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STEM 2016 GCSE results

WISE analysis of JCQ data for 2016 GCSE results for STEM subjects

26 August 2016

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The 2016 GCSE results show that there has been an increase in the number of STEM subjects taken by students. Girls are taking more STEM subjects and achieving better grades at GCSE.




More girls taking STEM subjects

  • Overall GCSE entries are down 0.7% compared to 2015
  • There has been an increase in those taking STEM subjects. Computing has shot up by 76.4%, Biology up 3.6 percentage points, Chemistry up 5.7 and Physics up by 4.6 percentage points
  • The number of girls taking Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Engineering, and Physics has increased at a faster rate than the number of boys
  • The number of girls taking GCSE computing more than doubled, compared to 2015
  • More girls than boys took GCSE Biology, Maths and Additional Science.
  • In Physics, Chemistry, Science and Additional Science girl/boy entrants are essentially equivalent
  • Engineering remains a predominantly male subject but the number of girls sitting GCSE Engineering rose by 24% compared to 2015

Girls achieve better grades

  • There has been an overall drop in the proportion of students achieving A*-C grades in 2016. 62.4 % of boys (drop from 64.7% in 2015); 66.9% for girls (drop from 68.4%)
  • In STEM, 71.3% of girls achieved A*-C grades in 2016, compared to 62.6% of boys
  • A higher proportion of girls than boys achieved A*-C grades in Science, Additional Science, Further Additional Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Engineering, Design Technology, ICT, Additional Maths, Statistics.
  • In Physics the grade achievement of girls and boys is the same
  • A higher proportion of boys achieved A*- C grades in Maths and Other Science.

The charts below show the popularity of GCSE subjects by gender and trends over the past three years for the number of girls taking STEM subjects

GCSE Chart High Entry

GCSE Chart Low Entry

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