Ungifted


HSC Sample

Have I ever mentioned that I find accelerated subjects or schools that allow them unfair?

My parents were discussing this the other day, since my brother does accelerated Geography and will be taking the HSC for that in a matter of days, even though he is only in Year 11. My cousin, Francesca, is doing accelerated 3-unit Mathematics, and is only in Year 10. Even my beloved boyfriend, Ruben, I hear has benefit from accelerated subjects of some description.

What advantage does this give them? Basically that they are able to complete subjects for the HSC early and thus gives them the opportunity to get a higher mark and thus a higher ATAR, or UAI if you're older than I am.

How was this different at my high school? Although I did attend a selective high school, none of us were given the opportunity to do accelerated anything and it was only recently that I realised that this was possible at all. I'd heard of it in America, but I'd never seen it in Australia. Each of us sat all the subjects we were doing for the HSC in Year 12 all at the same time. However a mere few kilometres away, our brother school and my brother's high school offers accelerated subjects to almost any student they can. All the same my school did really well, coming third in the state in my year.

There are studies and articles that will say that accelerated learning should be allowed as it means that 'gifted' students are allowed to progress, rather than be restricted in their learning to the level of their otherwise 'less gifted' counterparts and thus be bored in classrooms and feel unchallenged. At the same time, they are left behind as they do not develop the necessary social skills and do not "develop toler[ance] and accept[ance] of those of lesser capacity to their own".

I understand if a student, because of any issues in their life, are required to complete their studies over two years because they do not have the capacity to do so in the one year, but allowing students to complete subjects early as part of an 'accelerated' program, just makes this an unfair assessment of ability. A student with months to study for a single subject would understandably do better than a student who has to study for six subjects in parallel and several tests to take within a few weeks, regardless of their age.

I'm well aware I'm only bitter because I would have personally found an advantage had I been offered such an opportunity, but all the same it is an unfair measure of ability, and the HSC is an unfair system. Who is the one that gets to measure who is 'gifted' or 'ungifted' anyway? You tell me.