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Page Last Edited: 19/02/2013

Gender and Educational Achievement: Some Data

This document has been updated to take account of GCSE and Advanced Level Results in 2012. I have also attempted to repair previously broken links which arose mainly as  a result of redesigns of the excellent ONS and DfE websites. Hopefully everything is in order now.

NEWEST LINKS.  Click here and here for Guardian articles on 2012 Advanced Level results including numerical data and graphics on Gender and Educational Achievement at Advanced Level.

 [Click for links to documents on Explanations of Gender Differences in Educational AchievementExplanations of Gender Differences in Subject Choice, Gender and the Hidden Curriculum and a PowerPoint Presentation on Explanations of Gender Differences in Educational Achievement]

 The following paper has been relocated within the DFE website and the recently broken link to it has now been reactivated. The paper provides very detailed statistical information on all aspects of the relationships between gender and educational achievement.  Click here for the DCSF Research paper" Gender and Education: The Evidence on Pupils in England:"  Published 18th July 2007

Introduction

If you are writing essays on gender and educational achievement in either AS Sociology or A2 Sociology examinations it is likely that you will have only limited time to describe the actual data illustrating relationships between gender and educational achievement before moving quickly on to analyse and evaluate the various sociological theories which have been used to explain these relationships. My aim in this document is to provide some fairly detailed data on relationships between gender and educational achievement at GCSE, GCE Advanced, Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels from which you can extract the key summary points which will be useful for essay writing purposes. In particular in relation to gender and educational achievement at GCSE level I stress some inter-relationships between gender, ethnicity, free school meal eligibility and educational achievement.

This document is rather long and I would personally advise you to be selective in the use of the various sources outlined below especially perhaps if you are studying an AS Sociology of Education Module rather than an A2 Module. Obviously your teachers can give you very good advice as to how much time you should spend on this document and as to the relative importance of the different types of data provided.

Gender and Educational Achievement: Some Data

Several aspects of the relationships between gender and educational achievement are listed below and you may then use the various links as appropriate to find more detailed information

  1.  Click here and scroll down to the Education Chapter of Social Trends 2011 [Social Trends 41] . This chapter provides information on gender differences in educational attainment at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Actually you may find it easier to search for Social Trends and then to find the Education Chapter!
  2. Gender differences in examination pass rates at 16+ level were small from the 1950s to the 1980s. By the 1970s girls were slightly more likely than boys to gain 5 or more GCE Ordinary level passes because they were significantly more likely than boys to pass examinations in Arts and Humanities subjects and only slightly less likely than boys to pass GCE Ordinary Level Examinations in Mathematics and Scientific Subjects.
  3. There were also significant gender differences in examination subjects entered between the 1950s and the 1980s . Such differences were reduced as  a result of the introduction of the National Curriculum which made English, Mathematics and Science compulsory at GCSE Level..
  4. Gender differences in educational achievement increased from the late 1980s when the GCSE examinations were introduced. Girls' traditional relatively higher examination pass rates in Arts and Humanities subjects tended to increase and girls also narrowed and in some years reversed boys' traditional relatively higher pass rates in Mathematics and Science subjects.
  5. Click here for my document on Ethnicity and Educational attainment which indicates that Girls outperform boys at GCSE level in all ethnic groups although the sizes of the gender gaps in achievement vary as between different ethnic groups.
  6. It is, however vital to note that gender differences in examination results are far smaller than differences in examination results between students eligible and ineligible for free school meals.
  7. The differences in GCSE results as between  students eligible and ineligible for free school meals are greater for white students [boys and girls] than for students from other ethnic groups.
  8. Although gender differences in subject choice at 16+ level declined as a result of the introduction of the National Curriculum which made English, Mathematics and Science compulsory subjects for all 14-16 year olds  gender differences in subject choice at GCE Advanced Level remain substantial.
  9. NEWEST LINKS Click here for information and further links on Gender and GCSE Results in 2012
  10. Click here for a separate document on Gender and Subject Choice at GCSE and GCE Advanced Level in 2007/2008.-2011/2012. Some of the data in this document are  also repeated  in the Gender and Subject Choice document. Sorry!
  11. Females  now generally outperform males in GCE Advanced Level examinations. They have for many years been are more likely than boys to gain two or more Advanced Level pass grades. In  2010 females were more likely than males to gain A*, A and B grades in all Advanced Level subjects combined. In 2011 in all subjects combined females and males were equally likely to gain A* grades but  females remained more likely than males  to gain A and B grades. Nevertheless gender differences in achievement are smaller at Advanced Level than at GCSE Level. [Also the statistics must be interpreted with care: a typical awkward detail is that although a greater percentage of girls than boys gain Grade A* in A level Physics more boys than girls gain an A Grade because more boys than girls actually enter the A Level Physics examination. ]
  12. NEWEST LINKS. Click here for information on GCE Advanced Level Results in 2012  Click here and here for Guardian articles on 2012 Advanced Level results including numerical data and graphics on Gender and Educational Achievement at Advanced Level.
  13. Females are more likely than males to enrol on undergraduate courses and as postgraduate students.
  14.  There are significant gender differences in subject choice at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  15.  In recent years females have been very slightly less likely than males to gain First Class degrees but significantly more likely than boys to gain Upper Second Class degrees  

