NI girls excelling in STEM as boys fall behind in science

  • A new report measuring the educational performance of 15-year-old students has shown that girls in Northern Ireland are outperforming boys in science and other areas.

    The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) compares the education achievement levels of 15-year-old students around the world. The annual report provides a barometer of achivement levels of students in reading, mathematics, and science and compares it on factors such as gender and economic background.

    The 2018 study was released today, with some interesting stats for Northern Ireland. Girls performed significantly better than boys in reading in Northern Ireland, a pattern seen repeated throughout the UK. There was no significant difference in mathematics scores between boys and girls here, which is a positive sign as boys tended to outperform girls in the rest of the UK.

    Girls performed significantly better than boys in science in Northern Ireland, with an average score of 500 compared to 483 for boys. This performance gap was unfortunately driven by a significant drop in the score for boys, while the score for girls has not changed significantly since the previous report in 2015 and remains close to the average.

    This year's report highlighted some other benefits for Northern Ireland's education system in general, with fewer principals reporting problems relating to pupil behaviour and truancy and 93% of pupils indicating that they're happy in Northern Ireland compared to the OECD average of 91%. The gap in performance between the most and least disadvantaged pupils was also much smaller than the OECD average, indicating better opportunities for those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Source: Education NI

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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