Economics Subject guide, First Examinations 2013 ANATOLIA COLLEGE, IBDP

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1 Economics Subject guide, First Examinations 2013 ANATOLIA COLLEGE, IBDP Revised September

2 1. Nature of the subject Aims and assessment objectives Subject outline Prior learning Economics and the IB Learner Profile Economics and Core Components Course structure and planning Assessment Academic Honesty Appendix 1: Assessment Outline

3 1. Nature of the subject Economics is a dynamic social science, forming part of group 3 individuals and societies. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements. The IBDP Economics course emphasises microeconomic theories, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and specific markets, and macroeconomic theories, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic issues are applied to real world issues with a focus on the role of markets and of governments, environmental sustainability, fluctuations in economic activity, international trade and economic development. The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world. The IB programme emphasises the skills of graphical and written analysis, critical awareness and application of theories to real life examples. Many of the Higher Level extensions to the subject rely on quantitative methods to analyse economic theories. The Economics course at both Standard and Higher Level does not require any particular background or prior learning. (Adapted from the IBO Economics Guide, p.4) 2. Aims and assessment objectives The aims of the economics course at higher level and standard level are to enable students to: Achieve the aims of all group 3 subjects (see group 3 overview) Develop an understanding of microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and concepts and their real-world application Develop an appreciation of the impact on individuals and societies of economic interactions between nations Develop an awareness of development issues facing nations as they undergo the process of change. (IBO Economics Guide, 2010, p.6) The course objectives are also interpreted as assessment objectives and are referred to in the assessment section of this booklet. Having followed the Diploma Programme course in economics, students will be expected to: 1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the syllabus Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current economic issues and data 2. Demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understanding Apply economic concepts and theories to real-world situations 3

4 Identify and interpret economic data Demonstrate the extent to which economic information is used effectively in particular contexts 3. Demonstrate synthesis and evaluation Examine economic concepts and theories Use economic concepts and examples to construct and present an argument Discuss and evaluate economic information and theories 4. Select, use and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques Produce well-structured written material, using appropriate economic terminology, within specified time limits Use correctly labelled diagrams to help explain economic concepts and theories Select, interpret and analyse appropriate extracts from the news media Interpret appropriate data sets At HL only: Use quantitative techniques to identify, explain and analyse economic relationships (IBO Economics Guide, 2010, p. 7) All students (SL & HL) study a common syllabus and are required to develop specific skills and techniques, attributes and knowledge as described in the subject s assessment objectives. The HL course in Economics differs from the SL course in terms of: Recommended hours devoted to teaching (240 hours for HL, 150 hours for SL) Extra depth and breadth in material studied (HL extensions in some topics. Theory of the firm, an extensive topic in microeconomics is only studied by HL students) Development of quantitative skills to explain and analyse economic relationships (assessed at HL in paper 3) 3. Subject outline A. Content/concepts to be taught The course of economics focuses on four central, overarching themes/concepts: 1. The extent to which governments should intervene in the allocation of resources 2. The threat to sustainability as a result of the current patterns of resource allocation 3. The extent to which the goal of economic efficiency may conflict with the goal of equity 4. The distinction between economic growth and economic development These central themes are recurring and therefore visited or revisited continuously throughout the two years of studying the subject. The syllabus is divided in four sections: Section 1: Microeconomics This section examines the interaction of demand and supply in competitive markets, the role of prices in allocating resources and resulting efficiency. Several types of elasticity are discussed. The common syllabus also includes possible forms of government intervention in markets; causes and types of market failure and possible policy responses. 4

5 The first section of the syllabus contains a considerable higher level extension which comprises of the theory of costs, revenues and profits, as well as an in-depth consideration of firm behaviour in different market structures (e.g. perfect competition, monopoly) Section 2: Macroeconomics This section aims to provide students with the opportunity for a detailed examination of the major macroeconomic issues facing countries economic growth, economic development, unemployment, inflation and income distribution. The economic policies that governments may use to influence macroeconomic variables are introduced and evaluated. This section contains a few Higher Level extension sub-topics. Section 3: International Economics This section aims to develop an understanding of the benefits of trade and of possible restrictions imposed to protect domestic production. Students will learn how exchange rates are determined, why they may change and how such changes may influence macroeconomic variables. Strategies that governments may use to achieve a balance between exports and imports are also taught. A number of Higher Level extension topics in this section allow students to deepen their understanding of international economics issues. Section 4: Development Economics This last section of the syllabus aims to provide students with the opportunity to understand the meaning of economic development, problems faced by developing countries, and to develop an awareness of possible solutions to these problems. B. Skills to be developed The delivery of the economics course aims to develop in students the skills that are necessary in order to accomplish the overall aims both for the subject group and for the specific subject: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of economics theory and apply it in local or international context Communicate economic ideas and knowledge effectively and accurately, written and orally Analyze and evaluate the impact that economic policies may have on various stakeholders Develop critical thinking and synthetic skills by making reasoned decisions supported by appropriate economic theory or evidence C. Teaching methods within a real-life context Teaching aims to engage students in active participation and to promote independent inquiry for example by assigning small scale research projects, individual or group presentations, debates or collaborative assignments. In-class discussion, analysis of case studies, news articles, videos, interactive games and economic data will frequently be used to relate concepts taught to real life situations. Students will be strongly encouraged to apply critical thinking skills creatively and to express personal opinion supported by reasoned evidence. 5

