At Brigidine College, we endeavour to re-interpret the Brigidine vision for a future generation of strong and gentle young women who are resilient and equipped with 21st century thinking skills to solve problems and lead change. We strive to achieve this vision through the Compass Program. Guided by the Middle School Pedagogy, with a focus on differentiation and personalised learning, the Compass Program is developed around rigorous and challenging learning experiences for High Potential Students.

Overview of the Compass Program

  • Selective entry Year 7 class of 2020 of High Potential Students supported by expert teachers
  • Personalised Learning informed by the triangulation of data and expert teaching
  • Opportunities for curriculum acceleration, extension and enrichment across core learning areas whilst adhering to the standards of the Australian Curriculum
  • Problem Based Learning projects to develop 21st Century skills with a focus on community improvement
  • Informed by Middle Years Pedagogical Approach and educational research

Development of the Compass Program

There is a growing field of research indicating that Australian schools are not catering for the needs of our most capable students. The Compass Program has been developed in response to this evidence to better engage our High Potential Students.   Although there is no one definition of High Potential or Gifted and Talented Students, there are several qualities that unite these learners:

Positive Affects of High Potential Girls Challenges of High Potential Girls

 Needs of the High Potential Girl

–          Inquisitive, abstract thinker

–          Enjoys challenge

–          Focused concentration for long periods of time

–          Highly empathetic

–          Self-directed

–          Complex and clever use of humour

–          Desire to learn and understand

–          Self-critical, perfectionist tendencies

–          Questions others, rules, and authority

–          Easily bored

–          Reduced involvement in group work

–          Bossy, overbearing or hyperactive

–          Rapid pace learning

–          Complex content, improved breadth and depth

–          Adjustment to learning processes, products and environment to support higher order and complex thinking

–          Authentic, real world problems

As such, the Compass Program has been developed on an understanding of the needs of High Potential Learners and the role of expert teachers, and the importance of authentic challenge working to assist students in achieving excellence.

Compass Program Year 7 2020: Authentic Learners

Informed Pedagogy

Research is clear that there are as many high potential female students as male, yet adolescent girls are at risk of subverting their potential and renouncing their pursuits of achievement in lieu of accepting traditional ideas of being female and seeking acceptance from their peers.

However, research completed by Tweedale and Kronborg (2015) identified that the High Potential girl stands every chance of success when she is given the opportunity to develop her talent in an environment that values excellence, encourages challenge and resilience and is supported by teachers and family.

In addition, research completed by Rogers (2007) identifies to meet the academic and social emotional needs of High Potential Learners, programs of instruction must: allow for daily challenge, the pursuit of individual areas of interest and potential, provide opportunities for acceleration, extension and enrichment, socialising with like-minded peers and flexible learning environments.

As such, the Compass Program has been developed as a selective entry class of High Potential students who will be challenged daily and offered unique differentiations of the curriculum to support their academic development in an environment of like-minded peers.

The creation of a selective class for High Potential Learners is supported by educational evidence collected over a century detailing that special grouping for high potential learners can greatly improve academic and social outcomes for all students (Steenbergen-Hu, et al 2016).

Visible Learning

Furthermore, Hattie’s invaluable research on Visible Learning clearly identifies the role of expert teachers in developing personalised learning that challenges students, ultimately resulting in High Potential Learners achieving excellence.

A teacher’s ability to measure learning to inform the development of personalised learning programs allows students to achieve excellence. Teachers of the Compass Program will use their expertise to assess student’s strengths and areas for improvement to develop a learning progression that engages their potential, guiding them on the path to excellence.

Authentic Challenge

Learning Futurist Tony Ryan clearly details the rapidly changing demands of education and the future of work. Thus, the Compass Program focuses on preparing students for 21st Century challenges. Informed by the Mission of our College, the Compass Program strives to develop the High Potential Girls’ problem-solving skills with a focus on improving communities and serving others.

Expression of Interest Year 7 2020:

Student selection for the Compass Program will be based on the triangulation of objective and subjective measures of high potential, including norm referenced standardised testing, academic, sporting and cultural awards, and student interview.

For your daughter to apply to be part of the 2020 Compass Class, she must:

  • be enrolled to attend the College
  • intend to enrol at the College for 2020 (Enrolment package available online)

For Brigidine girls enrolled as Year 7 2020:

    1. Complete the Expression of Interest to receive a Compass Programs of Excellence Application Package
    2. Submit the completed Application Package, including supporting documentation by Monday 3th June 2019. Supporting documentation could include any of the following:
      • Psychometric Testing
      • External standardised testing results; for example, AGAT, CogAT
      • Distinction or High Distinction achievement certificates awarded from national or international competitions; for example, ICAS
      • Evidence of participation in or offer of extension, enrichment or acceleration in Primary School
      • Awards or achievements in the sporting, creative industry or community service fields
      • Other documentation supporting high achievement and or potential

Applications can be submitted  to the College office or emailed to

    1. All applicants will complete the Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) later in Term 2 as organised by the College (Date to be advised) Note: student test cost for 2019 will be met by the College. A Testing Fee will be introduced for future applications.
    2. Completed applications and CogAT results assessed by a team of Program Leaders at the College
    3. Interviews are offered to suitable candidates based on CogAT and Application documentation
    4. First round offers will be made:
  • a) Students accept or decline offer via Offer Response Form
  • b) Second round offers will be made based on the available space in the Program

Note: A Levy with your daughter’s participation in the Compass Program (TBC)

Register your interest below:

Compass Programs of Excellence

  • You do not need to be enrolled at the College yet to apply to be considered for our Compass Programs of Excellence.


Key dates:

Events – Application Process

Dates 2019 * Subject to variation

Applications DueMonday 3rd June
Proposed CogAT TestingBetween 17th June – 28th June *
InterviewsMonday 22nd July – Friday 2nd August *
First and Second Round OffersMonday 5th August – Friday 16th August
Finalisation of Compass ClassMonday 26th August

Useful Links

Dr. Françoys Gagné

Tony Ryan (2019) Learning Futurist

The Queensland Association for Gifted and Talented Children

The Australian Association for the Education of Gifted and Talented

Frequently Asked Questions about the CoGAT


Hattie, J (2019) Implementing, scaling up, and valuing expertise to develop worthwhile outcomes in schools. Monograph, 58, The Australian Council for Educational Leaders

Tweedale, C., Kronborg, L (2015) What contributes to gifted adolescent females’ talent development at high achieving secondary girls’ schools? Gifted and Talented International, 30:1-2, 6-18

Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M., Olszewski-Kubilius, P (2016) What one hundred years of research says about the effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration of K-12 students’ academic achievement: Findings of two second order meta analyses. Review of Educational Research, Vol 86, No4 pp 849 – 899

Rogers, K.B (2007). Lessons learned about educating the Gifted and Talented: A synthesis of the Research on Educational Practice. The Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol 51, Iss 4, pp 382 – 396