A disproportionately large number of enrolments in selective schools come from students whose family come from overseas. The reasons for this are uncertain. It may be partially because established Australian families are more likely to send children to private schools, reducing the competition for selective placement. But there may be other reasons.
Children whose families speak a foreign language at home are regularity given extra English lessons at primary school, even if their English is already satisfactory or above average. This extra tuition may give them an edge. All written exams depend on language skills. No matter what the topic a student must be able to write proficiently in order to do well on an exam. The foreign student with extra English coaching probably performs near their potential on any written exam, hence their ability to do well on selective tests.
It also seems that learning a second language is beneficial for intelligence. There are a small number of activities that seem to increase an individual’s IQ score; learning a second language and become proficient on a musical instrument are two of these activities. The benefits to intelligence seem legitimate, but the amount of effort requires for language and music proficiency is considerable. Nonetheless, individuals required to learn a second language by their circumstances will have an edge over the average person. This may account for the larger number of dual language students in selective schools.
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