Girls have overtaken boys in gaining the top grades at A level, after they narrowed the gender gap last year.
Today’s results show that a higher proportion of girls have gained entries graded A*/A, with 25.5 per cent of girls achieving grades of A and above, compared with 25.4 per cent of boys.
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Girls built on their success last year, when they narrowed the gender gap with boys in achieving the top A* and A*/A grades.
In doing so, they defied predictions that the new, exam heavy end-of-course assessments in reformed A levels would disadvantage them.
This year, while girls have overtaken boys at A*/A grades, boys have retained their lead in gaining more A* grades, with 8.2 per cent of boys gaining A* grades compared with 7.5 per cent of girls.
New A levels 'offer no gender advantage'
The gender gap in A* grades has narrowed slightly by 0.2 of a percentage point but this may be attributable to a lower proportion of boys gaining the top grade this year – down 0.3 percentage points from 8.5 per cent last year.
This is the third summer that pupils have sat “linear” A levels, after the qualifications were reformed to include more end-of-course assessment – through exams – and less coursework. There were 19 more new courses sat this year, following 12 reformed qualifications sat last year and 13 in 2017.
Some experts predicted that new qualifications with less coursework would penalise girls, who are thought to perform better through modular assessment.
However, exams regulator Ofqual has said its research shows no evidence that particular kinds of assessment favour boys or girls in terms of outcomes.