In a world defined by increased competition, education goes a long way towards creating opportunity. Maths Words Not Squiggles helps children to achieve government-based opportunity class placement through personalised primary school tutoring. Opportunity classes are highly competitive and available in a number of select NSW primary schools.
While these classes are not suited to everyone, they provide an amazing opportunity for gifted children who are looking for a rich and intellectually stimulating educational environment.
Maths Words Not Squiggles is a modern learning centre for students in primary school and high school. We deliver tailored learning solutions to build confidence and meet testing standards. All course material is planned using the Australian curriculum set by NESA, and all lessons are available both privately and in small productive groups.
We put theory into practice every day in order to transform the learning experience and achieve amazing results. While there are many ways for young children to grow in order to meet the demands of the modern world, an opportunity class provides a well-defined pathway towards future fulfilment and success.
What is an opportunity class?
An opportunity class (OC) is offered by select government schools across NSW. These classes cater to academically gifted and talented children in Years 5 and 6 and are designed to enhance the learning process. Opportunity classes have a long and proud history in NSW education, with the first classes established in 1932. There are currently 75 primary schools with opportunity classes across NSW, with parents typically applying during Year 4 to enter a one or two-year placement program.
Gifted children are often bored at school, which can lead to disengagement and underperformance over time. For the right children, being in an OC will provide challenges and opportunities to stay engaged and interested during this crucial phase of development. While an OC is not a formal pathway to a selective high school, it provides a competitive and stimulating environment where children can thrive and grow to reach their full potential.
The application process
The application process for opportunity classes is administered by the High Performing Students Team at the NSW Department of Education. Along with opportunity class placement, the team are also responsible for selective high school placement. Opportunity class placement is challenging and highly competitive, which is why we offer a proven and comprehensive preparation course.
There are several ways an OC can be administered in schools, with the individual program affecting the application process. For example, there is a Year 5 opportunity class, a Year 6 opportunity class, and a Year 5/6 composite opportunity class. In addition, there may be a chance to enter a composite class consisting of opportunity class and non-opportunity class students.
The application process consists of the following steps:
- Fill out an ‘intention to apply’ form from your current primary school.
- Read current application information from the NSW education website.
- Register at the application website within the valid time frame.
- Login to the website and fill out your contact details.
- Complete the opportunity class placement application.
- Submit your application and make a note of the student application number.
- Receive a confirmation email and check your details.
The selection process
The selection process for an NSW opportunity class is based on academic merit, which is demonstrated by a calculated placement score. The score is used to compare individual students, and is a combination of moderated school assessment scores from Year 4 and possibly Year 3, and scaled results from the Opportunity Class Placement Test.
School assessment scores are provided for English and mathematics for all students from each primary school. Opportunity test results are determined for English, mathematics, and general ability. Both selection components play a crucial role, with separate scores scaled using the mean and standard deviation from all of the candidates.
There is a selection committee for each NSW school with an opportunity class, with each placement decision made using identical criteria. Each candidate from a primary school is placed in order of merit based on the relative gaps between students. In addition, a process of moderation is used to adjust scores in a fair and consistent way based on the fact that each school has different assessment methods and marking standards.
The final selection is based on the overall placement score, which is a mark out of 300. The scaled OC test comprises 200 of these marks, with the scaled school assessment score comprising 100. In terms of the individual test components, English makes up 100 of the 300 marks, mathematics makes up another 100, and general ability makes up the final 100.
While English and mathematics are measured equally between the OC test score and school assessment score, the lack of a general ability score in the school assessment gives a weighted bias to the OC test in terms of overall importance.
The selection committee makes decisions independently based on identical criteria. Along with test and assessment scores, the following factors may be taken into account:
- Illness and misadventure requests
- Disability, including medical conditions and behavioural disorders
- Matters that affect the usual age range
- Consideration to students who are from Aboriginal communities, are Torres Strait Islanders, or are educated in English for less than 48 months
- Other evidence of academic merit
- Offers and reserve places based on the vacancies available
- Any other relevant factors
The OC placement test
The Opportunity Class Placement Test is held in designated test centres each year, with results combined with moderated school assessment scores to get a well-rounded representation of each student. Parents are notified of their closest test centre location through a Test authority letter. Students must sit the test at the authorised test centre location on the designated test date.
The OC placement test is written by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). It is a secure test, which means papers can’t be viewed before or after the test session. Much like an IQ test, the OC test is designed to measure ability rather than performance on the school curriculum. There are two parts to the test, each of which is 30 minutes long and includes 35 multiple-choice questions in English, mathematics, and general ability.
Maths Words Not Squiggles provides free diagnostic assessment in order to tailor the learning experience. Each student is given a benchmark to measure their achievements against our internal curriculum tracker. Experienced instruction and personalised lessons are then applied to help the student get ready for the OC Placement Test. While the testing procedure provides a clear gateway for selection, some students can find the process-intensive and stressful if they don’t have the preparation and guided tuition.
