The greatest sex divide in any non-core subject at key stage 3 this year is in second language Welsh. Twenty per cent more 14-year-old girls reached the expected standard than boys, according to statistics released by the Assembly government last week.
Physical education was the only non-core subject where boys did marginally better than girls in 2008 - and by just 0.3 per cent.
The poor results of boys in Welsh second language, some teachers believe, is caused by the compulsory teaching of the subject to all under-16s, which alienates those of lesser ability, especially boys.
But pupils achieving level 5 or above in the age group in non-core subjects have increased by 7 percentage points since 2001. In every subject, except music, more pupils achieved level 5 this year than last. The biggest increase was in information technology (4 per cent).
More worrying was the level of performance between Wales's 22 local authorities and areas of high and low poverty. The highest percentage of pupils achieving level 5 or above in art was in Powys (84.8 per cent) compared to Rhondda Cynon Taf (66.7 per cent).