Boys have narrowed the gap with girls in terms of top grades and "standard" passes at GCSE, today’s results show.
This year, across the UK, 17.2 per cent of GCSE entries by male pupils were awarded an A/7 grade or above – up 0.8 percentage points on last year’s figure of 16.4 per cent.
The proportion of female entries achieving an A/7 or above did not change on last year, staying at 23.7 per cent.
As a result, the gap between boys and girls narrowed from 7.3 percentage points in 2017 to 6.5 points this year.
Boys also narrowed the gap at C/4 and above – considered a standard pass by the Department for Education. This year 62.3 per cent of male entries achieved this threshold, compared with 61.6 per cent last year.
The GCSE gender gap
The performance of girls also improved for these grades, but by a smaller amount, with the proportion of female entries achieving a C/4 or above increasing from 71.1 per cent last year to 71.4 per cent this year.
As a result, the gap between boys and girls narrowed from 9.5 percentage points last year to 9.1 points this year.
The gender gap on entries graded G/1 and above stayed the same. This year 97.8 per cent of male entries and 98.8 per cent of female entries achieved this, compared with 97.9 per cent of boys and 98.9 per cent of girls in 2017.
Some commentators had predicted that boys would narrow the gap with girls this year, after another 20 reformed GCSEs came on stream in England with coursework reduced or removed altogether.
However, exam regulator Ofqual has said that wider research evidence suggests that there is not a straightforward link between the amount of non-exam assessment in a qualification and the performance of boys and girls.