Analysis of 2019 GCSE STEM Entries and Results
For the third year running, girls account for 48% of GCSE STEM entries. And for the second year running, STEM subjects account for 43% of total GCSE entries – 44% of boys’ results were in STEM subjects, compared with 40% of girls’.
The percentage of girls achieving A 7/A grade or higher in mathematics has risen by 0.6 percentage points, to 15.5%, while boys have dropped back slightly with 16.7% getting the highest grades. 59.2% of girls achieved a 4/C grade or above (the same as in 2018), which is the standard expected by government. A good knowledge of mathematics is fundamental to further STEM study and to STEM job roles.
Girls have once again outperformed boys in computing, with almost one in four (24.9%) achieving an A/7 or above and a 4.5 percentage point gap between girls and boys achieving a C/4 or above. The 14% increase in the number of girls taking the subject (which is the same increase as between 2017-8) eclipses the 6% increase for boys; however, the numerical gap between boys and girls has increased year-on-year by more than 1,000.In design & technology, entries across the UK were down significantly once again for both boys and girls. Girls significantly outperformed their male peers, continuing the recent trend, with 28.5% achieving an A/7 grade or above.The story in GCSE physics is of a narrowing of the gap between boys and girls, with a big leap from 39.9% in 2018 to 42% this year for girls achieving A/7 and above (boys have gone from 45.5% to 49.9%). An increase in the number of girls (although smaller than the increase for boys) taking the subject is good news, especially in the context of slight decreases in biology and chemistry. In chemistry and biology, girls have done better at achieving C/4 grades and above than boys. Across each science subject, last year’s big percentage increases in the numbers of students have not been repeated. Girls have significantly outperformed boys in double award science, with a huge 5.1 percentage point gap for achievement of 4/C and above (58.5& vs 53.4%), as well as a 2 percentage point gap (8.8% vs 6.8%) for achievement of A/7 grades and above. The number of boys taking the subject continues to be larger than the number of girls, but the gap has closed this year and now stands at just 3,394.