Extension Class and Accelerated Program Policy

RATIONALE

Barrenjoey High School provides extension classes from Year 7 to Year 10.  They have been designed to provide an educational environment that enables able gifted and talented students to develop to their full potential.

NAIDOC PCS Artwork

This program is reflective of Barrenjoey High School’s guiding principles (Respect, Effort & Challenge) and the values embedded within the Department of Education and Training’s Gifted and Talented Students Policy (2007).

Gifted learners may display some or all of these traits:

  • The ability to learn new materials in much less time and in greater depth
  • The ability to readily retain a quantity of information
  • The ability to handle complex and abstract ideas
  • The ability to simultaneously focus on a number of tasks
  • Have intense interests and passions
  • Draw generalisations and seemingly unconnected concepts
  • Ask provocative questions

Susan Winebrenner (2000)

The Barrenjoey High School program allows us to support the academic and social needs of every student.

AIM

Barrenjoey aims to provide students with access to a curriculum that is suitably paced and permits the exploration of key issues and themes in greater depth.  The ‘Extension Class’ LillaObradovicprogram provides students with intellectual challenge and choice within an environment that encourages creativity, problem solving and analytical expression while stimulating higher-order thinking.

GOAL

The Extension Class program sets only one, yet highly significant goal.  To deliver qualitatively rather than quantitatively different programs that provide for the intellectual, psychological and social needs of gifted children within subject specific contexts.  This instructional ideology is based on the research of June Maker and Miraca Gross, 2002.  Research indicates that instructing ‘gifted learners’ requires three main considerations:

Needs – Cognitive, affective, social, aesthetic

Curriculum – Accelerated and enriched

Experiences – Thoughtfully planned, written down and incorporating explicit assessments

(Van Tassel-Baska, 2003)

Barrenjoey High School has considered the suggested modifications for ‘gifted learners’ from the following researchers when planning this Extension Class Program:  Tomlinson, Kaplan, Renzulli, Williams, Maker and de Bono.

Explicit considerations to extend student learning have been in the following areas; teaching activities, teaching method, assessment strategies, required resources, desired product, learners needs, preferred units of work and the concept of rigorous questioning.

CURRICULUM – YEAR 7

One (1) core extension class and two subject specific extension classes exist:

Extension Class                     Extension Visual Arts        Extension Music

English, Mathematics,

History, Geography,

Science and PDHPE.

CURRICULUM – YEAR 8

Seven (7) subject specific extension classes exist:      

  • Extension English
  • Extension Mathematics
  • Extension Science
  • Extension History
  • Extension Geographyimg_9003a
  • Extension Visual Arts
  • Extension Music

CURRICULUM – YEAR’s 9 and 10

Five (5) subject specific extension classes exist:          

  • Extension English
  • Extension Mathematics
  • Extension Science
  • Extension History
  • Extension Geography

IDENTIFICATION – YEAR 7

The Year 7 (core) Extension class is selected from the students’ results from an externally sourced and marked exam.  The exam is the General Achievement Test (GAT) for the Middle Years of schooling developed by the University of NSW’s ‘Educational Assessment Australia’ organisation. It is coordinated by the Peninsula Community of Schools (PCS) and is sat in March of the previous year – whilst still a Year 6 student.

The test has a focus on English, Mathematics and Science.  The test format is:

Reading and Language (40 minutes) – 40 multiple-choice questions from various stimulus material.

Mathematics (40 minutes) – 40 multiple-choice questions.

Writing Task (30 minutes) – 1 writing task.

The two subject specific Extension classes of Music and Visual Arts are accessed through a successful Expression of Interest form.  This selection process is rigorous and multi-faceted, therefore there may be the requirement of evidence for a Visual Arts portfolio and an audition.

In some extenuating circumstances, students who have missed either of the above processes may gain access to these classes through an interview with the principal and the provision of sufficient evidence.

 IDENTIFICATION – YEAR’s 8 – 10

All subject specific Extension classes in Years 8 – 10 are selected through performance in that subject while studying it in previous year.  

The completion of assessment tasks and results of examinations are used to determine a student’s (subject specific) academic order.

PROGRAM

The Extension Class Program has modifications made to the speed students complete the curriculum through flexible pacing and curriculum compacting, increasing the depth and abstraction of content covered.  

