2016 results: Leaving Cert girls continue to pull ahead of boys

Female students were less likely to fail and more likely to secure honours

leaving cert

Freya McCrum, Georgia Elliott and Aishling Kinsella after receiving their Leaving Cert results in Loreto College in Dublin on Wednesday | Photo: RollingNews.ie

Girls continue to outperform boys in almost all Leaving Cert subjects, securing a greater share of top results again this year.

Female students achieved a higher proportion of A grades in 25 of 32 higher-level papers, according to gender statistics provided by the State Examination Commission.

Girls performed better than boys in all three science subjects, with an average of 73% getting an A, B or C – 5% more than boys.

Some 79% of female students fell within the top three grade bands for English, compared to 72% of their male counterparts.

Even in a traditionally male-dominated subject such as engineering, close to 2% more girls secured an honour mark.

Female students were also less likely to fail exams at both higher and ordinary levels.

Maths was one of the few higher-level subjects in which boys outperformed girls, with 74% securing ABC grades.

Fewer girls sat the more challenging maths paper, and of those who did, a smaller proportion (68%) received an A, B or C.

The figures also suggest gender stereotypes continue to influence subject selection.

Only 626 of the 7,087 students who sat the higher-level construction studies paper were female, for example.

By contrast, girls accounted for 8,067 of the 8,755 higher-level home economics candidates.

According to the Central Applications Office (CAO), a total of 80,887 people are vying for third-level places this year – a record number.

First-round offers will be available on the CAO website from 6am on Monday morning, once all grades have been processed.

Provisional figures from July showed an increase in the number of first-preference applications for level eight courses relating to nursing (9%), engineering and technology (7%), and business and administration (6%).

Arts and social science remain the most popular choices, however, drawing nearly a quarter of all first preferences.