Accelerated Learning Pathways at Emmanuel – a focus on the individual
Many students are gifted in some way. Learners who have abilities, knowledge and skills that exceed those of their peers in particular areas of study need to be challenged and enabled to progress at a rate that matches their learning.
At Emmanuel College we think it is important for those students to stay within their social infrastructure rather than being isolated away from their peers. Extension within the classroom or subject based acceleration are the best options for student well-being and engagement. Accelerating students into subjects above their Year Level should be a measured decision. Emmanuel College profiles the learning ability, maturity and work ethic of each student before supporting such decisions. Students from Year 9 may be accelerated into VCE subjects, but only after a rigorous profiling of the students performances to date.
Acceleration through VCE
Emmanuel’s 2018 VCE results demonstrate steady growth in what is referred to as the middle band - those ATAR scores in the mid-range, which the College has been working hard to increase. In addition, the number of study scores above 40 more than doubled. Students who receive study scores of 40 or more for a subject are in the top nine percent of students Victoria wide. Thirty-six Emmanuel students received study scores above 40 in 2018. The highest possible study score is 50 and we congratulate Sarasa Deguchi who received this perfect score for Japanese. Sarasa was one of four Year 10 students who completed Year 12 studies last year and each of them received a study score that placed them in the top ten percent of the state. This is an excellent result and is evidence of the opportunities Emmanuel students have to accelerate according to individual interest and ability.
Acceleration through advanced electives and co-curricular options
Choosing advanced electives provides another pathway for students to accelerate in areas of study in which they excel. Year 8 to 10 students have the opportunity to select electives which cater for their individual interests and skills. In Year 8, for example, students with strong English skills frequently choose Oral Communication as an elective. For enhancement in Mathematics, the Year 8 elective Making the Right Moves, combines mathematical skills and concepts with the game of Chess to deliver an interesting learning experience that develops skills such as: focus, visualisation, forward planning, decision-making, abstract thinking and problem solving. In Year 9, Forensic Files caters for students wanting further extension in science and mathematics. Building Up STEAM focuses on developing skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. In this subject, students work on solving problems and creating their own research projects. There are electives in creative writing, oral communication and literature at Years 9 and 10 that cater for advanced literacy development. There are also electives in electronics, robotics and programming.
Emmanuel College also offers over 200 co-curricular options each year, many of which provide extension and enrichment, from the daily offering of Exploration Space - a program that develops skills in digital technologies - to Science Club, Chess, Public Speaking or Creative Arts, there is something to interest and extend every student.
In the junior years, Emmanuel College uses Maths Pathway - an individualised learning and teaching model that is tailored to cater for differing student needs. Instead of all students learning the same topic at the same time, each student will focus on what they are ready to learn. At Emmanuel College, we believe that every child can experience success and grow in Mathematics and that students should have ownership over their learning. We want our students to adopt a growth mindset and believe they can be successful in Mathematics. The Maths Pathway model of teaching and learning relates Mathematics to the real world and encourages students to think, problem-solve and develop independence. To begin using the program, students are initially given a diagnostic test, which determines what they currently know about Mathematics and what they still need to learn. As a result of this diagnostic testing, students are given individualised modules to complete that are tailored to what they are ready to learn. This ensures that students are working on Mathematics concepts at the right level and enables all students to be catered for and extended. Year 8 students may complete Year 10 level concepts, while still remaining in a Year 8 class. The diverse needs of students can be catered for within the one class. The key focus of the Mathematics program is on student growth, as we expect our students to learn at least one year’s worth of mathematical content in one year, regardless of their current level of understanding.
Emmanuel College also considers breadth in subjects for students who need to challenge their learning pathways. These programs may include balancing a language with a higher level maths, which is recognised by VCAA as the VCE Baccalaureate and was introduced in 2014. In 2017 and 2018 the College Duxes received this additional form of recognition to acknowledge that these students had undertaken the demands of studying both a higher level mathematics and a language in the VCE program. This is an exceptional effort considering these students chose a challenging combination of subjects but were still able to produce exceptional overall results.
A head start in University studies
Since 2017, Emmanuel College students have been given the option to study accelerated University programs. This pathway option has begun to grow with a number of Emmanuel students accelerated into tertiary studies in subjects such as Biology, Psychology and Law.
In summary, acceleration at Emmanuel College is designed to provide the most appropriate match between individual student’s capabilities and the level of challenge in the curriculum, while considering the wellbeing of each student by ensuring there are no adverse social or emotional consequences associated with acceleration.