Placement offers are made each year according to the assessment and test results. Information is sent to parents, with the email consisting of an offer, a place on the reserve list, or an unsuccessful placement attempt. In addition, parents will have access to their child’s placement score out of 300, along with individual scores for the OC test and school assessment.
Parents are able to select two preferred schools during their initial application, with a decision made based on scores and qualification criteria. If the student receives an offer for their second choice, they may be placed on the reserve list for their first choice. Students are placed in rank order of their placement scores to fill the available vacancies at each school.
NSW schools offering OC
There are 75 schools offering an OC, with schools located across the state of NSW. The Department of Education publishes the minimum entry scores for opportunity class placement at each school. The minimum entry score is the score of the lowest scoring student to accept a place at a particular school, with minimum entry scores varying from school to school and year to year.
The minimum entry score is not an indicator of the relative performance of the primary school, with parents also advised to consider additional factors such as the curriculum offered at each school and the travelling times and transport available to the student. All schools and their minimum scores are listed below:
|Alexandria Park Community School||205|
|Alstonville Public School||162|
|Armidale City Public School||185|
|Artarmon Public School||232|
|Ashfield Public School||222|
|Balgowlah Heights Public School||215|
|Balmain Public School||212|
|Bathurst West Public School||160|
|Beecroft Public School||246|
|Biraban Public School||160|
|Blacktown South Public School||216|
|Blaxcell Street Public School||201|
|Blaxland East Public School||185|
|Bradbury Public School||190|
|Camden South Public School||189|
|Caringbah North Public School||209|
|Casula Public School||209|
|Cessnock West Public School||161|
|Chatswood Public School||229|
|Colyton Public School||189|
|Coonabarabran Public School||161|
|Cudgegong Valley Public School||169|
|Dubbo West Public School||160|
|Dural Public School||230|
|Earlwood Public School||213|
|Ermington Public School||234|
|Georges Hall Public School||225|
|Goonellabah Public School||164|
|Gosford Public School||205|
|Goulburn West Public School||163|
|Greenacre Public School||201|
|Greystanes Public School||228|
|Harrington Street Public School||204|
|Holsworthy Public School||216|
|Hurstville Public School||217|
|Illaroo Road Public School||164|
|Ironbark Ridge Public School||225|
|Jewells Primary School||185|
|Kingswood Public School||188|
|Leumeah Public School||208|
|Lithgow Public School||160|
|Maryland Public School||171|
|Matthew Pearce Public School||237|
|Mona Vale Public School||216|
|Moree Public School||162|
|Neutral Bay Public School||225|
|New Lambton South Public School||211|
|Newbridge Heights Public School||197|
|North Rocks Public School||238|
|Picnic Point Public School||223|
|Port Macquarie Public School||162|
|Quakers Hill Public School||219|
|Queanbeyan South Public School||160|
|Richmond Public School||167|
|Rutherford Public School||174|
|Ryde Public School||227|
|Smithfield Public School||189|
|Soldiers Point Public School||181|
|South Grafton Public School||160|
|St Andrews Public School||199|
|St Johns Park Public Schoo||215|
|Sturt Public School||181|
|Summer Hill Public School||233|
|Sutherland Public School||209|
|Tahmoor Public School||171|
|Tamworth Public School||183|
|Tamworth South Public School||161|
|Tighes Hill Public School||187|
|Toormina Public School||163|
|Waitara Public School||231|
|Wentworth Falls Public School||180|
|Wilkins Public School||215|
|Wollongong Public School||207|
|Woollahra Public School||217|
|Wyong Public School||177|
Preparing for the OC
Getting ready for an OC can be a confusing time for parents and students alike. While these classes are designed to broaden horizons and provide exciting new challenges, preparation is needed to make this opportunity count. Our tutoring is designed to build confidence but also focuses on the needs of specific students and testing scenarios through personal instruction.
At Maths Words Not Squiggles, our primary school tutoring program helps expose students to new skills and structures, not just helping them to succeed during the test but also getting them ready for the class itself. Personalised instruction and practice is the best way to cultivate higher-order thinking skills and increase the chances of OC placement.
Our personalised classes are designed to guide individual students towards independence and confidence. We create a safe and friendly environment where kids can thrive, grow, and get ready for the next step. The tailored nature of our tuition program is ideal for OC placement, with teachers able to focus on the test itself while instilling the broader skills needed to thrive in an opportunity environment.
If you’re the parent of a gifted and inquisitive child, an opportunity class provides a rich and stimulating environment to help them grow with confidence. If you want to give your child the very best opportunities through education, the friendly team at Maths Words Not Squiggles offers personalised primary school tutoring to help them reach their potential.
We offer face-to-face tutoring in our 4 Sydney learning centres or take advantage of our live online tutoring service.
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02 8339 4775