CCEA Chief Executive highlights Northern Ireland GCSE performance

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The Chief Executive of Northern Ireland’s awarding organisation, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has welcomed this year’s improved GCSE results.

Commenting on this year’s GCSE results, Justin Edwards said: “We’re pleased to see that learners here continue to perform well in GCSE examinations. There is steady improvement across the grades, reflecting the continuing focus and hard work in our schools and colleges. Overall, the proportion of entries awarded A* - C grades in Northern Ireland has risen by 0.4 percentage points this year to 79.1 per cent. Northern Ireland’s performance remains higher than the full UK A*-C performance, which was 66.9 per cent this year.

“The strong performance in English and the individual sciences is of particular note, building on the improvements seen in recent years.

“A* - C performance in mathematics has fallen by 1.7 percentage points to 64.9 per cent. Analysis of the data shows that, for 16 year olds, performance in mathematics was stable, with a small decline of 0.2 percentage points from 2015. It also worth noting that, despite the fall this year, Northern Ireland is almost 4 percentage points ahead of the full UK A* - C performance in mathematics.

“Females continue to outperform males at GCSE in Northern Ireland and the gap, for A*-C grades achieved, has widened this year by half a percentage point to 7.6 percentage points. Whilst A*-C performance for both males and females has continued to rise since 2006, females have improved their performance at a faster and more consistent rate.

“This year we’ve seen continued growth in entries for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Computing, Engineering and Mathematics). STEM subjects here now account for close to one third (31.9 per cent) of all GCSE entries.”