In all areas of teaching and learning, we aim for excellence and the highest educational outcomes within a collaborative, nurturing learning environment. Taking responsible risks is encouraged, success is rewarded and disappointment acknowledged. Our students are self-directed, collaborative critical thinkers who take ownership of their educational journey and persevere to achieve their personal best. The focus is on continuous learning that will provide the spiritual, social, physical and emotional development needed to achieve personal fulfilment.
Mercedes College has had a long and successful tradition of providing for students with special additional learning needs. Differentiated Learning is a priority in all classrooms and the academic results of the College are historically high. 80 to 85% of Year 12 students aspire to and achieve university entrance whilst certificate courses, workplace learning, the STRIVE program and traineeships provide opportunities for students who are interested in either enhancing their academic results or pursuing other pathways.
Research has also shown that there are students achieving in the top 10% of their peer group, who underachieve, often deliberately, to avoid discrimination. These students traditionally succeed in their classes. They achieve at the higher ends of their expected levels and seem to understand everything that is taught to them at school. Despite their success, many are still not achieving at their full potential. Mercedes College is now achieving an Accelerated Learning Program to cater for these students.
What is Acceleration?
Acceleration is a learning intervention that moves students through an educational program at rates faster than typical. The level, complexity and pace of the learning and teaching are matched to the readiness and motivation of the student. Some students have the capacity to cover core content of the curriculum more rapidly than other students of their own age. Acceleration enhances learning so that the highest achieving students have the capacity to:
The accelerated curriculum needs to be flexible enough to allow time for in-depth exploration of content, manipulation of ideas and questions that require higher order thinking and a learning environment that better meets the needs of the highest achieving students. Acceleration often helps these students ‘find others with common interests and helps develop a sense of real belonging’ (Sale College’s SEAL coordinator, Debbi Daff).
The Mercedes College Accelerated Learning Program
In 2014 ALP commenced with a small group of selected, very capable and committed Year 7 students who will benefit from the Program throughout their years of Secondary schooling. The group comprises a maximum of 25 students – 20 students selected on merit, potential and individual interview. Five places are reserved for students who may be identified during the year as fitting the criteria for the program. The same will apply in 2016.
Students in the ALP will study Religious Education, Electives, Health and Physical Education and ‘Learning to Learn’ with their year level cohort. To ensure appropriate social development, they will be in a Homeroom group with their mainstream peers. There will be no exemption from any part of the academic program.
Accelerated learning is offered in English, Mathematics, Social Science and Science. Mercedes College recognises the importance of the sequential development in each of these study areas and the role that maturation plays in the success of an individual student’s academic outcomes. At the same time, the expectation is that ALP students will have the opportunity to complete Curriculum from Years 7 to 10 in three years.
The ALP and class structure conclude at the end of Year 9 and students then move into Year 10 classes with the rest of the Year 10 cohort. The progress of individual students at the conclusion of Year 9 will be considered in determining placement in appropriate Year 10 classes.
Entry into the ALP
Successful application into the ALP depends on the following:
Registration is open to any student, currently in Year 6, who meet the above criteria. Students who have already been accepted into Mercedes College for Year 7 in 2016 or have a Conditional Offer are welcome to apply for entry into the ALP.
Registration is available on the College website and must be completed by Friday 20 March 2015. The cost of sitting the test will be $75 and this must be paid at the time of Application. Each Application must be supported by the Year 5 Semester 2 report and Year 5 NAPLAN and WAMSE test results.