Boys are falling further behind

6th August 1999 at 01:00
GIRLS HAVE done it again by increasing their exam lead, despite schools' best efforts to raise boys' performance. Results from this year's Standard grade and Higher exams, released today (Friday), show girls are easing further ahead, a trend established over the past decade.

In Standard grade English, 49.2 per cent of girls were awarded Credit passes against 33.1 per cent of boys. In maths, Credit awards went to 33.6 per cent of girls against 30.1 per cent of boys.

At Higher in the two largest entry subjects, 15.4 per cent of girls achieved an A pass in English against 11.8 per cent of boys. Only in maths at the top level do boys do better, with 13.5 per cent of girls receiving A passes compared with 14.6 per cent of boys.

The pass rate for girls in Higher English is 68.9 per cent against 62.3 per cent for boys. In Higher maths, the gap is narrower but still there. The pass rate is 69.9 per cent for girls against 66.2 per cent for boys.

Ron Tuck, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, said:

"Evidence seems to show that girls work much harder throughout the year. Higher Still reforms with end of unit assessment and continuous work through the year may help boys."

Current research shows that a number of complex factors stretching back into primary schooling are involved. A major project into the gender gap will begin later this year.

The SQA results also underline the need for revamped courses in S5 and S6. The myth of Scots taking a broad range of five Highers in one year is again exposed. Only 11 per cent who took any Highers sat five. Pupils sit an average of 2.7 subjects.

Mr Tuck said: "As Higher Still is introduced, five courses could become the norm."

No easier exams, page 3

Leader 11

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