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 you submit a request form by Friday 25 September 2020, when selection committee lists are created. After this date there have to be extenuating circumstances which occurred after Friday 25 September 2020, 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 Team 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 to parents with their application confirmation) and then must ensure it is returned to the Team. 

No, travelling times and transport arrangements are not considered as part of the selection process.

When you apply you will be asked to provide the names of both parents and you should give the contact details of the parent/carer who the child lives with most of the time. You will have to provide copies of court orders if they exist.

If the parent who does not live with the child is entitled to educational information about the student that parent may contact the Team and request duplicate system-generated correspondence.

Parents/carers living separately MUST NOT make separate applications for the same student.

Offer response forms are sent only to the parent making the application. It is the responsibility of parents living separately to reach consensus about matters such as school choices and accepting offers.

The test

Encourage your child to use the sample tests on the Department’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.

The results of practice items do not mean that your child will score the same in the test. Your child’s score on practice test items cannot be considered as part of the selection process.

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

The Opportunity Class Placement Test is designed to measure ability and helps to identify students for entry into opportunity classes on the basis of academic merit. The test is designed to discriminate between high performing students. It is not meant to be a diagnostic test to identify the student's strengths and weaknesses in English or mathematics performance. The student's primary school can advise you on your child's performance in these areas.

Results

All students are considered on test scores which will be expressed as a mark out of 300 as the calculated placement score.

Not necessarily. The entry requirements for opportunity classes and selective high school placement can vary quite significantly. Students' ability and performance 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 predetermined score that a student has to achieve to receive an offer of 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 held by the last students accepting offers to opportunity classes last year. These scores change from year to year.

Opportunity classes are only one of the initiatives provided by the Department of Education to meet the needs of high potential and giftted 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 parents/carers will receive their child’s placement score at the bottom of their placement outcome email or letter in December.

A further letter or attachment is provided with the breakdown of the raw test marks. In a few cases the score cannot be published. If parents do not receive their child’s score they can write to the Team for an explanation.

A child’s score may have been adjusted during the selection process based on criteria such as a student’s Aboriginality, length of time doing all school work in English, and a number of other factors. This is why a student may appear higher on a reserve list than another student with a higher calculated placement score. 

Reserve list

No. Three terms are used in the placement outcome information: ‘offer’, ‘reserve list’ and ‘unsuccessful’. Opportunity class principals and executive officers 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. In some cases, such as a result of a successful appeal, two students can be placed at the same reserve list number. When this happens the student with the higher score will be made the first offer. 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 Department’s website.

You can accept an offer to your second choice school while remaining on the reserve list for your first choice school until 5pm on Wednesday 27 January 2021. 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 Team will contact parents with an offer. From mid-December 2020 until 27 January 2021 you can track the progress of the reserve lists on the website. The page is updated regularly.

Opportunity class principals and executive officers offer places or reserve list positions only to those students they think are capable of doing well in an opportunity class. There are many things which can affect student performance, including your child’s willingness to learn, his/her response to teachers and interaction with other students. While some students who receive late offers might have problems, the majority should have no difficulties.

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