How to interpret the new assessment criteria?

Teacher notes

The following is designed to help your students write their IA and should be given to your classes, along with the page entitled: How to write your IA? (student handout) 

How to interpret the assessment criteria?

The assessment criteria for the economics IA, can be accessed via the IB economics guide.

Criterion A: Diagrams

As with the previous IA requirements, this criterion only considers diagrams, with only three marks available. If only one diagram is drawn and there are no obvious other ones that should have been included, students can still get the full 3 marks.  To achieve three marks commentaries must include relevant, accurate and correctly labelled diagrams, with a full explanation.  Diagrams should illustrate how the theory relates to the article and should be dynamic (in other words, changes must be shown on them). 

Accurate generic diagrams such as AD/AS or simple supply and demand diagrams would normally score 2 - if correctly labelled.  Encourage your students to add a degree of complexity, such as the labelling of welfare loss to score in the top mark band.  If the article is about market failure within the market for tobacco, label each diagram appropriately i.e. price of cigarettes, quantity of cigarettes purchased (packs) e.t.c..

Commentaries where the diagram has no relevance to the article at all will score 0 marks and finally, charts copied from the article do not get any marks, as these are NOT diagrams!

Criterion B: Terminology

To score well in this criteria, it is NOT necessary for all terms used to be defined, but must be used accurately, showing correct understanding.  1 mark can be awarded if the terms are wrongly used but appropriate for the article.  The implication is that there must be a selective use of definitions and students need not define every economics term in the commentary.  Certain terminology such as demand, supply e.t.c. are considered general terms which do not need to be defined but must be used appropriately in the commentary.  If there is any relevant and important terminology missing from the commentary 1 mark would normally be awarded.

Criterion C: Application and analysis

Application and analysis are assessed together under the new programme. The skill is for the student not only to select appropriate economic concepts, but to apply these to their articles. Responses should not just describe the article and the economic theory; the two aspects need to come together, with the theory and concepts actually applied to the article. The IB guide suggests that the articles themselves should NOT contain too much economic theory as criteria C marks will be awarded to students who are able to recognise, and then explain, how economic theories could be applied to general news articles. As a general rule, if the student applies the correct theories for the article, BUT does not apply them suitably to the content of the article then 1 mark should be awarded. Analysis is the process of separating something into its constituent elements. Students should be able to use economic concepts as a basis for discussion or interpretation of the article selected, by matching specific theory to parts of that article.

Criterion D: Key concept (new syllabus)

This criteria is the new criteria added to the syllabus and is likely to have been a factor in the decision to add an additional 50 words to the word count.  This will allow students to write a paragraph explaining how the article relates to the key concept chosen.

Criterion E: Evaluation

This criterion assesses the ability to make judgments based on economic concepts and theories in the context of the real-world examples provided in their articles.  In other words judgements need to be supported with economic theory, not merely the student’s own opinions. The basis for the judgments must be based on the synthesis of the analysis and arguments made in the commentary; in other words the student is looking for combination of arguments and supporting economic concepts to justify conclusions and judgments.

The full IB criteria can be accessed at: MyIB

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