Gender and Educational Achievement at GCE Ordinary Level : from the 1950s to 1988

  1. In the 1950s and early 1960s most pupils were educated in Secondary Modern Schools and they [as well as a more limited number of Grammar School pupils] left school at the age of 15  without taking any official national examinations. Thus any official data on gender differences in 16+ examinations results in the 1950s and early 1960s related only to the relatively small percentages of pupils who remained in school until the age of 16 and took GCE Ordinary Level examinations. These will be referred to subsequently as GCE "O" Levels.
  2. By the 1960s some Secondary Modern schools provided GCE O Level courses for pupils who wished to stay on until the age of 16 and when the Certificate of Secondary Education was introduced in 1965 more secondary modern pupils stayed on to take this examination. Meanwhile the comprehensivisation process accelerated from the 1960s onwards and many comprehensive pupils now took either GCE O Levels or CSE examinations or a combination of the two.
  3. However the official school leaving age was not raised to 16 until 1973 and so in the 1960s many pupils still left school without taking any official national examinations.
  4. From the 1950s to the 1970s boys were more likely than girls to take GCE "O "Level Examinations. For example in broad terms in the 1960s and 1970s boys and girls took 55% and 45% respectively of all GCE "O" Level examinations..
  5. From the 1950s to the 1980s there were also significant gender differences in examination subject entries. Girls were more likely than boys to enter for English, Modern Languages, Humanities subjects and Domestic Science while boys were more likely than girls to enter for Mathematics, Science subjects other than Biology, Woodwork, Metalwork and Technical Drawing.
  6. From the 1950s to the 1970s the percentages of male and female school leavers achieving 5 or more GCE "O" Level passes were very similar. However since males  were more likely than females to enter for GCE "O" Level examinations this meant that the actual pass rate for female candidates must have exceeded the pass rate for male candidate s in several subjects.
  7. In fact the female candidate pass rate was higher [and in some cases significantly higher] than the  male candidate pass rate in English Language, History, French, RE and Art while the male candidate pass rate was usually higher in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology although in these subjects gender differences in candidate pass rates were relatively small.
  8. By the early 1980s girls and boys were now equally likely to take GCE "O" Level Examinations and the percentages of both boys and girls taking these examinations increased gradually. Gender differences in percentages passing 5 or more GCE "O" Levels were small but nevertheless about 1%- 2% in girls' favour.
  9. However this single statistic hid the facts that girls were often significantly outperforming boys in Arts and Humanities subjects and that boys were slightly outperforming girls in Mathematics and Science subjects.

Table 1: Percentages of School Leavers of Any Age Achieving 5 or more A*-C Equivalent Pass Grades 1974/5 -1987/8.

[ The data in both of the following tables refer to pupils from all English schools but from 1974/5 to 1987/8 the data refer to school leavers are of any age while from 1987/8 onwards they refer to pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year. Prior to 1988/9 pass rate data refer to GCE "O" levels [and CSE Grade 1 passes in 86/7 and 87/8] while from 1988/9 onwards they refer to GCSE passes A-C and A*-C after 1992/3 .]

