Key terms and glossary

Defining high-ability students


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. This is expressed across one or more domains:

  • intellectual
  • physical
  • creative
  • social.

Accelerated learning

When students move through the traditional curriculum at rates faster than expected.

Asynchronous development

The term is used to describe asynchronous development between cognitive, emotional, and physical development of high-ability students.


A student who has both high-ability and one or more disabilities or difficulties.

Teaching and learning


National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a nationwide measure used by parents, teachers, schools, education authorities and governments. NAPLAN can determine the level at which young Australians are developing literacy and numeracy skills.

On-demand testing

Tests are designed with reference to the Victorian Curriculum. These tests have been constructed by the VCAA and are on offer for schools to download. For further information visit, On-demand testing - VCAA


Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) Overview – ACER) are a series of tests designed to provide objective, norm-referenced information to teachers about their students' skills and understandings in a range of key areas.


Differentiated teaching occurs when a teacher plans a lesson that adjusts either the content being discussed, the process used to learn or the product expected from students to ensure that learners at different starting points can receive the instruction they need to grow and succeed


The knowledge and skills we want students to learn.


How students come to understand or make sense of the content.


How students demonstrate what they have come to know, understand and are able to do after an extended period of learning.


The psychological and physical setting in which learning occurs.


A student's current levels of knowledge, understanding and skills are used to determine their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).

Zone of Proximal Development

The distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.


A student's passions or affinities.

Learning profile

Learning profile refers to the way an individual takes in and processes information. It is an umbrella term that encompasses things such a learning potential, age, gender etc. A learning profile is not fixed.

Formative assessment

Used to evaluate student understanding and skill during the learning sequence. Formative assessments help teachers identify areas of support or extension for the student.

Summative assessment

Assessment that is undertaken at the end of the learning to assess the level of achievement.

Social and emotional wellbeing


Extremely high standards for yourself and/or others that are personally demanding.

Personal and social capabilities

Regulating emotions and developing empathy for others. Students learn to handle challenging situations, through building positive relationships, working in teams and developing leadership skills.



The Victorian High-Ability Program (VHAP) provides up to 48,000 high-ability students in Years 5 to 8 at government schools the opportunity to participate in 10-week online extension and enrichment programs, in English and mathematics.


Students who participate in VHAP are provided with the opportunity to meet other students in their local area who are undertaking the same course, in a face-to-face masterclass (may be virtually delivered if necessary). These masterclasses provide opportunities for students to connect with like-minded peers across the state, in order to reflect on their experiences and explore the big ideas of the course.


The Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series enables high-ability students from Prep to Year 12 to benefit from a series of high-quality, funded extension activities across all areas of the curriculum. Schools can nominate students to participate in activities within the series according to their abilities and interests. For more information about the events, visit Arc | Events

Visit our Student Excellence Program for more information about the initiatives that support government primary and secondary schools.