Why do girls outperform boys in the Leaving Cert?

‘Girls read more. They spend more time on homework, and usually spend less time online and playing video games. Boys think they’re too cool for school’

‘Girls read more for enjoyment than boys, PISA surveys have found, and in particular, girls read more fiction, which is associated with high performance.’’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘Girls read more for enjoyment than boys, PISA surveys have found, and in particular, girls read more fiction, which is associated with high performance.’’ Photograph: Getty Images

Girls outperformed boys in 50 of 58 Leaving Cert papers across higher and ordinary level, according to a gender analysis of this year’s results. This is part of a recurring pattern – and not just in Ireland. But why is this the case?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys 15-year-old students across 70 economies every three years to evaluate education systems worldwide. It has consistently found girls outperform boys in school.

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