Saturday 24 March 2018

Girls again beat the boys' grades in the Junior Cert

Anne O'Farrell in Mount Mercy School, Cork
Anne O'Farrell in Mount Mercy School, Cork
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The girls have done it again -producing a better set of grades in this year's Junior Certificate results.

Female candidates had more As and more ABCs than males in practically all subjects, at both levels, according to a gender breakdown of the 2015 results.

The boys kept up the tradition of scoring more As in higher-level maths - 11.8pc, compared with 10.5pc - and had the edge in environmental and social studies. But otherwise, the girls took the lead.

In higher-level Irish, 13.3pc of girls achieved an A, compared with 8.1pc of boys, while in English, 11.7pc of girls scored A, compared with 6.4pc of boys. In science, 11.3pc of girls notched up an A, against 9.1pc of boys

There was a similar pattern across the ABC grades, although girls slipped slightly ahead in maths, with 74.9pc scoring what is traditionally known as an 'honour', compared with 74.3pc of boys. Boys maintained their lead in environmental and social studies and also moved ahead of girls in metalwork.

At the other end of the spectrum, boys are also more likely to get below D. For instance, in higher-level history, 6.7pc of candidates scored less than D, but among males, the rate was 7.6pc, compared with 5.7pc for females. In higher maths, 4.2pc of boys had a below D result, compared with 3.3pc of girls

Girls tend to outperform boys in exams, not only in Ireland but around the world. The phenomenon is attributed to their better organisational skills, which help them prepare for a set of terminal exams, like the Junior and Leaving Certificates.

Studies in Ireland have highlighted the different educational experiences of boys and girls, showing that, at the age of nine, boys are more likely to be absent from school and are less likely to complete homework on a regular basis.

By second year, boys are more likely to "switch off" from school and there is also a greater chance of them dropping out.

There are hopes that the changes ahead in the Junior Cert, which will switch some of the focus from traditional exams to continuous assessment, will lead to better outcomes for boys.

Irish Independent

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