Girls earn better results than boys in Junior Cert

Greater percentage of boys receive either E, F or NG marks in most subjects

Aat higher level, a greater proportion of boys got an E grade or lower in 20 of 22 overall Junior Cert subjectsFile photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Aat higher level, a greater proportion of boys got an E grade or lower in 20 of 22 overall Junior Cert subjectsFile photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Female Junior Certificate students outperformed their male counterparts with a higher proportion of boys struggling in the vast majority of ordinary and higher-level exams, a breakdown of 2016 results shows.

While there is officially no “failing grade”, a greater percentage of boys received either E, F or NG marks in most subjects.

Gender specific assessments of overall results for 2016 across each Junior Cert exam are published by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) today.

They show that, at higher level, a greater proportion of boys got an E grade or lower in 20 of 22 overall subjects. The exceptions were in metalwork with 2.5 per cent of girls receiving a E grade or lower compared with 2.4 per cent of boys and in environmental and social studies which was equal at 1 per cent.

Gender volumes

However, some proportional figures must be viewed in the context of different gender volumes taking the exams. For example, in higher level technology 5.1 per cent of boys got an E or lower compared with 3.4 per cent of girls but 2,546 boys sat the exam as compared with 608 girls.

Girls achieved a higher number of A grades in 15 of the 22 higher-level subjects, notably dominating their male counterparts in Irish, English and French where they earned about twice the number. In art, girls secured 3,000 A grades compared with 582 for boys. In home economics the female-leaning difference was 2,311 to 96.

Boys secured more A grades in maths, Latin, material technology, technical graphics, metalwork, and technology.

More than 600,000 grades across 26 subjects were issued to 29,672 female and 30,575 male students.

Proportional “fail” rates were similar at ordinary level where higher levels of boys received an E grade or lower in all subjects except metalwork which was even at 11.4 per cent for both.

The proportional gulf was most acute in Italian where the level of boys who got and E or lower (18.1 per cent) was far higher than girls (5.6 per cent) and the overall number of those sitting the exam was relatively close (66 boys to 54 girls).

However, in the case of material technology, while a higher percentage of boys “failed” (8.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent), there were 2,179 boys sitting the exam compared with just 566 girls.

Ordinary level

Of 20 separate exams at ordinary level, the spread of A grades was tighter – girls secured more of the top marks in 12 subjects. Significantly among these were music (32 to 8), home economics (56 to 14), and religious education (324 to 166).

Boys dominated ordinary-level A grades in material technology (128 to 35), technical graphics (311 to 92), metalwork (165 to 21), and technology (14 to 5).

Of the three subjects at foundation level – Irish, English and maths – boys secured an overall higher number of A grades (298 to 212) but continued to demonstrate a higher proportional “fail” rate.