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SEC exams: girls outperform boys again

Girls fare better in most subjects when it comes to SEC examinations

james
James Debono
6 January 2017, 10:00am
But the gap between the two sexes in 2016 was higher than in 2015
But the gap between the two sexes in 2016 was higher than in 2015
54% of girl students born in 2000 obtained passes in 2016 in SEC exams that allow them to pursue their education in the Junior College – compared to only 45% of male students who did likewise. 

Moreover while 91.1% of the 16-year-old girls registered for SEC examinations, only 83.6% of the boys did so. Females have outperformed males in all exam sessions held since 2004. 

But the gap between the two sexes in 2016 was higher than in 2015 though lower than in 2014. Despite the gender gap 2016 saw the highest percentage of 16-year-old males getting a pass to sixth form. The percentage of females who got a pass to sixth form peaked at 56% in 2014, falling to 50% in 2015 and rising again to 54% in 2016.

In 2016, 49.4% of those born in 2000 obtained the passes required to pursue their education in the sixth form. According to a statistical report issued by Matsec this is the highest percentage of passes since 2004, when only 37% of 16-year-olds had obtained a pass. This increased to 43% in 2013 and to 46% in 2015.

But one fifth of students did not even obtain five or more SEC passes with at least Grade 7.

The report also shows that in the majority of subjects the largest percentage of candidates who obtained Grade 1 were females. The gender gap is more pronounced in State schools than in church schools and independent schools.

Male candidates from Church Schools still tend to outperform candidates from other sectors in most subjects. But in general candidates from independent schools were the most likely to obtain obtained Grades 1, 2, and 3. 

Most 16-year-olds sat for nine or ten examinations. While most females sat for 10 exams, most males sat for 9. However male candidates were more likely than female candidates to register for 12 or more subjects or for fewer than six exams

Most candidates sat for one science examination, with Physics being the most common. Considerably more females than males sat for Biology as their only science subject. Chemistry is seldom applied as the only science subject. In 2016, 16.6% of 16-year-olds applied for examinations in the three science subjects. This percentage is the second highest since 2004. As for foreign languages, most candidates applied for one foreign language examination, with Italian being the most common. For students sitting for two language examinations, Italian or French were by far the most prevalent choice. 

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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