Monday 21 October 2019

Girls outshine boys in Junior Cert again - doing better in 20 subjects

Female candidates scored more As, or distinctions, in 20 of 23 subjects. (stock photo)
Female candidates scored more As, or distinctions, in 20 of 23 subjects. (stock photo)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Girls have kept up the tradition of outperforming boys in the Junior Cert.

Female candidates scored more As, or distinctions, in 20 of 23 subjects, according to a gender breakdown from the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Their superior grades came through even in many stereotypical male subjects, although in maths, boys retained their lead. Boys also got more top grades in Italian and environmental/social science.

Girls tend to be more ambitious to begin with and are more likely to embark on study at higher level.

Then, as well as scoring proportionately more high grades, they are also less likely to fail.

Achievement patterns are broadly similar across both higher and ordinary levels.

The same trends are seen around the world and are generally attributed to females being more organised and taking their studies more seriously.

One of the biggest gaps is in Irish, where girls were more than twice as likely to sit the higher level exam, with 15pc scoring an A, compared with 8pc of boys. Slightly more boys than girls did higher level maths, with 15pc of males scoring an A, compared with 12pc of females.

Under the Junior Cycle changes, students are starting to do classroom-based assessments (CBAs). Much of the thinking behind the reforms was to move away from total reliance on terminal exams, and rote learning, to address the problem of 14-year-olds "switching off" education, particularly evident among disadvantaged pupils and boys.

This year, science and business joined English as subjects where students have gone through the new regime.

It is early days, but as the CBAs are not reported by the SEC, there is no way of knowing whether gender outcomes are any different.

Irish Independent

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