Year Boys Girls Total
74/5 22.2 23.0 22.6
75/6 22.7 23.1 22.9
76/7 23.4 23.5 23,5
77/8 23.7 23.6 23.7
78/9 23.5 23.9 23.7
79/80 23.7 24.4 24.0
80/81 24.5 25.6 25.0
81/2 25.4 26.8 26.1
82/3 25.4 27.1 26.2
83/4 26.3 27.2 26.7
84/5 26.3 27.4 26.9
85/6 26,2 27.2 26.7
86/7 25.6 27,2 26.4
87/8 28.2 31.7 29.9

 

CSE examinations were introduced in  1965 with the aim of providing formal educational qualifications for students who were not considered capable of reaching the GCE "O" Level standard. The hope was that the introduction of these examinations would encourage more students to work more seriously for the new examination qualifications and also help employers  to assess the relative suitability  of school leavers for different types of employment. CSE examinations were less demanding than GCE "O" level examinations  but a CSE Grade 1 pass grade was accorded parity  with a Grade C GCE "O" Level pass grade  and the above statistics for  1986/7 and 1987/8 included  candidates who had  gained some CSE Grade 1 pass grades.

Since CSE examinations certainly did not attain "parity of esteem" with GCE "O" Levels among pupils, teachers, parents and employers the decision was taken to merge the two examinations into the new GCSE examination . Whereas GCE "O" Level  grades had been awarded entirely on the basis of examination performance CSE assessments had included a coursework component and it was decided that GCSE assessments should be based partly on examination performance and partly upon course work which was to account for about 25% of the final assessment. It was argued also that it was necessary to recognise the achievements of all pupils at GCSE level whatever grades were achieved but in practice GCSE Grades A-C and subsequently A*-C came to be defined by many as "pass grades" and equated broadly with the previous GCE "O" level pass grades A-C.

Once the GCSE was introduced it was noted that GCSE pass rates at Grades A/A*-C were increasing more rapidly than had occurred in the era of GCE "O" level examinations  and this led to allegations  by some that these examinations must have become easier than the previous GCE O levels although others have argue that the higher pass rates reflected more effective teaching and learning by teachers and students respectively. [In any case as stated in the DCFS Paper entitled Gender and Education: The Evidence on Pupils in England," GCSEs, unlike O Levels are criterion based assessments rather than measured in relation to peer performance ending the rationing of the top grades." This fundamental change in the nature of the grade awarding process clearly helps to explain why increasing percentages of pupils have been able to gain A/A*-C GCSE pass grades.

The examination results of both boys and girls improved but  overall gender differences in examination results [as measured by percentages of boys and girls achieving 5 or more GCSE grades A/A*-C] increased quite sharply once the GCSE was introduced as girls maintained or even increased their traditionally superior performance in English, Modern Foreign Languages and Humanities subjects and narrowed or even occasionally reversed boys' traditionally slightly superior examination performance in Mathematics and Science subjects.

The overall extent and timing of improvements in relative female educational improvement at 16+ level are illustrated in the following table.

 Table 2: Percentages of pupils in all English schools aged 15 at the start of the academic year achieving 5 or more A*-C Equivalent Pass Grades 1985/6- 1999/2000

Year Boys Girls Total
85/6 [GCE O Levels only] 26.2 29.2 26.9
86/7{GCE O Levels and CSE Grade1] 26.3 27.2 26.4
87/8[GCE O Levels and CSE Grade 1] 28.2 31.7 29.9
88/9 [First GCSE Results] 29.8 35.8 32.8
89/90 30.8 38.4 34.5
90/1 33.3 40.3 36.8
91/2 34.1 42.7 38.3
92/3 36.8 45.8 41.2
93/4 [A* introduced] 39.1 47.8 43.3
94/5 39.0 48.1 43.5
95/6 39.9 49,4 44.5
96/7 40.5 50.0 45.1
97/8 41.3 51.5 46.3
98/9 42.8 52.4 47.9
99/2000 44.0 54.6 49.2

 

Some explained this relatively rapid improvement in girls' educational achievements once the GCSE had been introduced mainly in terms of girls' allegedly superior organisational skills which enabled them to complete the newly introduced coursework tasks more effectively. Others have suggested that the reality is much more complex : it could be argued, for example, that coursework assignments test especially depth of understanding as well as organisational skills and that in any case girls' relative educational improvement must be explained by a wide ranging combination of factors operative inside and outside of the schools rather than solely by changes to the system of assessment at GCSE level. Furthermore the fact that relative improvements in female educational achievements are occurring in many countries suggests that they cannot be explained in the UK solely by the introduction of the GCSE.

