Northern Ireland

GCSE exams: Northern Ireland pupils improve overall grades

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Media captionThe number of pupils achieving A* to C grades increased by 1.5% to 78%.

GCSE pupils in Northern Ireland have shown improvements in English, Maths and Science.

Those gaining A* to C grades in English rose from 68.8% to 73%, Maths rose 1.6% to 66.2% and Science from 61.5% to 64.8%.

Overall, the number of pupils achieving A* to C grades increased by 1.5% to 78%.

While more boys achieved A* to C grades than last year, girls continued to outperform them by 7.6%.

Performance by students in Northern Ireland in individual sciences was particularly high, the Joint Council for Qualifications said.

The proportion of entries awarded A* to C in Biology sits at 93.3% (91.2% in 2013), in Chemistry 93.6% (93.4% in 2013) and in Physics 95.0% (94.7% % in 2013).

The overall improvement comes despite concerns about changes to the style of test taken by English examination boards.

In English Language, Northern Ireland improved while in Great Britain the results have worsened. The English-based boards dropped the 'speaking and listening' element of the exam, but it was retained by Northern Ireland.

The Joint Council for Qualifications said there were notable performances in Music and modern languages:

  • French A* to C: 85.5%
  • German A* to C: 86.1%
  • Irish A* to C: 95.5%
  • Spanish A* to C: 91.4%
  • Music A* to C: 91.5%.

CCEA director of qualifications Anne Marie Duffy said the results reflected the hard work of students and teachers.

"The performance in core subjects of English and Mathematics will provide strong foundations for learners as they move on to further education, training and employment," she said.

"This year there has been a 2.8% points fall in the Northern Ireland Year 12 school population, and we've seen GCSE entries decrease by 3,609.

"Against this backdrop, entries in Business Studies and ICT have risen while sciences and modern languages have maintained their popularity."

Northern Ireland GCSE entries and provisional results
2014 2013 2012
Entries 172,692 176,301 171,354
%A* 8.9 8.7 8.9
%A*-A 28.2 28.0 27.9
%A*-C 78.0 76.5 75.6
%A*-G 99.2 99.2 99.0
Northern Ireland GCSE provisional results by gender
2014 Boys 2013 Boys 2014 Girls 2013 Girls
%A* 6.7 6.6 11.0 10.8
%A*-A 23.1 23.0 33.1 32.7
%A*-C 74.1 72.6 81.7 80.3
%A*-G 99.0 99.0 99.4 99.3

Careers' information can be found at or, you can call 0300 200 7820.

For those with queries on any issues relating to their exam results, for example appeals, remarks or re-sits, contact your exam centre or the CCEA helpline on 028 9026 1260 or email

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