2021 Opportunity Class Test Delayed?
How long is it postponed for?
The 2021’s opportunity placement class has been closed indefinitely, with no specific official communication of when the class will resume. However, there are widespread speculations that it might be back in November, depending on how the Covid19 situation will unfold. More information for parents regarding the OC Test is scheduled to appear prior to Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
This follows the previous consecutive postponements of the opportunity class that saw students delay in partaking in the test, while some missed the class due to fear of the deadly virus. Since the initial outbreak of Covid19 in 2020, the OC has had multiple adjustments that left many of the students and their parents stressed and confused.
Parent and teacher views on the delay of the OC test.
Most parents of the gifted kids are in distress after the announcement concerning OC closure was made. Some primary principals tried to appeal for the reassessment of the decision to continue with the program, which to them was an equitable response to the problems brought by the pandemic. These were not at all taken into consideration.
On the other hand, Melinda Gindy, the President of Gifted NSW, which supports gifted students, welcomed the decision to postpone the test for the health and safety of the young, intelligent students. “Gifted students are not exempted from everyday challenges: illnesses, transport problems and other forms of misadventure,” she said to the reporters on Wednesday in Sydney.
What are Opportunity classes for?
The opportunity class placement is a program that consists of Year 5 and Year 6, specially formulated to render an opportunity for academically gifted students to learn together with other students. Their main objective is to provide an innovative and in-depth intellectual, educational environment for brilliant students.
Opportunity Classes were created to cater to the high-achieving students to help them further enhance their reading, mathematical reasoning, and critical thinking abilities. These academically reinforced classes pave a student’s pathway to get an opportunity in selected high schools.
What is the OC test?
The OC test was devised by the Australian Council of Education and Research (ACER), however at the beginning of the year in 2021 was allocated to Cambridge assessments. 2021’s OC Placement Test will change for placement in 2022, with the new test consisting of mathematical reasoning, thinking skills, and reading comprehension. On the other hand, the 2021 test will remain in its paper-based format, despite an online portal format being discussed. Besides the health interruptions imposed due to the pandemic, the exam is tackled annually in July, where Year 4 students get a position in the OC classes. The test is very competitive; hence, parents should always prepare their children early and thoroughly to not miss the entry mark.
There are over 12,000 applications made by students every year in an attempt to seek a position in the coveted opportunity class placements starting at the beginning of Year 5 through to the next school year. New South Wales has 76 public primary schools with opportunity classes for years 5 and 6.
Covid response for the 2021 OC test.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she would work together with the NSW Teachers Federation to set a date and announced Term 3 arrangements for schools while putting health measures in mind. Any adjustments to the planned OC Placement Test will be provided to parents prior to the commencement of Term 3 through the NSW Department of Education website and with a follow-up email confirming the changes. This is in response to the current lockdown and health-related measures put in place to slacken the spread of COVID-19.
In her statement, Premier Berejiklian explained that the school will close due to Sydney’s extended lockdown. Students will shift to remote learning to avoid crowding by students, and parents who drop and pick their kids from school learn from home for the beginning of term as the New South Wales government buys itself extra time to put the COVID-19 outbreak under complete control.
Berejiklian went ahead and advised the residents to take this lockdown as an opportunity to adhere to the covid-19 measures and make it a final lockdown that will see a significant drop in infections, at least until the vast preponderance of the citizens are vaccinated.
According to available information, only 4% of Sydney’s total population is vaccinated.
Sydney’s first lockdown commenced on June 26 amid the intense outbreak of the dangerously transmissible Delta variant. Stay-at-home orders, which were to end on Friday continued, and are said to go on until July 16. According to Berejiklian, the new variant, Delta strain, is tough, more contagious, and highly transmissible than the previous forms of the virus.
As per the health records from NWS sector, there have been 395 reported cases of locally acquired infections of the virus since the latest outbreak commenced on June 16. The new variant has proved to be more powerful than its previous counterparts.
Almost half of Australia’s population, of more than 12 million people, is currently under stay-at-home lockdown orders in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin, Gold Coast, and Townsville. Health authorities are afraid that the virus may spread into the nearby already vulnerable Aboriginal communities. On Wednesday, state leaders across the nation said they were facing a “pressure cooker situation” as the new cases emerged rapidly.
The NSW Department of Education, in a recent press, said that taking the step to further postpone the OC test will lead to an increased effect caused by the disrupted start of the school year. The department added that this could compromise school assessment scores and the placement of students using the same test done under the same conditions.
Ms. Brennan pointed out that parents and principals need to be given the opportunity to air out their input to the selection process if an incidence arises, where that process mistakenly excludes a student whom the OC was actually designed.
Primary Principals Association deputy President Robyn Evans tagged the opportunity class test delay as a success story of the deadly COVID-19. The rigorous school assessment process was disrupted by the remote learning period in the years 2020 and 2021.
Cathy Brennan, NSW Education’s Acting Deputy Secretary School Performance, recently said to the press that the OC test will from now on take place at the student’s own schools, unlike before where students went to examination centers. This will ensure a minimal spread of the Delta Virus.
Ms. Brennan acknowledged the challenges faced by students during this pandemic. She concluded that their safety was paramount and that everyone must strictly follow the updated health guidelines to curb the spread of the Delta Virus. This happened after New South Wales’ Primer Gladys announced the extension of lockdown for a week.
She on Tuesday urged that she wanted this particular lockdown to be NSW’s last but successful attempt in curbing the health crisis. The cabinet meeting later concluded that the lockdown should be extended until July 16, with little to no movement of people from their households.
Primer Gladys urged NSW to adhere to the set Covid19 measures until there is enough vaccine for everyone. In her statement, she said, “Lockdowns, when complied with, work. Victoria has beaten back Covid19 through lockdowns and come out the other side stronger and safer. Sydney can and must do the same. In the most, strongest possible terms, please avoid contact with households with other households, and please avoid visiting family and friends.
She said the main reason for the extension of the lockdown was because there were still a significant number of infectious people with Delta variants in the community. The variant that originated from a limousine driver in Bondi Beach who drove an international airline crew has become the worst outbreak the city has ever seen this year.
Officials who had earlier persistently resisted the idea of a complete lockdown later came to an agreement that the stay-at-home orders were essential since they had found various new additional chains of the transmission around the area among people who had been infectious for days. It was a necessity and the most effective regulation to put across in order to manage the spread of the disease.
Gladys Berejiklian said the virus was moving too fast through the population over the past 10 days. “Unless one stays a step ahead of this virus, it can easily get out of control,” said Ms. Berejiklian at a news conference on Saturday. “We don’t want to impose burdens unless we absolutely have to,” she added.
As of Saturday at 6 p.m., people across the Sydney metropolitan were not allowed to leave their homes unless they worked out, seeking medical attention, taking care of their loved ones, buying food, or carrying out other essential activities. Strict stay-at-home orders will remain in place until July 16, while schools in Sydney will move to remote learning next week.
A healthy body, mind, and soul are the first requisite of success. Therefore, the closure of the opportunity placement class will be one of the single successful stories of Covid19. As Ms. Brennan said, students should not be sad that they missed an opportunity; instead, they should be grateful that they indeed escaped the deadly Delta Variant. We are all optimistic that the lockdown will pay off, and students will finally sit for the OC test.