. This was compared to 8.4% of the grades awarded to girls hitting the top mark.

Other subjects which showed a big divide in the sexes were physics, where 78% of entries were from boys and 22% girls, economics with 69% boys and 31% girls and sociology with 23% boys and 77% girls.

Of all the grades achieved by girls in physics, 9.3% were A*s while for boys it was 9.5%.

But of the economics grades awarded to girls, 8.8% were A*, compared to 6.6% going to boys.

We need to pay urgent attention to ensuring that the broadest range of pupils become equipped with relevant digital skills Frank Kelly, Royal Society

Frank Kelly, chair of the Royal Society advisory committee on mathematics education, said: “Although we are pleased that computing saw the biggest jump in A-level entries this year, it was offset by a fall in students taking ICT.

“As this was the last year students could take ICT at A-level, we need to pay urgent attention to ensuring that the broadest range of pupils become equipped with relevant digital skills.

“We are deeply concerned that there continues to be a large gender disparity in this subject, with boys accounting for 88% of all entries.

“Advancing technology is changing the world of work, and it is vital to have all students leaving school confident in skills such as coding and algorithmic thinking.”

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