Education news

GCSE pass rates up

More pupils have achieved at least a C grade in this year's GCSE results

GCSE pass rates are on the rise with more pupils achieving A*-C grades.

The proportion has risen by 0.7 percentage points to 81.1 per cent.

The number of entries achieving the A* grade is 9.9 per cent, a small increase of 0.4 percentage points on the previous year, official results data showed.

The total of GCSE entries in Northern Ireland has decreased by 0.4 per cent from 171,060 to 170,348.

There was a slight improvement in GCSE English language and mathematics.

Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects accounted for 43 per cent of all GCSE entries in the north, with an increase of 2.4 per cent on the previous year.

The north's exams board, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) said there were some patterns worth further analysis, such as the continued widening of the performance gap at A*-C grades between males and females.

The proportion of girls achieving A*-C grades increased to 85.1 per cent, by 0.9 percentage points. The proportion of entries by boys achieving A*-C grades rose by 0.5 percentage points to 76.9 per cent.

The gap between girls and boys at A*-C grades widened from 7.8 to 8.2 percentage points.

Entries increased in subjects including drama, construction and business studies. The proportion of overall entries for languages remained broadly stable.

This is the second year of the 9-1 grade scale offered by English based awarding organisations. A small percentage of students in Northern Ireland (1.7 per cent) received a 9-1 grade, with the vast majority (98.3 per cent) continuing to take A*-G graded GCSEs. 

"Northern Ireland's students have once again demonstrated good outcomes across all grades, reflecting the hard work that takes place in our schools and colleges," CCEA chief executive Justin Edwards said.

"Students here continue to achieve higher outcomes in comparison to their counterparts in England and Wales.

"Subject choices remain stable with over 40 per cent of students here now studying a stem qualification. There were positive increases in further mathematics entries."

Among those receiving results yesterday were 14 primary school pupils at Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir in Derry, who all passed their GCSE Irish.

"They all worked hard towards it but it comes fairly easy to them," said principal Mary Nic Ailín.

"They found it as non-stressful as it could be. They now go into their first year with a real sense of achievement."

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