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Are girls simply brighter?

IS it not possible that girls get better GCSE results because they are intellectually more mature at 16 than their male peers?

We accept that girls at this age are, on average, physically and emotionally more mature, yet the idea that they might be intellectually more mature, or brighter, is considered abhorrent.

It has been claimed that the exams are now more "girl-friendly" because of coursework and modular testing. Yet the proportion of coursework for most subjects is not more than 25 per cent of the total mark.

In spite of this, results for both boys and girls have improved since the days of 100 per cent cursework exams.

Boys' achievement over the past six years has also improved year on year, so the new exams don't seem to have had a negative effect. Perhaps our male-dominated and androcentric authorities just can't accept the idea that girls are brighter than boys?

What is a central issue when it comes to boys' under-achievement is the well-documented fact that girls work harder and are more motivated. This is the area that we need to be concerned about with our male students.

Paul Hopkins

School of education

Open University

72B Conniburrow Bld

Milton Keynes

Buckinghamshire

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