GCSE results 2011: girls widen their lead
Girls are widening their lead on boys considerably this year, with a record 26.5% gaining at least one A or A* grade, GCSE results show.
The Joint Council for Qualifications, which has issued the figures, describes the growing attainment gap between the sexes as worrying.
Just under a fifth – 19.8% – of boys have achieved the two top grades, creating a record gap between the genders of 6.7 percentage points. Last year, the gap was six percentage points, with 25.5% of girls achieving the top grades, compared to 19.5% of boys.
The gender gap has also widened at C grade and above, with girls 7.5 percentage points ahead, compared to 7.2 percentage points last year.
Last week, boys narrowed the gap in A-level results.
Boys have beaten girls at GCSE maths for the third year in a row, following a decision to drop coursework in the subject. The proportion of boys getting A* to C in maths has risen to 58.9% from 58.6% last year. The proportion of girls achieving at least a C has increased from 58.3% to 58.6%.
However, girls are significantly ahead in English. Some 72.5% of entries from girls has achieved a C grade or better, compared to just 58.7% of entries from boys.
Dr Jim Sinclair, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications, says the “growing divide in performance between boys and girls at the top grades” is a worrying trend.
The pass rate has risen for the 23rd year, with 69.8% of entries achieving at least a C. Last year, 69% did so. The proportion obtaining A* grades has risen to 23.2%, up from 22.6% last year.
Girls are far more likely to take modern foreign languages. Some 258,750 of entries for French are from girls, compared to 231,306 for boys. Overall, French is down 13.2% and entries for German are falling at the same rate.
Taking a language stopped being compulsory in 2004 and entries have plummeted ever since. Last year, French dropped out of the GCSE top 10 for the first time, prompting calls by universities for urgent action to save foreign languages in state schools. It is still out of the top 10 this year.
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