How boys keep falling behind in secondary education and what policy makers can do.

GCSE and A-Level courses form the core of British secondary education. Her I report an analysis of 12 years of exam scores (2001-2013), with a focus on sex differences. Although both boys’ and girls’ exam performance improved considerably between 2001 and 2010, the percentage of boys attaining A grades was consistently lower than that of girls in nearly all GCSE and A-Level subjects, and boys were underrepresented in most A-Level subjects. Further, there remains a strong division between the sexes in subject choice, with more boys in STEM topics and more girls in social sciences, care, and languages. The latter finding implies a failure of policies to increase girls’ participation in STEM fields; based on this, the talk discusses recommendations for future research and policies in regard to gender and education.