GCSE results 2017: Girls maintain lead over boys despite new linear exams

But boys have pulled further ahead in maths as predicted

Eleanor Busby

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Girls have widened their GCSE lead over boys at A* to C grades (and 9 to 4) despite the introduction of three new linear qualifications . 

The gap – 9.5 percentage points – was wider than the 8.9 percentage points seen last summer, despite the downgrading of coursework and a shift towards end-of-course exams.

UK results released today show that 71 per cent of female entries were awarded at least a C  - or a 4 grade - compared with just 61.5 per cent of their male counterparts.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, predicted earlier this week the gap could narrow because of England’s new linear GCSEs in maths, English language and English literature.

But girls have actually widened the gap in English language compared to last year – despite the introduction of a reformed GCSE in the subject which features less of the coursework supposed to favour them. 

The results for England show that 70.9 per cent of female entries were awarded at least a C (or 4) grade, compared with just 53.5 per cent of males.

That 17.4 percentage point gap compares to last year’s 16.1 percentage poiints. 

And when grade 7 (or A) or above is considered, girls were also far ahead in English, with 18.5 per cent achieving the feat compared to 9 per cent of boys.

But Professor Smithers' prediction that boys would pull further ahead of their female peers in maths came true. 

The results for England show that 16.5 per cent of male entries were awarded at least an A or a 7 grade, compared with 14.7 per cent of females. That amounted to a percentage point gap of 1.8 – more than double last year’s 0.8.

Last year, maths was the only subject in which boys received a higher proportion of top grades than girls. 

But this year, boys have done better than their female peers in maths, physics, economics and statistics. 

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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