Defining high-ability

The term high-ability is used to indicate high potential and/or performance across the full suite of human abilities.

High-ability refers to students whose ability is more advanced than that of similar-aged peers across one or more domains. These domains include:

  • Intellectual ability: usually manifests in a broad range of academic-focused subjects, speed of learning and complex thinking patterns.
  • Physical ability: often presents in physical education or dance.
  • Creative ability: is likely to find expression in the arts.
  • Advanced social ability: will cut across a variety of subject areas. Often finds expression in leadership.

There is often interplay between the domains: for example, the young person with high-ability in both the physical and creative domains who becomes a highly skilled and expressive dancer.

High-ability students come from a variety of backgrounds. High-ability can co-exist with learning difficulties/disabilities or physical disabilities.

The term high-ability includes students who:

  • are performing above their same-aged peers
  • have the ability to perform above their same-aged peers
  • are accelerated
  • are twice exceptional.


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