Great results start with quality teaching from the time our students enter the College. The High Performance journey begins in Year 7. Students who are highly capable have a right to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning activities that address their individual learning needs. The learning and teaching strategies at St Benedict’s aim to enrich our students’ learning by providing students with access to learning area content in more depth or breadth. Our pedagogy is focused on developing higher order cognitive skills and critical and creative thinking capabilities.
Gagné (1998) suggests that gifted students comprise the top 10% of all students and can show talent across a range of domains, such as academic, creative, interpersonal, and physical fields of endeavour. Differences in learning needs exist within and across students in the gifted range, with more advanced students requiring greater learning support. The success of these students is strongly linked to the learning environments that teachers intentionally develop (Rowley 2008).
A series of avenues are employed to determine which students require further support and placement into the High Performance class;
- Parent identification
- Teacher Identification
- Cognitive Ability testing
- School achievement
- NAPLAN/PAT testing
Mini High Performance groupings are also across all Year 7 classes in areas such as Literacy, Numeracy, Technology, Sporting and Creative Arts.
At St Benedict’s our Year 8-10 classes are also grouped with students of ability across multiple KLA’s. Students are placed into the High Performance classes based on their school results in their courses. These classes receive targeted enrichment and often they move through the content more quickly and are encouraged to think critically and creatively. A cross curricular focus is adopted for this grouping and teachers work in a professional learning committee to ensure the needs of these students are met.
Students are encouraged to participate in ICAS testing in Year 7 – 10 in the areas of English, Mathematics, Science and Digital Technologies. ICAS is developed by the University of NSW. ICAS Assessments are designed to target students’ higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills. These assessments are voluntary, and students can choose to enrol in any tasks that interest them.
Year 12 High Performance Group
Through enrichment, we aim for the HSC High Performance group to achieve greater results than they may have been tracking towards. Our HSC High Performers are acknowledged for their continued efforts and great results. Through identifying these students we aim to create a learning culture that applauds success and creates role models for our students. Study grouping, mentoring, feedback, goal setting and inspirational speakers form part of the strategies to address the needs of our high performing students. We focus on ensuring our students have the opportunity to maximise their results and optimise their wellbeing during the HSC. We encourage a culture where achievement is accepted and our students know that they can celebrate their successes in a safe and welcoming learning environment.
There are also external opportunities for students. Although these vary on a yearly basis, students have been involved in:
Special Interest projects
- The Diocese of Wollongong SPLICED Program
- GERRIC Program at The University of New South Wales
- Learning Labs at University of Wollongong
- Learning Labs University of Western Sydney
- External Competitions
- da Vinci Decathlon
- APSMO- Maths Olympiad
- Fast Forward WSU programs
- WSU Blueprint competition
- Tournament of minds
- iSTEM projects