Academic Extension

Academic Extension

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.

The diversity of course offerings provide students with many opportunities to engage in appropriate learning experiences.
Features of the Academic Extension Program


• Ability grouping in core subjects. Highly able students will follow similar programs of study but with increased access to programs that are characterised by: increased complexity and abstraction, increased academic challenge, and opportunities for open-ended inquiry and problem solving.

• Involvement in external programs and competitions

• Academic mentoring for students in Year 11 and 12

• Access to tertiary courses in Philosophy, Ethics, and Critical Thinking

• Opportunities to access overseas programs at Cambridge University