Girls outdo boys in Junior Cert results

THE 2009 Junior Certificate results have again highlighted the better academic ability of female students, who got better grades in nine out of the 10 most popular subjects at higher level.

The statistics provided by the State Examinations Commission, which issued results to more than 55,500 students on Wednesday, show that girls did better than boys in all higher level subjects except geography, environmental and social studies, woodwork and metalwork.

Some of the biggest gaps between those getting honours grades (A, B or C) at higher level are in languages, including English in which 82.2% of female candidates got honours compared to 70.1% of males, and an 83.7% honours rate for female higher level Irish students compared to 74.6% for their male counterparts. The gap was also wide for German (81.2% as against 68.4%) and French (73.3% compared to 64.8%).

In higher level art, home economics, German and classical studies, twice the proportion of girls got A grades than the comparable figure for boys.

However, male students achieved a higher proportion of A grades in higher level maths, metalwork and woodwork.

The figures are reflective of previous trends in state exams here and internationally, as girls are known to have better aptitude for exams and study patterns, although their slightly better performance at maths is a more recent phenomenon.

A comparison of grades by gender for Leaving Certificate results issued last month also shows female students did better at most higher level subjects.

But notably, far fewer girls are likely to attempt higher level Leaving Certificate maths, even though those who do so get better grades than boys sitting the same exams.

While different approaches to the curriculum have been suggested to help boys match girls’ grades, previous education minister Mary Hanafin suggested two years ago that more male primary teachers as role models in schools could also help balance the gender divide.


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