Junior Cert girls continue to outperform boys

Education Correspondent

At all levels of 18 of the 24 subjects examined, female students outperformed their male counterparts.

The breakdown of grades by gender in each exam repeats a pattern found in results in the Junior and Leaving Certificate over the last number of years.

The widest gaps were in higher level Italian (77% of girls got an honours grade, compared to 61% of boys), Spanish (84% to 68%), German (79% to 66%), English (84% to 71%) and home economics (93% to 80% of boys). At ordinary level, there were similar differences in English, Latin and typewriting.

Numerous studies on the gender gap have identified girls’ ability to organise their study time better and exam questions suiting female candidates more. However, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has said it will look at possible changes that might be made to subject courses to help bridge the gap in achievement between boys and girls.

Two of the four students who got 12 A’s in their Junior Certificate yesterday were girls. Kate Ferguson from Wesley College in Dublin and Laura Sweeney, a student of Carrick-on-Shannon Community School in Leitrim, each scored 11 A’s in higher level papers and an A on the common level Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE).

Similar grades were achieved by David Brennan from Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny, who sat his exams at Kilkenny College, and another student from Co Donegal.

A further 35 students got 10 higher level A’s and the top grade in CSPE, while two students from Cork were among 200 with 10 A’s Debbie Buckley and Edel O’Carroll were surprised but delighted when they opened their results at St Aloysius College in Carrigtwohill yesterday.

“I thought I was reading it wrong, I really couldn’t believe my eyes,” said 15-year-old Edel from Glounthaune.

Including those mentioned above, 1,758 of this year’s 59,633 Junior Certificate students achieved six or more A’s in higher level subjects.

Although failure rates have fallen in most subjects, the numbers who did not pass Greek, ordinary level maths, French, Latin, Spanish, classical studies, technical graphics, technology, art, music, materials technology and metalwork still represent more than 7% of students sitting those exams.

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