6 4. Prior learning The Economics course requires no specific prior learning. No particular background in terms of specific subject studied for national or international qualifications is expected or required. The specific skills of the economics course are developed within the context of the course itself. The ability to understand and explain abstract concepts and the ability to write in a logically structured manner are distinct advantages in economics. Furthermore, exposure to economic articles of newspaper or internet sources would familiarize students with economic concepts. Finally, most of the quantitative concepts for HL students will build upon math concepts taught in high school (linear equations and graphical representations) Adapted from the IBO Economics Guide, 2010, p.4 5. Economics and the IB Learner Profile The delivery of the economics course aims to develop in students the skills that are necessary in order to achieve the abovementioned objectives and to accomplish the overall aims both for the subject group and for the specific subject. This process of teaching and learning will also aim to actively promote the development of the IB learner attributes: Inquirer: Students will be encouraged to develop independent study skills as well as research skills by finding, understanding and appropriately using a wide range of different source material. Part of assigned coursework will take the form of small scale research projects or class presentations and may require engagement in authentic research. Knowledgeable: Course delivery aims for students to acquire in-depth knowledge of the subject and to explore economic concepts, ideas and issues of local or global significance. A variety of textbooks and other written, visual or audio resources will be used and the programme will be supported by an electronic moodle course. Thinkers: Teaching will often aim to demonstrate how economic theory can be applied in a local or international context. Once students have developed a basic understanding of a particular topic, class work will shift towards applying that knowledge critically and creatively in real life situations. Several tools will be used in this direction, such as in-class discussion and analysis of case studies, economic articles or economic data; individual or group presentations requiring application of economic theory: students may be asked for example, to present the causes of change in the Euro/Dollar exchange rate. In addition, teaching will aim to develop critical thinking and synthetic skills by encouraging students to make reasoned decisions supported by appropriate economic theory or evidence. The effort to develop critical awareness starts early in the first year and is continuously reinforced by activities such as debates, self or peer assessment, economic commentaries on newspaper articles. Communicators: To be able to clearly and competently communicate ideas in a variety of communication modes while using economic concepts and terminology is yet another 6

7 competence IB economics students are asked to develop. Some class work will aim to enhance students ability to work effectively in collaboration with others and may include group presentations on specific topics or debates on controversial economic issues: for example a debate on the merit of government intervention in the market for healthcare. Principled: Students will be familiarized with issues related to academic honesty and will be expected to follow suitable academic practices, including respect for set deadlines, in-class behavior and respect for the views of others. The study of economics by nature involves reflection on ethical issues related to economic problems, policy or priorities. Open-minded: Throughout their economics course students will be asked to demonstrate an understanding that a particular issue may: create beneficial as well as adverse implications, affect specific groups of people in a different manner, or have different short and longer term effects. The economics course lends itself to numerous circumstances where students will be asked to maintain an open mind towards the perspectives of others and to seek or evaluate a range of alternative viewpoints. Caring: Throughout the economics course students will be asked to explore the impact that economic policies may have on various stakeholders or to consider issues of social justice. Risk-takers: Students will very often be asked to defend their beliefs on specific economic issues and to approach unfamiliar situations such as unforeseen economic articles with confidence and forethought. Reflective: An effort will be made, for example using self or peer assessment exercises to help students understand their own strengths and limitations and to inform future learning and personal development. Use of specific skills and techniques: Methods previously described will also be used to develop students specific skills and techniques: the correct use of labelled diagrams to help explain economic concepts and theories, the interpretation and analysis of extracts from the economics news media, for example in the form of economic commentaries. Students will also be encouraged to use appropriate economic terminology accurately and to present wellstructured written material based on economic theory and application. In addition, HL students will become familiar with the use of quantitative techniques in identifying, explaining and analysing economic relationships: for example plotting a demand curve from a linear function or calculating the total revenues, total costs and profit levels from a set of data. Graphic display calculators (GDCs) may assist students in some of the assigned exercises and their use is therefore recommended. 6. Economics and Core Components The study of Economics may support interested students in pursuing in-depth research of a topic with particular interest to them as part of their work towards completing an Extended Essay in the subject. Students should note that the material covered by the end of the first year are essentially micro-economic topics and that it is likely that their choice of topic for an Economics Extended Essay should be related to this section. Students may also explore other 7

