The A-level Gender Gap: A Visual Tool

Although I’ve posted before about the gender gap in subject choice, the focus has largely been on explanations for the gap in various broad subject strands (see, for example, Archer 2013).

While this type of analysis is, of course, vital, what sometimes gets overlooked in the rush to explain is data that actually allows students to get an initial handle on the scale of the issue.

The actual chart moves. Click it and see.

This neat interactive chart courtesy of the Education Policy Institute (a Liberal think tank that need not overconcern us here) rectifies this omission by allowing teachers to “illustrate the gender gap between males and females in A level subject entries and attainment for each year between 1996 and 2018 based on published Department for Education statistics covering students at the end of Key Stage 5 in England“.

It does this in a simple, highly-visual, way.

And although it’s not going to win any web-award prizes for hi-octane excitement (tbh I’m not sure if such awards actually exist) it does the job it was designed to do and should save you a fair amount of writing and talking.

The only real downside is that it ends at 2018 – a promised 2019 update doesn’t seem to have been delivered – which means it doesn’t accurately reflect the rapid expansion of two of the most highly-feminised A-level subjects: sociology and psychology.

Which just goes to show, you can’t have it all.

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