GCSE results 2019: Gender gap closing in science and tech
It was GCSE results day last week and gender performance expectations were turned on their head. Girls performed better in maths and physics than in previous years, explains The Times, while boys gained more top grades in English.
Also reporting on the results, iNews writes how the number of teens sitting science, maths and technology (STEM) GCSEs has risen this year, driven by a large increase in girls opting to take the subjects.
Entries for ‘double science’ grew by 4.8% this year. All science subjects – including biology, physics and chemistry – saw entry numbers increase.
Entries jumped by 4.2% for maths, though the biggest increase was in computing at 7.2% – down to a 14% increase in female entries.
While girls still account for less than a quarter (21.4%) of the total 17,158 computing entries, they outperform their male counterparts. The percentage of girls who achieved a grade 7/A stood at 24.9%, compared to 20.8% for boys.
General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Geoff Barton, believes more girls are opting for STEM subjects because education “mirrors social change”. He also noted how “gender is starting to become less important” in influencing choice.
Barton added that female teachers and former students had been used by schools to inspire girls to study STEM subjects.
News of the closing gender gap was welcomed by Professor Tom McLeish, chair of the Royal Society’s education committee. But he said that more needs to be done, calling for “targeted interventions to resolve the imbalance”.
A total 16.7% of boys gained a 7/A grade in maths compared to 15.5% of girls – closing the gap by half a percentage point on last year. For physics, the gap closed by 1.7%, with 46.9% of male entries and 42% of female entries getting at least a grade 7/A.
As with previous years, girls performed overall better than boys in biology, with 44.3% achieving at least a 7/A grade compared with 40.5% of boys.
What do you think will help to further close the gender gap in science and technology subjects in schools?