Elite Performance Program (EPP)
Students who are well above the level normally expected for their particular age, have tasks designed for them, and are advanced with students of similarly ability. It is not uncommon for students in Year 7 to be accessing work as high as Year 10 to advance them at the level they are working at.
At McClelland, we have done away with the concept of a fulltime advanced class, as this limits extending students to a group of 25 (one class) and also still subscribes to the theory that all advanced students need advancement in all areas of their schooling.
A student's knowledge and skills may be well above the expected level in Literacy, but below in Numeracy or vice versa. Having a fulltime advanced class often means that student very talented in English is expected to tackle advanced mathematics. This is inappropriate and in this example, has the potential to send the student backwards in numeracy growth. Often these programs are heavily biased towards English and Mathematics. What about the students gifted in Art, Sport or Technology? Why shouldn’t they also be advanced in these areas?
At McClelland students are only advanced in the subjects or areas that they are ready for. We have students in the EPP that are advanced in one subject only, with others advanced in seven. Because we work in teaching teams and are highly skilled at differentiation, teachers can manipulate and target learning groups, to teach students what they need, when they need it.
Year 7 students are identified via primary school reports and early assessment at the college. Those deemed suitable for the program are invited to apply via a letter. Students accepted into the EPP are then also assessed for their suitability for a scholarship, in which case they may be asked to attend an interview. If successful, scholarships of $300 may be offered for each subject area students are nominated for.
We design our curriculum so these students are spending more time using higher-order thinking skills. This enables students to further increase their personal learning, and continue to maintain learning above levels normally expected for their age.
All teachers are aware of students identified as Elite Performance Program members. Students and parents who opt into the program agree to extra study sessions and activities to ensure they stay at least 6 months above the level.
Inside the open learning centre students study Literacy, Numeracy, Japanese and Inquiry (Humanities-based History, Economics and Geography).
When they are not in the learning centre the students study Art, Science, PE, Drama, Music, Technology (Metals, Plastics and Electronics), and Food Technology.