Frequently asked questions

Applying

You must think about your choices very carefully when you apply. You can ask for a change of choice without explanation if it is submitted by Friday 4 August 2017, when selection committee lists are created. After this date there have to be extenuating circumstances which occurred after Friday 4 August 2017, there has to be documentary evidence of the extenuating circumstances and any change must be approved.

You should list only those schools you are prepared to accept. You may list one or two choices. Consider your choices carefully.

Yes. If your child qualifies for both of your choices, you will be offered a place only at the first choice school. However, if your child qualifies for only one of the two choices, you will be offered that place regardless of whether it was your first or second choice.

The selection procedures are the same for all students. The only difference is that the Unit advises government school principals about the students from their school who have applied. Parents of students from non-government schools must ask their principals to complete the principal’s page (emailed with their application confirmation) and then must ensure it is returned to the Unit. In circumstances where this is not possible you should submit a letter of explanation to the Unit.

Over the entire candidature, about one half of students’ placement scores are increased by the moderated school assessment scores and one half decreased. Where students are not provided with school assessment scores, it is not possible to guess whether or not having school assessment scores would have increased their profile score. Students without school assessment scores who are considered exempt will be considered on their test scores only.

The results of practice items do not mean that your child will score the same in the test. Selection committees and appeals panels will not make any decision based on your child’s score on practice test items.

Encourage your child to use the sample tests on the Unit’s website to practise answering the questions on the sample answer sheet. Students will also be given practice questions before the test begins. See sample tests on 'The test' page.

The Department of Education does not endorse coaching for the Opportunity Class Placement Test.

Results

A student who does not have school assessment scores, or who is the only candidate from his/her school, will be considered on test scores only.

You should immediately access the Illness/misadventure form from the Unit’s website. You should complete the form, whether or not the student attempted the test, attach a medical certificate which covers the day of the test and the Independent evidence of illness, and return the completed form to the Unit by Friday 11 August 2017. The selection committee will then consider the student’s illness/misadventure claim as part of the selection process. Remember, it is generally better to attempt the test than to miss it. You will not be able to appeal on the grounds of illness after the placement outcome is known.

Not necessarily. The entry requirements for opportunity classes and selective high school placement can vary quite significantly. Students' ability and performance of students can improve over the time since they applied for opportunity class placement. Not all students from opportunity classes are successful for selective high school entry. There are more than twice as many Year 7 places in selective high schools as there are Year 5 places in opportunity classes.

There is no pre-determined score that a student has to achieve to be successful for opportunity class placement. The minimum entry score for each school with an opportunity class depends on the scores achieved by the candidates applying for that school and can vary from school to school and from year to year. The greater the demand for the school the higher the entry score is likely to be.

See the entry scores (PDF 39KB) held by the last students accepting offers to opportunity classes last year. These scores change from year to year.

The Opportunity Class Placement Test measures ability, while school assessment scores show each student’s achievement on the school curriculum. The test helps to identify students for entry into opportunity classes on the basis of academic merit. It is not meant to be a diagnostic test to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses in English and mathematics. The student’s primary school is most appropriate to advise you on your child’s performance in these areas.

Opportunity classes are only one of the initiatives provided by the Department of Education to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. As there is one place for approximately every six people applying, not all students can be placed. Be supportive and explain to your child that he or she can be very successful at a comprehensive primary school.

Most applicants will receive their child’s placement score out of 300 at the bottom of their placement outcome information in October 2017. Most applicants also receive details of the child’s raw school scores and raw test scores with the placement outcome. As these scores are moderated and scaled, you cannot recalculate to reach a placement score. If you did not receive score information you can email the Unit for an explanation. It is usually where an adjustment was made by selection committees. No other score details can be provided.

Reserve list

No. Three terms are used in the placement outcome information: ‘offer’, ‘reserve list’ and ‘unsuccessful’. Selection committees decide the students who will receive offers and those who will be placed on reserve lists. Students who receive offers and those on reserve lists have higher scores than those who are unsuccessful. Students placed on a reserve list will be given a number indicating their position on the reserve list. Progress on the reserve list varies from year to year. When offers begin to be made from the reserve list, the progress of each school’s reserve list is available on the Unit’s website from early November 2017.

You can accept an offer to your second choice school while remaining on the reserve list for your first choice school until 5pm on Monday 29 January 2018. After that time no further offers will be made to students who have already accepted placement in an opportunity class.

If the student is on a reserve list for an opportunity class, the number on the placement outcome information shows the student’s position on the list. The progress of the reserve list depends on whether students accept or decline an offer and whether other students receive further offers to schools of higher choice. If a student’s position is reached on the reserve list, the Unit will contact parents with an offer. From early November 2017 until 29 January 2018 you can track the progress of the reserve lists. The page is updated regularly.

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