There has been a significant gender gap in educational achievement at GCSE level throughout the 1990s and into the 21st Century.

You may click here for  DFE statistics relating to  2011/2012GCSE results and trends between 2007/08 and 2011/12. [Once you reach the DFE  page you may find it best to click on the SFR [Statistical First Release]  PDF link  which provides trend information educational attainments at GCSE level relating to Gender, Ethnicity, Free School Meal Eligibility and whether or not English is the pupils' first language. More detailed information may be found in the EXCEL tables which accompany this publication.

If you would also like the 2006/07 data you may click here for revised  DFE statistics relating to  2010/2011GCSE results. [As with the above publication once you reach the DFE  page you may find it best to click on the SFR Statistical First Release]  PDF link  which provides trend information educational attainments at GCSE level relating to Gender, Ethnicity, Free School Meal Eligibility and whether or not English is the pupils' first language]

Gender , GCSE Results and Subject Choice in 2012 [Information added February 2013]

 

 

Click here for full GCSE results from the Joint Council for Qualifications  and here for Guardian and here for BBC coverage  of the 2012 GCSE Results. The Joint Qualifications Council provides complete coverage of all examination entries in all subjects classified by gender. Note, however, that these data include information on adult entrants as well as 15-16 year-olds In England Wales and Northern Ireland and so differ slightly from the DFE data which include data only on 15-16 year olds in English schools and colleges. However data for gender differences in entry rates and pass rates are very similar despite the different coverage of the JCQ and DFE data  .

  • There were 2,562,885 male entries and 2662403 female entries.
  • The percentage of students attaining Grades A*-C has declined for the first time since the introduction of the GCSE courses in 1986 . The first GCSE examinations took place in 1988.
  • The percentages of both male and female students gaining A* and A grades have also declined.
  • Female students outperformed male students in terms of percentages of entries awarded A*-C grades and in terms of percentages of entries awarded A* and A Grades
  • A*:  Female entries =8.7% Male entries 6.0%  A:  Female entries =16.9% Male entries= 12.9%  A*-C Female entries= 73.3% Male entries=65.4% .
  • The % of Female A*-C entries exceeded the % of Male A*-C entries in all subjects except Mathematics {M +0.3%}, Physics {M+0.2%], Economics [M+ 0.2%], Other Sciences [M+6.8%] and other Technology [M+3.8%] subjects.
  • Whereas females had narrowly outperformed males in Mathematics in 2008 prior to the abolition of course work, it has been suggested that the ending of GCSE Mathematics coursework for the 20009 and 2010 cohorts helped to explain why males narrowly outperformed females in GCSE Mathematics in 2009 and 2010   However this conclusion has attracted some criticism. In 2011/12: In Mathematics Male and Female pass rates were identical [71% on the DFE figures] But on the JCQ figures males narrowly outperformed female students [[M=58.8% A*-C and Females= 57.9% A*-C] although on the DFE data Male and Female A*-C pass rates in Mathematics were identical at 71%.
  •  Gender differences in attainment varied considerably as between different subjects.
  • For example whereas the % of male  A*-C entries exceeded the % of female  A*-C entries in Physics, Mathematics and Economics, the % of female A*-C entries exceeded that of males by, 0.8% in Biology, 1.5% in Chemistry, 5% in Other Sciences, 9.5% in French, 9.6%  in German,  12.3% in Religious Studies and 14.6% in English. However once again there are claims that the abolition of course work in several GCSE subjects may reduce the gender gap significantly in future years although again  such claims are controversial and we shall have to wait and see!.
  • The figures in the brackets below indicate which of these subjects contained % majorities of male and female entrants respectively. Notice that in several of these subjects the male or female majority percentages  were relatively small.
  • In 2012 the most popular subjects were Mathematics [F=50.2%], English[ M=51%] , Science, English Literature[ F=53%], Additional Science[ F=51%] , Design and Technology [M=56%], Religious Studies [F=54%] , History [M=51%], Geography [M=55%] and Art and Design Subjects [F=66%].
  • In individual Science GCSEs a majority of entrants were Males and in French German and Spanish a majority of entrants were Females. Biology [M=52%], Chemistry [M=53%], Physics [M=53%] , French [ F=58%], German [F=53%], Spanish [F =58%] . Again the male or female majority percentages were relatively small.
  • In the following subjects the male and female majorities were much larger and might be said to reflect substantial gender differences in perceptions of appropriate employment.
  •  Subjects with the highest percentages of female entrants were Health and Social Care [F= 94%] Home Economics [F= 86%], Performing Arts  [F=83%], Social Sciences F=67%] and Art and Design Subjects [F=66%] . A majority of subject entrants were also female in Drama and Media/Film and TV studies.
  • Subjects with the highest percentages of male  entrants were Construction [M=97%], Engineering [M=93%], Technology [excluding Design  and Technology [M=92%] and Economics   [ M=67%]. Notice also that total entries for Construction [671], Engineering[2128] and Technology other than Design and Technology [1447] and Economics [3857] were relatively small. A majority of subject entrants  were also male in Business  Studies, ICT and PE.

