High potential and gifted students

What do we mean by high potential and gifted?

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[Female narrator]

The NSW Department of Education is committed to supporting all students to achieve their educational potential. We recognise that high potential and gifted students require support to optimise their growth and achievement. The department’s diverse settings include academically-selective classes in primary and secondary schools known as opportunity classes and selective high schools.

So what do we mean by high potential and gifted?

Professor Françoys Gagné suggests that potential exists along a continuum, where given the right conditions, high potential can lead to high performance and achievement.

Gagné outlines that students may show potential in one or more areas including intellectual, creative, social-emotional, and physical.

Selective high schools and opportunity classes are specialist settings that cater for students with high potential and gifts in the intellectual domain, as well as meeting the needs of those who have potential across multiple domains.

High potential and gifted students are found across diverse family, socio-economic, language, cultural backgrounds, and different geographic locations. Gifted students may also present with disability.

So what's the difference between high potential and gifted, or even highly gifted students?

High potential students are those whose potential exceeds that of students of the same age. They may benefit from an enriched or extended curriculum and learning opportunities beyond the typical level of their age peers.

Gifted students are those whose potential significantly exceeds that of students of the same age. They typically develop talent and achieve mastery much faster than their age peers.

Highly gifted students are those whose potential vastly exceeds that of their age peers. Highly gifted students may require specific and significant curriculum adjustments to meet their learning and wellbeing needs.

Opportunity classes and selective high schools are specifically designed to provide optimal learning conditions to support talent development of high potential and gifted students.

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High potential students are those whose potential exceeds that of students of the same age in one or more domains: intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical.

Gifted students are those whose potential significantly exceeds that of students of the same age in one or more domains: intellectual, creative, social-emotional, and physical.

Talent development is the process by which a student’s potential is developed into high achievement in a specific domain or field of endeavour. (Gagné Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent 2009.)

High potential and gifted students, in all domains, learn in ways characterised by their diverse profiles. Many characteristics cross the domains but others are more relevant to one domain than to the others.

The characteristics listed below may be found in many learners but are strongly evident in high potential and gifted learners. Conversely, not all high potential and gifted learners will display all of these characteristics due to lack of opportunity, disability or disadvantage.

High potential and gifted learners may demonstrate:

  • curiosity
  • an ease of learning that is fast paced
  • intense concentration in new learning or areas of interest
    perseverance
  • high levels of self-criticism
  • perfectionism
  • strong sense of moral reasoning and justice
  • intrinsic motivation and be goal driven, particularly in their area of interest
    a sophisticated sense of humour
  • creative and critical thinking skills
  • high expectations for self and others
  • an advanced level of observation
  • high levels of excitement by new ideas
  • independent thinking

Note: These learning characteristics should be used as only one source of evidence to assess and identify students

Opportunity classes and selective high schools

Opportunity classes and selective high schools form part of the Department of Education's commitment to identify and provide a range of opportunities for gifted and high potential students in NSW.

Find out more about how gifted and high potential students are catered for in NSW schools, including the updated High Potential and Gifted Education Policy.

Topics:

  • Gifted students
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