Every year I feel disappointed with the moderation feedback from my set of internal assessments. In IB Economics, students create a portfolio of four commentaries, which are marked according to an established set of criteria. Each year I deliberate on the grade that I think each portfolio is worth. Usually the pieces of work are easy to grade, with only the top and lower candidates causing any grief and in-depth deliberation. As the sole Economics teacher, within our school, the moderation process is harder and you are therefore forced to think very carefully about the grades to give.
The the most recent examinations, I graded two candidates with excellent portfolios as scoring 19/20 and 18/20, both were downgraded after moderation to 16/20 My bottom grades 7/20 was pulled up to a 9/20. I might understand that I marked these two portfolios slightly too high. These candidates scored 48 and 49/60 for the Paper 3 Higher Level. On reflection, I still feel compelled to give high grades to portfolios similar to what these students produced. The marking process is subjective, but I feel that the work of my top students is comparable to any exemplars available.
The only comment for the downgrading of these two students was mentioned in the moderation report
Evaluation does remain a problem for a number of candidates. Centres should spend time explaining the nature of evaluation to their students
From this piece of generalisation it seems like a few centers struggle to articulate to students the type of evaluation that is required. Overtime I have read the assessment requirements very closely. There is a noticeable but important difference between the evaluation criteria for internal assessment and the external assessment. This ambiguity is very difficult to share with students. For the internal assessment criterion E (evaluation), one has to be careful about the nature of the evaluation expected.
It is not the ‘generic’ external examination, evaluation of long run/short run, stakeholders, etc. but rather the criteria requires you to evaluate the economic theories and concepts applied to the extract i.e. what are the strengths and weaknesses of the model/concept applied in Criterion D? This is an opportunity for the student to explore the assumptions that underpin the model, for example, and whether these assumptions hold in the face of the situation described in the article.
In my experience, the more precisely the student relates the model and its evaluation to the actual situation discussed in the extract (vs a generic discussion of the economic model in general) the more successful s/he is in criteria D and E. The article should not be used as an invitation to say everything one knows about the economic theory in general but rather through analysis and evaluation to explain how the situation is better understood through the lens of economics theory.
Examples to help Economics students…
The assumption of the model of produciton externalities is that… thinking in a TOK framework 🙂
- The costs of the externality are easy to measure and quantifiable. In reality the value of the spillover costs is only an estimate and therefore suggesting a value of a tax that fully internalises the externality is impossible.
- The strength of the model of externalities is that the social and private benefits are shown with seperate curves. This highlights the important assumption that social and private benefits are unique and the difference in benefits is represented as a market failure.
- The suggestion the negative advertising campaigns can reduce the demand for cigarettes is flawed. Advertising will have a variety of effects of individuals and the effectiveness of the campaign relies of good messages and appropriate targeting. Evidence in the article suggests that advertising will defiantly cause a decrease in demand, in reality this is unlikely.
Slightly different example
- There are four main central macroeconomic objectives which every government pursues. These are: ____ . . . The difficulty that governments face is that when they pursue one objective eg unemployment or increased growth, it is highly likely that other objectives will come into conflict. For example, when pursuing increased growth it is likely that the economy will experience increased inflationary pressure. . . (You can do this many times, with the different variables)
Some of these comments are borrowed from the forums within the Online Curriculum Center (OCC) for IB DP Economics from Peter Howe at the United World College of the Adriatic. Thanks!