 

 

 

Gender, Ethnicity and GCSE Examination Results

Click here for my document on Ethnicity and Educational attainment which indicates that Girls outperform boys at GCSE level in all ethnic groups although the sizes of the gender gaps in achievement vary as between different ethnic groups.-perform boys at GCSE level in every ethnic group. T

 Gender, Free School Meal Eligibility and GCSE Examination Results.

Girls out-perform boys at GCSE level in every social class although of course, middle class boys out-perform working class girls. Many girls still underachieve at school and it is vital that we do not neglect  the importance of the continuing relative under-achievement of many working class girls and especially of many girls eligible for free school meals [FSM]

  1. It is, however vital to note that gender differences in examination results are far smaller than differences in examination results between students eligible and ineligible for free school meals.
  2. As is indicated in my document on Ethnicity and Educational Achievement the differences in GCSE results as between  students eligible and ineligible for free school meals are greater for white students [boys and girls] than for students from other ethnic groups.

You may  click here for an article from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Site on the difficulties which some girls continue to face within the UK education system.

  Gender and Examination Results at GCE Advanced Level

Click here for a separate document with information and further links on Gender and Subject Choice at GCE Advanced Level. This document has now been updated to include links to the 2010 , 2011 and 2012 GCE Advanced level Results.

Click here and Scroll down to the Education and Training Chapter of Social Trends 2009 [Social Trends 39]  and then  scroll down to Diagram 3.17 which indicates that girls have improved their Advanced Level examination results relative to boys as measured by the percentages of girls and boys gaining two or more Advanced Level passes. [Notice that this chapter provides masses of relevant data on social class, gender , ethnicity and educational achievement. It is worth returning to!] Actually you may find it easier to search for Social Trends 2009 yourselves and then to go to the Education and Training Chapter!!

  Click here for BBC data on A Level results in 2011 [with 2010 results in brackets]. In 2011 female and male students were equally likely to gain A*grades at A level but Females were more likely than males to gain A and B Grades in all Advanced Level subjects combined .  You may also check the gender differences in individual subjects. For example Males were more than females to gain A* Grades in English, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Chemistry but females were more likely than Males to gain A* Grades in Physics, Biology, Computing, Geography and History .

Remember, however, that the statistics must be interpreted with care.: it is always important to consider the combined effects of gender  differences in subject choice and gender differences in pass grades to gain a clear picture.

Gender and GCE Advanced Level Results in 2011/2012

  • Click here and here for Guardian articles on 2012 GCE Advanced Level results including numerical data and graphics on Gender and Educational Achievement at Advanced Level.

  • lClick here and follow the appropriate links for full JCQ Information on GCE Advanced level entries and results [The Joint Council for Qualifications].