8 sections of the course for their Extended Essay but should then be prepared to study independently. The study of Economics supports students CAS activities in fostering connections between what they learn in class and what they learn as part of their experience in CAS. Many of the global issues that students will address in CAS are closely related to economic problems such as immigration, sustainability, poverty enabling students to make corresponding connections between their study of Economics and their CAS experiences. The study of Economics support students in their TOK course by providing them with the theoretical framework of a social science, the methodology used by economists in relation to other subjects and the exploration of knowledge claims related to the subject. A range of topics, such as methodological issues, validity of sources and reliability of economic information, paradigm shifts or personal bias will be discussed. Where possible, an attempt will be made to approach a topic from different perspectives (e.g. mathematical economic). 7. Course structure and planning SL and HL students of economics are presented with a common syllabus, consisting of four sections, with a HL extension in some topics. Although there is no formal introductory section in the syllabus, students will be introduced to fundamental concepts such as scarcity, choice, opportunity cost and the nature of the subject as a social science. Section 1: Microeconomics 1.1 Competitive markets: demand and supply (some topics HL only) 1.2 Elasticity 1.3 Government intervention (some topics HL extension, plus one topic HL only) 1.4 Market failure (some topics HL only) 1.5 Theory of the firm and market structures (HL only) Section 2: Macroeconomics 2.1 The level of overall economic activity (one topic HL extension) 2.2 Aggregate demand and aggregate supply (one topic HL only) 2.3 Macroeconomic objectives (some topics HL extension, plus one topic HL only) 2.4 Fiscal policy 2.5 Monetary policy 2.6 Supply-side policies 8

9 Section 3: International economics 3.1 International trade (one topic HL extension, plus one topic HL only) 3.2 Exchange rates (some topics HL extension) 3.3 The balance of payments (one topic HL extension, plus some topics HL only) 3.4 Economic integration (one topic HL extension) 3.5 Terms of trade (HL only) Section 4: Development economics 4.1 Economic development 4.2 Measuring development 4.3 The role of domestic factors 4.4 The role of international trade (one topic HL extension) 4.5 The role of foreign direct investment (FDI) 4.6 The roles of foreign aid and multilateral development assistance 4.7 The role of international debt 4.8 The balance between markets and intervention Details on syllabus contents can be found in the IBO Economics Guide (p.16-73) that will be available to all economics students in their economics moodle course. Course Planning Throughout the two years, students cover section 1 and partly section 2 during the first IB year and the remaining of section 2,3 and 4 are taught during the second year. A final 2-week period is allocated for a review of the syllabus at the end of the second year. 1 st Semester IB1: Introduction, Markets, Elasticities, Government intervention 2 nd Semester IB1: Market failure, Theory of the firm (HL only), Level of overall economic activity, Aggregate Demand and Aggregate supply 1 st Semester IB2: Macroeconomic objectives and macroeconomic policies, International trade, exchange rates, economic integration 9

