Northern Ireland GCSE students continue to outshine their peers in England and Wales as figures show another improvement in exam results.
Girl students also continue to outperform boys in GCSE examinations in Northern Ireland.
On Thursday morning around 30,000 students who sat examinations set by local board CCEA finally got their results.
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There was a total of 170,348 GCSE entries in Northern Ireland this year.
The proportion of entries award A* to C grades has risen by 0.7% this year to 81.1%.
The number of students achieving the A* grade is 9.9%, a small increase of 0.4% on last year.
The amount of girls achieving A* to C grades increased by 0.9% to 85.1% while the proportion of boys achieving the same rose by 0.5% to 76.9%.
The gap between female and male performance at A*- C grades widened from 7.8% to 8.2%.
Justin Edwards, chief executive of the CCEA, said: “Congratulations to all students receiving their GCSE results this morning. Northern Ireland’s students have once again demonstrated good outcomes across all grades, reflecting the hard work that takes place in our schools and colleges.
"Students here continue to achieve higher outcomes in comparison to their counterparts in England and Wales.
"There are some patterns worth further analysis, such as the continued widening of the performance gap at A*-C grades between males and females.
"Subject choices remain stable with over 40% of students here now studying a STEM qualification. There were positive increases in Further Mathematics entries."
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects now account for 43% of all GCSE entries in Northern Ireland, with an increase of 2.4% on the previous year.
The number of female entries for STEM related subjects increased by 4.9%. Male entries in STEM subjects increased by 0.1%. Entries have also increased in subjects such as Drama, Construction and Business Studies.
The proportion of overall entries for languages remains stable, with a 0.2% decrease on the previous year.
This is the second year of the 9-1 grade scale offered by English based Awarding Organisations.
A small percentage of students in Northern Ireland (1.7%) will receive a 9-1 grade, with the vast majority (98.3%) of students continuing to take A* - G graded GCSEs.