Intellectually able students benefit from programs where enrichment is offered through class activities and the options of differentiated courses.
The aims of the academic extension program at Barker are:
• To acknowledge that students of high intellectual ability have different learning needs
• To identify and support students with high intellectual ability
• To extend the learning of students with high intellectual ability and provide challenging learning environments
The program of academic extension is based on the work of Francois Gagne and his Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent. Gagne’s model recognises the features giftedness (Natural Abilities) and the dynamic process of translating these gifts into systematically developed skills (talents).
Identification of intellectually able students
At entry points, and as students progress through the school, a number of measures will be used to identify intellectually able students. These will likely include, low-stakes ability testing, subject specific testing and above level testing. The School also values teacher recommendation as a measure of suitability for participation in extension classes.
Junior School - ASPIRE
In-class differentiation with streaming in English, Mathematics and HSIE is followed in the Junior School.
A wider area of involvement in gifted and talented support education is the Junior School’s active membership of the North Shore Gifted Cluster Group of primary schools with similar interests in gifted education. The purpose of the group is the sharing of information and ideas for professional development for staff, plus the institution of enrichment activity weekends and workshops for intellectually-able students. Presently, the Cluster Group has increased to twelve schools that regularly host workshops for gifted students in Years 3 – 6. Each school is invited to nominate two promising students to workshops involving areas such as computing, science, art, philosophy, drama and writing.
The diversity of course offerings provide students with many opportunities to engage in appropriate learning experiences.
Middle & Senior School
In Years 7-10, most mandatory subjects are organised in ability groups, with students identified as being of high intellectual ability placed in extension classes. Extension classes will follow similar programs of study but are characterised by:
• Opportunities for open-ended inquiry and problem solving
• Increased academic challenge
• Greater academic complexity and abstraction
Other extension opportunities
The School provides other opportunities for academic extension through participation in pre-university courses, external competitions and gifted and talented programs and immersion programs.