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EDIE446 Differentiating for Gifted and Talented Students

Unit rationale, description and aim

Special Education is one of the more challenging, dynamic, growing areas of education and is reflected in early childhood, primary and secondary learning contexts with many students with disability and diverse needs requiring high-quality differentiated teaching and personalised learning approaches. Evidenced-based, research-informed scholarly practice is promoted in careful planning, delivering and evaluating universally-designed programs to engage all students in achieving their goals, particularly those often marginalised. In this specialisation, pre-service teachers are encouraged to work collaboratively with students, their families and other professionals to build whole-of-community networking, designed to improve each student’s cross-curricula lifelong learning outcomes and wellbeing.

The unit will explore the concept of giftedness and consider the complex needs and issues related to giftedness. Pre-service teachers will analyse and critique what it meant by giftedness, the processes that influence it and how it can be identified in the classroom. Through exploring evidence-based practice and current research pre-service teachers will develop specific competence in supporting high potential, gifted students.

The aim of this unit is to assist pre-service teachers to develop an advanced understanding of the characteristics and needs of students who display high potential and giftedness. This unit is designed to enhance pre-service teachers’ understanding of social-emotional issues that can contribute to under-achievement and their role in differentiating curriculum for a strengths-based approach in facilitating all students to achieve their potential.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - apply a broad understanding of the definition of high potential and giftedness and the criteria and means of identifying giftedness (GA8, GA5; APST 1.1; ACECQA A3, A5)

LO2 - present a clear and coherent exposition of the characteristics and needs of high potential, emerging abilities and gifted students and the myths and misconceptions of giftedness (GA1, GA5, GA8; APST, 1.1, 1.3; ACECQA B1, B2)

LO3 - demonstrate an understanding of relevant issues through a review the literature of evidence-based practice and research in gifted education (GA4, GA8; APST 1.2,1.5, 2.3, 4.1, 6.2; ACECQA B9, C1, C5)

LO4 - critically analyse and evaluate current programs making recommendations for improvements (GA4, GA8; APST 1.3,1.5, 3.6, 4.1, 5.4; ACECQA B1, B2)

LO5 - develop strategies for collaborating with families and other professionals to enhance the support for high potential and gifted students in working effectively, sensitively and confidentially (GA1, GA5; APST 4.5, 5.5, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA D1).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A.   Child development and care

A3  Social and emotional development

A5. Early intervention

A7. Learners with special/additional needs

B.   Education and curriculum studies

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. The Australian curriculum

B9 curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C.   Early childhood pedagogies

C1  Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C5  Children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C7  Contemporary society and pedagogy

D.   Families and community contexts

D1. Developing family and community partnerships


Topics will include:

  • Definition, characteristics and concepts of high potential and giftedness in students and relevant frameworks, such as Gagne’s (2012) Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent.
  • Diverse approaches to identification and assessment such as Renzulli’s (2005) A developmental model for promoting creative productivity 
  • Differentiation, UDL, personalised support planning, adjustments, peer grouping; and
  • Collaboration with families and other professionals, including reporting, assessment and tracking issues
  • Key issues and barriers affecting high potential, emerging abilities and gifted students, including: access to services; gender issues; bias and stereotype; myths and misunderstandings; perfectionism, underachievement; asynchronous development; social and emotional issues; social rejection; diverse cultural perspectives of giftedness, and partnership with families

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will consist of the equivalent of 150 hours of study (equivalent of one-hour lecture and a two hour tutorial online, private study, contribution to online discussion, preparation of assessment) facilitating the application of knowledge, skills and strategies. Required readings and activities are on LEO. Learning and teaching strategies include a combination of online lectures, webinars, and other online activities. The rationale for an inquiry-orientation and cooperative learning approach is to enhance knowledge, skills and raise fundamental awareness and questions about diverse student learning experiences and equip pre-service teachers to address them with heightened ethical awareness.  

Technology Enhanced Learning

All lectures will be recorded and made available via the Learning Environment Online (LEO).

Assessment strategy and rationale

Criterion-referenced assessment strategy will be used to ascertain the extent to which students achieve stated outcomes. In order to pass this unit, you are required to view all online lectures, tutorials, links and resources, and contribute to online discussion forums, unless there are documented extenuating circumstances, and complete each of the assessments, gaining an overall passing grade. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. Learning Outcome 4 (critically analyse and evaluate current frameworks and approaches, making recommendations for improvements) and Learning Outcome 5 (develop strategies for collaborating with families and other professionals to enhance the support for high potential and giftedness in students in working effectively, sensitively and confidentially) are only assessed in Assessment Task 3. In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks, pass Assessment Task 3 and gain an overall pass result. 

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Electronic submission and marking of assignments through Turnitin will be used.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Case Study Reports 

Write two case study reports for two learners suitable for an educational professional, such as the class teacher or centre director. The reports should include:

  • Identification and assessment of the learner
  • description of the learner’s abilities
  • identification of high potential and gifted characteristics 
  • typical myths and misconceptions of the high potential and gifted characteristics of your learner


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Literature Review 

Select one of the following approaches that aligns with one case study individual from assessment task 1:

  • Meeting the social and emotional needs of the learner
  • Curriculum differentiation
  • Twice exceptional learners
  • Cultural perspectives
  • Planning for successful acceleration 

Review the literature on evidence-based practice and research to reflect coherent and advanced knowledge of high potential and giftedness. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Enhancing Learning

Referring to research, investigate strategies to support your learners for a chosen curriculum area/s to meet individual needs.  Justify how the strategies support and challenges the learner, the possible benefits and issues that may arise.  Prepare a report to families elaborating on the strategies their child will be engaging in and exemplars of what it would look like in the classroom setting and how families can assist at home. Include in this report the likely benefits and possible issues.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Recommended references

Ballam, N., & Moltzen, R. (Eds). (2017). Giftedness and talent: Australasian perspectives (1st ed.). Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Davis, G., Rimm, S., & Siegle, D. (2018). Education of the gifted and talented (7th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education.

Harrison, C. (2006). Young gifted children – Their search for complexity and connection. Southern Highlands, NSW: Inscript Publishing.

Munro, J. (2017). Students who dare to learn differently: Then, now and in the future. Centre for Strategic Education: Seminar series paper.

Piechowski, M. (2010). “Mellow out,” they say. If I only could. Intensities and sensitivities of the young and bright. Madison, WI: Yunasa Books.

Porter, L. (2005). Gifted young children: A guide for teachers and parents (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Silverman, L. (2014). Giftedness 101. New York, NY: Springer.

VanTassel-Baska, J., & Little, C. (Eds.). (2011). Content-based curriculum for gifted learners. Waco, Tx: Prufrock Press.

Vialle, W. (Ed). (2011). Giftedness from an Indigenous perspective. Sydney, NSW: Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented.

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