A total of 131 grade six students yesterday sat the inaugural test to get into newly created selective streams at Sydney's Catholic high schools, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
About 90 students will be offered a place at All Saints Catholic College Liverpool, De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah or Our Lady of Mercy College Burraneer – the three high schools piloting the streams next year.
All 38 of Sydney's Catholic high schools are expected to introduce the Newman Selective Gifted Education program in coming years.
Yesterday's test, which was developed and run by the Australian Council for Educational Research, included three 40-minute sections on abstract, verbal and quantitative reasoning, and a 25-minute written expression section.
As well as sitting the test, students are also required to submit a portfolio containing school results and samples of their work, and get recommendations from their principals to gain entry into selective streams.
The streams will be introduced at the three high schools for some subjects, including English, maths, science and history and geography, and students in the Newman program will also be able to choose from extension courses such as coding, robotics, creative arts and STEM initiatives.
Selective streams have been offered to gifted and talented students at a number of Catholic schools since 2011, but this is the first time students have sat an external exam and had to submit portfolios.
All Catholic schools will have to go through an accreditation process, which will include extensive staff development in teaching gifted children, before they can introduce selective streams.
Executive director of Sydney Catholic Schools Dan White said the program will ultimately aim to ensure that "gifted students who attend their local Catholic school are given the opportunity to reach their potential".
"We want to make sure that our comprehensive system of Catholic schools, no matter where the child lives, has access to the program," Dr White said.
Students sit first Catholic schools selective test (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sydney Catholic schools take gifted education to next level (About Catholic Schools)