10 2 nd Semester IB2: Balance of payments, Terms of Trade, Development economics, 2-week revision Delivery of the economics course A variety of teaching methods are used in order to accommodate for students diverse learning needs. Lectures through power-point slides Use of a variety of textbooks and other written, visual or audio resources with support by an electronic moodle course In class analysis and discussion of economic articles Group presentations on economic topics or debates on controversial economic issues Small scale research projects allowing for the development of research skills Peer or self assessment exercises to identify weak or strong attributes of the students Economics and the international dimension The economics course embodies global and international awareness in several distinct ways. Two of the four sections of the course are devoted to specific areas of economics that contribute to international awareness and understanding section 3: international economics, and section 4: development economics. In addition, earlier topics in the course explore the ways in which different countries deal with common economic issues such as government intervention, market failure, sustainability, and achieving macroeconomic objectives. Inherent in the syllabus is a consideration of different perspectives, economic circumstances, and social and cultural diversity. Economics seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues, as well as to raise students awareness of their own responsibility at a local and national level. Economics also aims to develop values and attitudes that will help students reach a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interconnected world. (Adapted from the IBO Economics Guide, p.5) Assessment components Section 8 of this document outlines regular in-school assessment processes. The student s final IBDP mark for economics is determined by the students performance in internally and externally assessed components. Appendix 1 provides an outline of assessment components while assessment details may be seen in the IBO Economics guide available to students through a moodle course. All students are expected to prepare a portfolio of 3 Economics commentaries of newspaper articles chosen by the student. These are internally assessed and externally moderated and weigh 20% towards the final IB Diploma grade for both SL and HL students. Both SL and HL students are externally examined on two written Papers. Paper 1 is an extended response paper based on syllabus sections 1 and 2 while Paper 2 is a dataresponse paper based on syllabus sections 3 and 4. Each paper weighs 30% towards the final IB Diploma grade for HL students and 40% for SL students. Higher Level students are in addition examined on Paper 3, an HL extension paper based on all syllabus sections. 10

11 Students in Economics will be expected to: Thoroughly study the material taught during the previous class using appropriate resources such as the course textbooks, class notes and other relevant material. Participate effectively in class activities and discussions Complete one written assigned coursework on a weekly basis on average Sit two revision tests on average and several quizzes on a term basis 8. Assessment The school s assessment policy provides details on overall assessment philosophy and practice. This section outlines assessment details related to the subject and compatible with the overall school policy. In-school assessment Students are continuously assessed during the school year. Assessment components that determine a student s term marks usually include: Performance on tests and quizzes. (Usually 2 per term). Most tests will be pre-warned and cover a wide predefined range of material but the use of unwarned quizzes may also be employed. Tests are largely based on IB past paper questions and are marked according to the corresponding criteria (see assessment details) Performance on assigned oral or written coursework such as practice quantitative exercises, past paper questions, presentations, debates, etc. (Usually one piece per week). Class participation Diligence regarding due completion of assigned homework Students are marked using the IBDP 1-7 scale. The term grade awarded to students will be a reflection of the student's performance relative to all of the above elements. The term grade will reflect the student s overall level of achievement in relation to the specified learning outcomes according to the teacher s professional judgement, based on the overview of assessment information on each student. All economics examinations are simulations of the final IB exam in that all questions are from past papers and in that all papers are represented. The length of the exam increases as students progress through the IBDP (from approx. 2.5 hours in the IB1 mid-term exam to 4 hours in the IB2 mid-term exam). The mid-term exam in the second year exactly models the final IB exam in terms of length, number of questions to be answered, choice, etc. Student papers in all 3 internal examination sessions are marked by the class teacher and the corresponding grades have an increased weighting towards the final year grade in accordance to the school s internal regulations. A sample of examination scripts will be cross-marked between Economics teachers to ensure consistency of marking, in accordance to the school s assessment policy. The first year average grade largely determines the predicted grade which is reported by the school in students applications to universities (see general regulations) Final IBDP grade in Economics The final IB Diploma grade in Economics is derived from the student s performance in externally and internally assessed tasks, as outlined in section 7 and in detail in Appendix 2. 11

12 Grade Descriptors Achievement levels in any Group 3 subject are described in the corresponding IBO document as follows: Grade 7 Demonstrates conceptual awareness, insight, and knowledge and understanding which are evident in the skills of critical thinking; a high level of ability to provide answers which are fully developed, structured in a logical and coherent manner and illustrated with appropriate examples; a precise use of terminology which is specific to the subject; familiarity with the literature of the subject; the ability to analyse and evaluate evidence and to synthesize knowledge and concepts; awareness of alternative points of view and subjective and ideological biases, and the ability to come to reasonable, albeit tentative, conclusions; consistent evidence of critical reflective thinking; a high level of proficiency in analysing and evaluating data or problem solving. Grade 6 Demonstrates detailed knowledge and understanding; answers which are coherent, logically structured and well developed; consistent use of appropriate terminology; an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize knowledge and concepts; knowledge of relevant research, theories and issues, and awareness of different perspectives and contexts from which these have been developed; consistent evidence of critical thinking; an ability to analyse and evaluate data or to solve problems competently. Grade 5 Demonstrates a sound knowledge and understanding of the subject using subject-specific terminology; answers which are logically structured and coherent but not fully developed; an ability to provide competent answers with some attempt to integrate knowledge and concepts; a tendency to be more descriptive than evaluative although some ability is demonstrated to present and develop contrasting points of view; some evidence of critical thinking; an ability to analyse and evaluate data or to solve problems. Grade 4 Demonstrates a secure knowledge and understanding of the subject going beyond the mere citing of isolated, fragmentary, irrelevant or common sense points; some ability to structure answers but with insufficient clarity and possibly some repetition; an ability to express knowledge and understanding in terminology specific to the subject; some understanding of the way facts or ideas may be related and embodied in principles and concepts; some ability to develop ideas and substantiate assertions; use of knowledge and understanding which is more descriptive than analytical; some ability to compensate for gaps in knowledge and understanding through rudimentary application or evaluation of that knowledge; an ability to interpret data or to solve problems and some ability to engage in analysis and evaluation. Grade 3 Demonstrates some knowledge and understanding of the subject; a basic sense of structure that is not sustained throughout the answers; a basic use of terminology appropriate to the subject; some ability to establish links between facts or ideas; some ability to comprehend data or to solve problems. 12

