News Article


Boys have done better than girls at achieving higher grades at A-level, results showed today as thousands of students learned whether they had secured places at university. Eight per cent of papers sat by boys scored the top A* grade, compared to only 7.9 per cent for girls. It is the first time that boys have fared better than girls at achieving the A* since the grade was introduced to reward the brightest students in 2010.

However, the results showed that girls were still more successful overall as they attained a higher number of qualifications at grade A and above. Across both sexes, the proportion of A-level papers scoring A or A* dropped for the first time in 21 years. In total, 26.6 per cent of exams were given one of the two highest grades, down from 27 per cent last year - believed to be the biggest drop since the qualification was introduced in the 1950s. The last time the proportion of A-levels scoring the top grade dropped was in 1991, when 11.9 per cent of papers were awarded an A compared to 12 per cent in 1990. 

Experts have commented the increase in A* grades for boys showed that schools had focused on raising males' achievement. But boys still have some work to do to close the gap with girls overall. Twenty-seven per cent of all girls' entries got grades of A or above compared with 25.8 per cent given to boys' entries. The gap between the genders is even more noticeable when looking at grades of A* to B, with 54.7 per cent of girls' exams achieving that level and 50.2 per cent of boys' papers.

 • 8% of boys' papers score top grade, compared with 7.9% of girls'
• But girls record more grades of A and above
• Number of grades of A or above awarded falls for first time in 21 years
• In total 26.6% of exams were given an A or A*, down from 27% in 2011
• Maths and sciences gain popularity but exam boards warn of 'crisis' in modern languages, with falling entries in French, Spanish and German
• Cost of taking a three-year university course estimated at £53,000

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