With regard to these  2012 GCE Advanced level results the key points are:

  • There were 395,914 Male entries [=45.9  %] and 465, 905 Female entries [ =  54.1%]. 

  • The overall percentage of entries awarded Grades A-E rose  for the 30th consecutive year although the percentage of entries awarded A* or A has fallen for the first time in 21 years..

  • For the first time since the introduction of the A* Grade there was a slightly larger percentage of Male A*entries[ 8.0%] then Female A*entries. [7.9%] This was primarily because on this criterion males outperformed females in a relatively small number of high entry subjects while females outperformed males in a larger number of relatively low entry subjects. [See Guardian first link.]

  • However female students outperformed males in terms of percentages of entries attaining Grade A [F 19.3% : M 17.8%] and in terms of the percentages of entries gaining A*-E. [F  98.4  M 97.5]

  • Between 2010-2011 and 2011-12 there were some significant increases and decreases in individual subject entries. In particular entries for Further Mathematics, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry increased substantially while entries for German, French, Spanish  , Law, PE, General Studies and Critical Thinking fell significantly.

  • The first of the above Guardian links provides information on the 10 subjects registering the greatest entry increases and greatest entry decreases.]

  • Click here and here for two BBC items which might help to explain the increased entries for  Mathematics and Sciences . Click here for a Guardian article on falling Modern Languages entries.

  • As has traditionally been the case gender differences in subject choice at Advanced Level remained considerable in 2011-2012.

  • There were  some changes in the relative popularity of different subjects among both female and male students as between 2009-10 and 2011-2012. For females the Biology overtook Art and Design ; Chemistry rose from 9th to 8th and the ranking position of General studies continued to fall. For male students the ranking positions of Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography all improved while the ranking positions of English, History and General Studies all declined.

  • In 2011-2012 the 10 subjects with the largest percentages of female students were Performing and Expressive arts [87.7% ], Welsh [81.1% ], Sociology [75.0% ], Art and Design [74.3 % ], Communication Studies [73.2%  ], Psychology [73.1% ], English [71.2% ], French [68.9% ], Drama [68.5%  ] and Religious studies [68.3%].

  • The 10 subjects with the largest percentages of male students were Computing [92.2% ], Physics [78.9% ], Other Sciences [ 77.4%], Further Mathematics, [ 70%], Economics [67% ], PE [65.3% ], ICT [61.4% ], Music, [60.1% ], Mathematics [60% ], and Business Studies[ 58.4%. It is noticeable that whereas Physics is significantly more likely to be chosen by male students than female students the gender differences in choice of  Chemistry[ M 52.8%  F 47.2% ] are smaller and as expected Females are more likely than males to opt for Biology [ F 56.5%  M 43.5%].

 

 Gender and Further and Higher Education

The 2010 edition of Social Trends provides information on long term trends in gender differences in access to Higher Education and recent information on Gender and Subject Choice in Higher Education. In table 3.9 we see that the numbers of both male and female undergraduates increased very significantly between 1970/71 and 2006/07 but also that female undergraduate enrolments overtook male undergraduate enrolments sometime in the early 1990s and continued to increase relatively thereafter such that by 2006/07 fulltime female undergraduates exceeded fulltime male undergraduates by 143,000 and fulltime female postgraduates exceed fulltime male postgraduates by 4000.

However the gender differences in subject choice at GCE Advanced Level continued in Higher Education and it was feared that females might still be under-represented in undergraduate subjects likely to provide the best career prospects. I shall consider this question in a separate document on Gender and Subject Choice.

It has been suggested also that although more females than males are enrolling on undergraduate courses males are still more likely than females to gain places at high status universities. However there are data which suggest that females are actually more likely than males to gain places at the high status so- called Russell group of universities suggesting therefore that females are not disadvantaged in this respect.

