The University of Oxford which is globally recognised for its excellence in academics and co-curricular activities will soon be introducing a so-called "takeout" exam as part of its history course to help women get better grades. The Sunday Times reported that one of Oxford University's five final-year history exams will be replaced by a paper that can be done at home to try to improve results for female students.

Effort to bridge the gender gap

The move will be introduced from the next academic year in an attempt to bridge a wide gap between male and female students' first-class degrees.

Internal documents, obtained under freedom of information laws by the newspaper, said: "This course in particular showed one of the largest gender gaps in results between women and men. As women and men perform more equally in submitted work, it was proposed that a takeout exam with questions similar to that in a timed exam should be implemented."

Statistics reveal that 32 per cent of women achieved a first in history at Oxford, compared to 37 per cent of men. Cambridge University -- where the average gender gap is nearly nine percentage points across all subjects -- is also reviewing its exam system "in order to understand fully any variations and how we can mitigate them effectively".

The attainment gaps between men and women at two of the UK's leading universities leave them out of step with the direction of travel across the education world. Oxford University said: "Timed exams remain an important part of the course, testing skills to complement the other assessed elements. The gender gap was a consideration in this change."