Boys well represented in both highest and lowest proficiency levels

Flåtestad skolePhoto: Flåtestad skole / Wikipedia

Boys distinguish themselves at the highest proficiency level in two out of three national tests completed in 2015. However, more boys than girls also have the lowest proficiency level in all tests. The girls score high in reading, while the smallest gender gap is in English skills.

The statistics on national tests and marks in lower secondary school normally show a positive correlation with school achievements and social background. The statistics also show that immigrants achieve lower results than other pupils, and that girls are likely to get better results than boys. This trend continued in the 2015 results, but the gender gap is evening out.

Bigger difference between boys
Although the score points from 2015 show marginal disparities between the sexes, some patterns can be clearly seen in how the pupils are distributed between the different proficiency levels. Boys’ results are generally more dispersed, while girls who do not achieve the highest proficiency level often end up in the levels just below.

The results from 2015 show that more boys than girls achieve the highest proficiency level in two out of three tests in both the 5th and 8th grade. Using the mathematics test as an example, we see that 27.9 per cent of boys in the 5th grade score in the highest proficiency level, while 22.7 per cent of the girls achieve the same result. The distribution of the groups in the two other proficiency levels, however, indicates that girls and boys perform equally on average.

Girls fare better in reading tests, where they achieve the highest proficiency level in all stages, and somewhat higher score points than the boys. The majority of the pupils who achieve high scores in both mathematics and reading tests have parents with a higher education. Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents tend to achieve below average results on these tests. This is particularly evident in the results of 8th grade pupils’ reading tests, where immigrants typically achieve 7 fewer points than other pupils.

English results remain evenly distributed
The English test is taken in the 5th and 8th grade, and shows a smaller disparity in gender and parents’ education level than the two other tests. As an example, 16.4 per cent of pupils with parents with no tertiary education achieved the highest proficiency level in English. By comparison, the corresponding figure for the mathematics test was 9.3 per cent. Both of these figures are of pupils in 5th grade.

Results from the English test also show less disparity between pupils with different immigration backgrounds. In the 5th grade, more immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents achieved the highest proficiency level than other pupils. This picture evens out, however, when we look at the results as a whole. We can then see that the latter group is distributed into a higher share at the middle proficiency level and fewer pupils in the lower proficiency level.

Score points unchanged
Score points were introduced in 2014 for the English and mathematics tests, and the figures from 2015 show a marginal change in overall results. Some counties and groups have only gone up or down by one point, which does not affect the national average. This is as expected, since the points are intended to show how the pupils’ results develop over the years.

Score points will be introduced for the reading test in 2016, when this test will also be made electronic.


Source: SSB / Norway Today