Excellence through Enrichment and Extension
The Triple E class was first implemented at Wagga Wagga High School in 2004 in response to the obligation to meet the needs of Gifted and Talented (G&T) students in the school community and abnormally high enrolment levels in the year 8 and year 7 of that year. As such a stage 4 class comprising of students identified as gifted and talented from both year 7 and 8 was created and has been running continuously since. Students wishing to take part in the Triple E class typically sit a test and take part in an interview process before being selected for a place in the class.
The Triple E class has from its conception been promoted throughout Wagga Wagga High's Primary partner schools. Over this time the class has become a cornerstone of the Wagga Wagga High school Curriculum and has enjoyed an overall excellent reputation.
The process of identifying the G&T student must by necessity use multiple criteria if it is to identify the maximum number of gifted students possible. Traditionally it is ‘The High Achiever' that is the most easily recognisable by teachers and is the most likely to self-identify. However, to identify other profile types the identification process must be rigorous to ensure all gifted students are identified and to this end Wagga Wagga High School employs the following strategies to identify G&T students
Prior to placement in classes at Wagga Wagga High School all students seeking to enrol from a primary partner school into year 7 are requested to sit standardised tests in literacy and numeracy in order to help in the identification of learning needs. The results of these tests are reviewed for potential placement in the Triple E class. It must be noted, however, that profile Type III. ‘the underground student' may deliberately underperform in such test to avoid ‘standing out' and Type V. ‘the double labelled student' may be hampered by the testing format.
Nomination forms for parents/caregivers, students and student peers enable relevant parties to provide anecdotal evidence of a student's giftedness and talent. It must be noted, however, that the nominator can often overestimate the nominee's abilities and further supporting evidence will be required.
Teacher Nomination and Observation
The nomination by a teacher with the experience and training to recognise the G&T student carries significant weight, especially when one considers that in Year 6 their teacher will, generally, have been working with this student for the past year. A nomination supported by this careful observation is much more likely to identify a wider range of G&T student profiles.
All students nominated/ing for or identified as potentially suited to the Triple E class at Wagga Wagga High are given the opportunity to be interviewed to assess their suitability for the class. This process is particularly important for profile Type V. ‘The double labelled student' who is more likely to display their giftedness and talent through verbal questioning than standardised testing.
Where uncertainty still exists regarding a student's ability these students can be referred to the school counsellor where a more thorough assessment of their abilities can be done. At this point I.Q. testing, creativity assessment, and other forms of testing and observation may be warranted to get an accurate picture of a student's capabilities. Unfortunately this process is time consuming and must be done by a trained and skilled individual and it is not feasible to do this for every student seeking/proposed for placement in the Triple E class.