TEENAGERS achieved record GCSE results again today, although boys are falling further behind girls.
Nearly one in four (23.2%) of entries scored at least an A grade this year, up from 22.6% in 2010.
And nearly seven in 10 exams (69.8%) were awarded a C or above, according to figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).
Around 650,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are waking up to their GCSE results today.
The overall A*-C pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row, the national figures show.
But boys are failing to close the gap with girls, particularly in top grades.
More than one in four (26.5%) of girls’ entries were awarded an A or A* this summer, compared to 19.8% of boys’ exams.
This is a gap of 6.7 percentage points - the widest it has been since the A* grade was introduced in 1994.
It is the opposite of A-levels, where last week’s figures showed that boys are closing the gap in top grades.
The gender gap has also widened at A*-C for GCSE. This year 66% of boys’ exams gained at least a C compared to 73.5% of girls’, a difference of 7.5 percentage points. Last year the gap was 7.2%.
Today’s results reveal that the numbers of pupils taking modern foreign languages continues to fall.
Entries for French and German slumped again this year, as did Spanish - the first reported decrease for this language since 2006.
History and geography have also seen a decline in entries, with history entries down around 2,700, and geography entries slumping by a massive 13,800 in the space of a year.
Jim Sinclair, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications, congratulated students on their results.
He said: “The rise of biology, physics and chemistry is welcome news, as is the increased performance in maths and English.
“However, the continuing decline of modern foreign languages and the growing divide in performance between boys and girls at the top grades are worrying trends.”
More students are taking separate science subjects at GCSE, the results showed.
The number of those taking physics saw the biggest rise of 16.4%, from 120,455 to 140,183. Chemistry entries went up by 16.2% from 121,988 to 141,724, while biology saw a 14.2% surge from 129,464 to 147,904. Last week’s A-level results also reflected the increased popularity of science subjects.