High expectations will be placed on the processes and products of their learning.  Student Outcomes, Assessments, Grading and Reporting are also modified to ensure there is suitable opportunities to show evidence of higher order learning.IMG_1291

The example below illustrates the scope and sequence of an extension class compared to parallel classes.

There are two possible ‘subject specific’ models for extension at Barrenjoey.  One model contains specific ‘Extension Topic’ building on a compacted topic area that is studied by the parallel classes.  

The other model includes each unit of work being continually extended upon throughout the topic. Creative subjects tend to select the ‘Extension Topic’ model, while the academic subjects tend to prefer the ‘continual extension’ model.

TERM 1

TERM 2

Parallel Class

Extension Model by ‘Topic’

Continual Extension Model

Parallel Class

Extension Model by ‘Topic’

Continual Extension Model

Topic One  Core

Topic One Core

Topic One Core with continued content ext.

Topic Two Core

Topic Two Core

Topic Two Core with continued. content ext.

Topic One Ext

Topic Two Ext

TERM 3

TERM 4

Parallel Class

Extension Model by ‘Topic’

Continual Extension Model

Parallel Class

Extension Model by ‘Topic’

Continual Extension Model

Topic Three Core

Topic Three Core

Topic Three Core with continued. content ext.

Topic Four Core

Topic Four Core

Topic Four Core with continued. content ext.

Topic Three Ext

Topic Four Ext

ASSESSMENT, GRADING AND REPORTING

Extension class students will receive assessments that measure results across all students within their year group (parallel assessment) so that parents and teachers can gauge where a student is achieving in relation to their grade cohort.

In addition, students will also complete extension tasks and/or extension elements within tasks that provide results and diagnostic information as to how students in the Extension Class are performing in relation to their peers.

Extension class students will have one (1) Extension Outcome reported on within their Half Yearly and Yearly Reports, in addition to the curriculum outcomes reported on by parallel classes.

Extension class students will receive an Overall Grade comparable across all parallel classes as well as an Extension Grade comparable across the Extension Class only. Extension Grades will have greater expectations attached to them as identified in the attached descriptors.

The Report comments will reflect the students’ progress across both the Common Outcomes and the Extension Outcome.

DISTRIBUTION OF GRADES

The table in Appendix 1 shows both the common grade scale and extension grade scale, which describe performances at each of the grade levels A to E and Ext A to Ext E.

For each course, a set of Course Performance Descriptors has been developed based on the common grade scale. Each descriptor is a positive statement about achievement related to the knowledge and skills relevant to the course. You can view the Course Performance Descriptors for each course and samples of student work on the Assessment Resource Centre of the Board’s website at arc.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/go/sc.

SUITABILITY FOR THE PROGRAM

Occasionally we find that a few students are not suited to the increased pace of work, independent tasks or the more competitive nature of the Extension Program, often this is discovered following a reporting period. In instances where a student’s own learning or self-esteem is being negatively affected it may be necessary after consultation with the Principal to place that student into a parallel class.

Conversely, a student in a parallel class may out-perform students in an Extension Class.  In this instance (after parental consultation) it may be desirable to move that student into the Extension Class in order to better cater for their individual learning needs.

ACCELERATED HSC PROGRAM

Throughout Year 9 a student may perform extremely well across a range of courses, and as such may be provided the opportunity to apply for one of two accelerated HSC courses for the following year.

Each year, up to two HSC courses will be accelerated allowing students in Year 10 to commence their HSC (in one subject) a year earlier than normal. This opportunity is through an application and screening process that follows an Information Evening where all the advantages of such a program is clearly explained.

APPENDIX 1: GRADING EXPLANATION

Level of Achievement

Grade point

Common

Grade

Description

Extension Grade

Description

Outstanding

5

A

The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the common content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can demonstrate this through a variety of methods.

Ext A

The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the extension content and can readily and competently apply this knowledge through processes and skills that demonstrate real-world applications.

High

4

B

The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the common content and a high level of competence in the processes and skills. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.

Ext B

The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the extension content and can readily apply this knowledge through processes and skills that demonstrate real-world applications.

Sound

3

C

The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of common content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.

Ext C

The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the extension content and can usually apply this to real-world applications.

Basic

2

D

The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the common content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.

Ext D

The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the extension content and can sometimes apply this to real-world applications.

Limited

1

E

The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the common content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.

Ext E

The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding of the extension content and is limited in applying this to real-world applications.

Extension Class Policy 2017