Girls achieve higher level secondary education diplomas than boys

Of the 190 thousand kids who started secondary education in the 2010/11 school year, girls on average obtained a higher level of diploma than boys seven years later, Statistics Netherlands reported on Tuesday. Girls obtained a HAVO or VWO diploma more often than boys, boys more often obtained a diploma from one of the VMBO vocational courses than girls. 

The definitive school advice these pupils received from their primary school for their start in secondary education showed little difference in the level of boys and girls. In 2010, girls and boys scored almost equally well on the CITO test. The average percentage of correct answers for language, mathematics and study skills was 75 percent for boys and 74 percent for girls. The distribution among the different types of first year bridging class in secondary education was also fairly the same, according to the stats office.

But a year after starting secondary education, boys already fell behind more often than girls, Statistics Netherlands found. Three years into secondary education, 9.3 percent of girls had been kept back a year and 14.8 percent of boys. In this same period, 3 percent of girls and 4.3 percent of dropped out without achieving a diploma. 

Seven years after starting secondary education in the 2010/2011 school year, 43.2 percent of girls and 38.2 percent of boys obtained a HAVO or VWO diploma. 24.7 percent of boys and 21.8 percent of girls obtained a VMBO-b or VMBO-k diploma. Relatively speaking, almost the same amount of boys and girls obtained a VMBO-gt diploma. Over 12 percent of pupils who started secondary education in 2010/2011 left school without a diploma - 13 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls. 

The difference in diploma levels achieved by boys and girls have been around for years, according to the stats office. For years boys have been performing less well than expected in secondary education based on their definitive school advice and their placement in a bridge class type, while girls performed better than expected.