Table 4: Students in further and higher education: by type of course and sex [United Kingdom: Thousands]

 
 

MALES

FEMALES

  1970/71 1980/81 1990/91 2006/07 1970/71 1980/81 1990/91 2006/07
Further Education                
Full-time 116 164 219 515 95 196 261 531
Part-time 891 697 768 1,027 630 624 986 1,567
                 
All further education 1,007 851 986 1,542 725 820 1,247 2,098
                 
Higher Education                
Undergraduate                
Full-time 241 277 345 563 173 196 319 706
Part-time 127 176 148 267 19 71 106 451
Postgraduate                
Full-time 33 41 50 120 10 21 34 124
Part-time 15 32 46 143 3 13 33 181
                 
All higher education 416 526 588 1,094 205 301 491 1,463
                 
                 
                 

[1Home and overseas students attending further education or higher education institutions. See Appendix Part3 Stages of Education.2. Figures for 2006/07 include a small number of higher education students for whom details are not available by level. Source:: Department for Children , Schools and Families, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Welsh Assembly Government, Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning.] [From Social Trends 2009: Crown Copyright]

Click here and scroll down to the Education and Training Chapter of Social Trends 20011 [Social Trends 41]  which provides information on Gender differences in enrolments in FE and HE to 2008/9 and gender differences in first degree classes  to 2009/10 . Alternatively it may be easier to search for Social Trends 2011 and then to look at the chapter on Education and Training.!!

 [Students [1] In Higher Education by subject and sex 2006/07 and 2007/08: United Kingdom {Percentages] [1Full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate and home and overseas students in higher education institutions only. See Appendix: Part 3 Stages of Education: Source . [2] Subject data are classified using the Joint Academic Coding System: See Appendix Part 3 Joint Academic Coding System. Source Higher Education Statistics Agency] [From Social Trends 2009 and 2010: Crown Copyright] . 

  Men 06/07 Men 07/08 Women06/07 Women 07/08 All  06/07 All 07/08
Business and administrative studies          15.8          16.1 11.2 11.5 13.1 13.5
Subjects allied to medicine 5.5 5.4 18.2 17.7 12.7 12.5
Education 5.4 4.9 12.0 11.7 9.2 8.8
Social Studies 7.5 7.5 9.3 9.5 8.5 8.6
Biological Sciences 5.9 5.9 7.7 7.8 7.0 7.0
             
Creative art and design 6.2 6.3 7.2 7.3 6,8 6.9
Engineering and technology 11.7 11.8 1.7 1,7 5.9 6.0
Languages 4.5 4.5 7.0 6.9 5.9 5.9
Computer science 8.3 7.8 1.7 1.4. 4.5 4.1
Historical and philosophical studies 4.6 4.5 4.2 4.0 4.4 4.2
             
Law 3.7 3.7 4.0 4.0 3.6 3.9
Physical sciences 4.8 4.9 2.6 2.6 3.6 3.6
Medicine and dentistry 2.6 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.7
Architecture, building and planning 4.1 4.4 1.4 1.5 2.6 2.7
Mass communications and documentation 2.0 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.1
             
Mathematical sciences 2.1 2.1 0.9 1.0 1.4 1.5
Agriculture and related subjects 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.8
Veterinary science 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2
Combined 4.5 4.6 5.3 5.5 5.0 5.1
             
All subject areas [=100%] [thousands] 1,010 988, 1,352 1,318 2,363 2,306

 

 

You may click here for updated information to 2010/11 from the Higher Education Statistics Agency

"In 2006/07 female qualifiers outnumbered male qualifiers by a ratio of 14:10. In 2010/11 the difference had reduced slightly to 13:10. Male qualifiers outnumbered female qualifiers in six subject areas: Physical sciences, Maths, Computer science, Engineering, Architecture and Business studies. In the thirteen other subject areas female qualifiers outnumbered males, with the greatest imbalance in Subjects allied to medicine (mostly nursing) and Education"

You may click here and scroll down to Chart 9 for recent information on Gender and Degree Class

"68% of first degree classifications achieved by females in 2011/12 were at first or upper second level compared to 63% of those achieved by males. (Ref Table 6 [xls 41 KB] and Chart 9)

57% of first degree graduates in 2011/12 were women, which has remained constant over the 5 year time series. (Ref. Table 5 [xls 41 KB])"

 

In this document I have used a variety of official documents to outline the gender differences in educational achievement which exist to varying degrees at all levels of the education system. I hope that the data will prove useful as you analyse and evaluate the various sociological theories which have been suggested as explanations for these gender differences.