Individual education plans (IEP)

Developing an IEP for a high-ability student

Developing an IEP for a high-ability student will be similar in many ways to developing an IEP for a student with other additional needs. Those involved in putting together the IEP will need to:

  • identify relevant stakeholders. These may include the student, parents/guardians, teachers, and other members of the student group support team
  • work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders
  • collect and analyse student data to help inform goal setting
  • collect information about the student's strengths and interests. This will inform goal setting and the strategies used to meet goals
  • develop long term goals
  • develop short term smart goals that will allow the student to meet their long-term goals
  • regularly review progress toward short term and long-term goals.

When developing an IEP for a high-ability student, there is one main difference that stakeholders need to be aware of. Extending learning beyond the year level expectations (through access to the above-level curriculum or breadth of the year level curriculum) will be the main aim of any plan put in place. This approach will contrast with IEPs for other areas of need. Here, the focus is usually on supporting the student to access and achieve as close to their year level expectations as possible.

Questions that stakeholders should consider when developing an IEP for a high-ability student include:

  • What data or information do we have that tells us what the student knows, understands and can do above the expected curriculum? Do we need to perform above-level testing?
  • How far ahead of the expected curriculum are the student's current levels of knowledge, understanding and skills? Can this be catered for in the regular classroom?
  • What data or information do we have that tells us about the student's higher-order thinking skills? Is this an area that can be targeted within the IEP?
  • What external programs do we have access to that can be used to support the high-ability student? For example, has the student been identified by DET for the Victorian High-Ability Program (VHAP)? Would the student benefit from involvement in the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series (VCES)?
  • Is there evidence that the student has high-ability in the non-intellective domains? How might this be supported?

When developing an IEP for the twice exceptional student, it is important that due consideration is given to the student's high-ability. Often, IEPs for twice exceptional students focus on the student's deficits. Twice-exceptional students need the same type of provision adjustments in their areas of strength as other high-ability students.

In this short video, the Principal at Tarneit Rise primary school talks about the importance of growth and goal setting for high-ability students, and how IEPs are a useful tool to support this.