Wednesday 22 November 2017

Girls continue to outperform boys in Junior Cert

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

GIRLS have outperformed boys in the Junior Certificate again.

The results repeat traditional trends and confirm the different educational experiences of male and female students.

In post-primary education, girls are more inclined to study at higher level in key subjects and are also more likely to get top grades.

Females accounted for 49pc of the 59,823 Junior Cert candidates this year, according to a gender breakdown by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

However, they made up 58pc of those taking higher level Irish, 53pc of those taking higher level English, 50pc of those taking higher level maths and more than 50pc of higher level candidates in French, German Spanish, Italian, arts/craft/ design, business studies, music, home economics and religious education.


The gender gap is also evident in the results achieved, with girls more likely to notch up 'honours' A, B or C grades.

Girls picked up more As in all higher level papers except maths, Latin and metalwork.

Across the spectrum of the 'honours' ABC grades, the girls went on to overtake the boys in maths and it was only in Latin and metalwork that the boys did better.

The roots of the differences between the sexes in academic engagement goes back to much earlier in their childhood, as illustrated in a recent report based on data gathered in the Growing Up in Ireland study.

The study findings, analysed by Denise Frawley, Selina McCoy and Maeve Thornton of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) showed how nine-year-old girls and boys felt differently about school.

They found that girls had slightly higher reading test scores than boys, but boys scored higher in maths, especially at the top end.

This year, 13pc of boys scored an A in higher level maths, compared with 11pc of girls.,

Boys are significantly less likely than girls to look forward to school, to like school and to like their teacher, the study also showed.

Boys have higher levels of school absenteeism and are less likely than girls to complete their homework on a regular basis. However, while they reported that gender was a significant predictor of school engagement, they said other factors, such as social background, were crucial in order to distinguish which types of boys and girls were most likely to be disengaged from school.

Kathleen Lynch, Professor of Equality Studies at University College Dublin (UCD), said the real issue in educational inequality was social class, not gender.

She said that she had been pressing the Department of Education for years for data relating to matters such as social background and school attendance.

Irish Independent

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