Stop typecasting

AT last, some good news for boys. At the highest level, in new "world class" tests, they outperform girls in almost every subject. Yet, in marked contrast, this summer's crop of GCSE and A-level results show boys being further outstripped by girls.

What are we to make of this? Are we to conclude that boys are innately better at aptitude and intelligence tests, while girls excel at exams that reward application? No. We should resist such gender stereotypes, just as we should reject the argument that GCSEs and A-levels have become over "feminised".

Even so, perhaps it is time to take a long, cool look at whether we are doing enough to help boys, and girls, to achieve their full potential in public exams. We should stop demonising "laddish" boys and recognise that, under the right circumstances, they can achieve world-class results. Just like the girls.

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