13 Grade 2 Demonstrates a limited knowledge and understanding of the subject; some sense of structure in the answers; a limited use of terminology appropriate to the subject; a limited ability to establish links between facts or ideas; a basic ability to comprehend data or to solve problems. Grade 1 Demonstrates very limited knowledge and understanding of the subject; almost no organizational structure in the answers; inappropriate or inadequate use of terminology; a limited ability to comprehend data or to solve problems. (Grade Descriptors, IBO, p.10-11) 9. Academic Honesty The practice of academic honesty is consistently promoted throughout the study of economics. Students will be expected to act in accordance to the school-wide academic honesty policy and will be supported in their effort by frequent reinforcement of corresponding principles and practices. In all of their required coursework, whether informal and used for school purposes or formal IBO assessment tasks such as the Economic commentaries, students will be guided and encouraged to use acceptable academic referencing systems. Any infringements or cases of academic misconduct will be reported according to guidelines outlined in the school s Academic honesty Policy. 13

14 Appendix 1: Assessment Outline HIGHER LEVEL ASSESSMENT OUTLINE External assessment (80%weighting) Written papers: 4 hours Paper 1: 1 hour and 30 minutes (30% weighting) An extended response paper (50 marks) based on sections 1 & 2 of the syllabus. Each question is subdivided into two parts, (a) and (b). Students answer two questions in total, one from section A and one from section B. Assessment objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 Section A Syllabus content: section 1 microeconomics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (25 marks) Section B Syllabus content: section 2 macroeconomics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (25 marks) Paper 2: 1 hour and 30 minutes (30% weighting) A data response paper (40 marks) based on sections 3 & 4 of the syllabus. Each question is subdivided into four parts, (a), (b), (c) and (d). Students answer two questions in total, one from section A and one from section B. Assessment objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 Section A Syllabus content: section 3 international economics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (20 marks) Section B Syllabus content: section 4 development economics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (20 marks) 14

15 Paper 3: 1 hour (20% weighting) HL extension paper (50 marks) based on all four sections of the syllabus, including HL extension material. Students answer two questions from a choice of three. (25 marks per question) Assessment objectives 1, 2 and 4 Internal assessment (20% weighting) This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course. Students produce a portfolio of three commentaries, based on three different sections of the syllabus and on published extracts from the news media. Maximum length is 750 words for a total maximum portfolio mark of 45. STANDARD LEVEL ASSESSMENT OUTLINE External assessment (80%weighting) Written papers 3 hours Paper 1: 1 hour and 30 minutes (40% weighting) An extended response paper (50 marks) based on sections 1 & 2 of the syllabus. Each question is subdivided into two parts, (a) and (b). Students answer two questions in total, one from section A and one from section B. Assessment objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 Section A Syllabus content: section 1 microeconomics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (25 marks) Section B Syllabus content: section 2 macroeconomics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (25 marks) Paper 2: 1 hour and 30 minutes (40% weighting) A data response paper (40 marks) based on sections 3 & 4 of the syllabus. 15

16 Each question is subdivided into four parts, (a), (b), (c) and (d). Students answer two questions in total, one from section A and one from section B. Assessment objectives 1, 2, 3, 4 Section A Syllabus content: section 3 international economics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (20 marks) Section B Syllabus content: section 4 development economics Students answer one question from a choice of two. (20 marks) Internal assessment (20% weighting) This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course. Students produce a portfolio of three commentaries, based on different sections of the syllabus and on published extracts from the news media. Maximum length is 750 words for a total maximum portfolio mark of 45. (copy assessment details from the IBO guide) Pictures you could use for the IBLP section: 16

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