GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 1
GCE AS and A Level Economics Teachers’ Guide
1. Introduction 3
2. Overview of Specification 4
3. Changes to Content 7
4. Scheme of Work 9
4.1 Scheme of Work (A) 10
4.2 Scheme of Work (B) 42
5. Key Examination Command Words 55
6. Resources 57
7 Acknowledgements 63
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 3
The WJEC AS and A2 Economics specification has been modified and updated for
delivery from September 2008. First examinations at AS level will take place in June
2009 and the first A2 assessments will take place in June 2010. The specification
can be delivered and assessed in centres throughout the UK.
The revised subject criteria for GCE Economics issued by the regulators have
necessitated a change in the course structure from the current 3 plus 3 units to a 2
plus 2 structure.
It is the intention of this Guide to be but one of several in which the WJEC provides
assistance to teachers delivering the specification sitting alongside: the Specimen
Papers and INSET conferences.
WJEC provides the following as part of its support for all GCE specifications:
; Examiners‟ reports on each examinations series
; Free access to past question papers via the WJEC secure website
; Easy access to the specification and other key documents on the main website
; Regular INSET delivered by Chief Examiners
; Easy access to both the Subject Officer and to administrative sections
Contact Points for GCE Economics:
Ivor Hicks email@example.com 029 2026 5038
Robert Harding firstname.lastname@example.org 029 2026 2097
(Administrative Support Officer)
INSET Section email@example.com
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 4
OVERVIEW OF SPECIFICATION 2
This AS specification has two content units Markets and Society and Macroeconomic Theory and Policy.
The Markets and Society unit deals with introductory topics such as scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, production possibility frontiers and specialisation. However, its main focus is on how markets work, why they fail and the ways in which market failure can be corrected.
Macroeconomic Theory and Policy is an introduction to macroeconomics dealing with aggregate demand and aggregate supply analysis, monetary and fiscal policy including supply side policies. International trade in this unit covers the benefits of trade, protectionism and exchange rates.
As with the present specification the assessment papers are not content specific. EC1 will be a short-answer paper of 1 hour in duration. The short-answer paper will include definitions, calculations, adapting or drawing diagrams, use of data, etc. The paper will be marked out of 50 raw marks (80 UMS) and all the assessment objectives will be tested in this unit.
The EC2 will be a 2 hour paper. Section A will have a compulsory data response question marked out of 40, and Sections B and C will require the candidates to answer two essays. In Section B candidates will be required to answer one broadly microeconomic essay (drawn from content unit 1) and in Section C candidates will be required to answer one broadly macroeconomic essay (drawn from content unit 2). These essays will have a banner and a part (a) and part (b). Part (a) will test knowledge and understanding and be marked out of 8 and part (b) will test evaluative skills and be marked out of 12. Section B, the essays, will thus be marked out of 40 (20 marks for each essay) with the whole paper marked out of 80 raw marks (120 UMS). EC2 will test all the assessment objectives. In EC2 candidates can choose how they divide their time between Sections A and B and also in which order they attempt the paper. Candidates should ideally divide their time approximately equally between the two sections.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 5
The new A2 specification also comprises two content units: Competition and Competitive Behaviour and Macroeconomic Issues and the Global Economy.
The Competition and Competitive Behaviour unit looks at how firms do (and don‟t) compete. The basics involve a look at firms‟ objectives, differences between the various market structures (Perfect Competition, Monopolistic Competition, Oligopoly and Monopoly) and an analysis of how UK and EU firms are regulated.
The Macroeconomic Issues and Global Economy unit looks in depth at both domestic and international economic issues. Domestically there is a close look at unemployment, inflation and economic growth, whilst internationally, the theme is trade, development and globalisation.
There are two assessment papers, EC3 and EC4, both of which are synoptic.
EC3 is a combined short-answer and essay paper of 1? hours. The short answers will test the entire A2 specification and will be looking to ensure that candidates have a sound grounding in the basics of the subject. The short-answer questions account for 40 of the 60 marks on the paper. Candidates will answer one essay from a choice of three and it will be worth 20 out of the 60 marks. The essays will be drawn mainly from the Competition and Competitive Behaviour content unit.
EC4 also has two sections, a data response question and an essay. There will be two data response questions and candidates will be required to answer one. The data questions may be drawn from anywhere within the specification content though one will be drawn primarily from Competition and Competitive Behaviour and one from Macroeconomic Issues and Global Economy. This section will be worth a total of 40 out of 60 marks. Candidates will answer one essay from a choice of three and it will be worth 20 out of the 60 marks. The essays will be drawn mainly from the Macroeconomic Issues and Global Economy content unit.
The two papers will carry equal weighting and will carry 100 UMS marks.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 6
SUMMARY OF ASSESSMENT
This specification has four external assessment units.
Marks are given as raw and uniform marks (UMS).
Weightings noted below are expressed in terms of the full A level qualification.
AS (2 units)
EC1 20% 1 hour Written Paper 50 marks
Compulsory short-answer questions to assess all of the AS
EC2 30% 2 hours Written Paper 80 marks
One compulsory data response question (40 marks) and two, two-part essays (20 marks each) to assess all of the AS
content. One of the essays from a choice of three will assess essentially microeconomics and one essay from a choice of three will assess essentially macroeconomics.
A level (the above plus a further two Units)
EC3 25% 1 hour and 45 minutes Written Paper
60 marks (100 UMS)
Compulsory short-answer questions (40 marks) and one
synoptic essay (20 marks) from a choice of three to assess all
of the A level content.
EC4 25% 2 hours Written Paper 60 marks
One data response question from a choice of two (40 marks) and one synoptic essay (20 marks) from a choice of three to
assess all of the A level content.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 7
CHANGES TO CONTENT 3
This section was originally written to assist centres in the transition from the previous specification to this one. However, it has been decided that centres may still find this information on content useful.
Unit 1: Markets and Society.
An understanding of what may cause skewed shifts in the production possibility frontier is required along with why a frontier may shift inwards.
A requirement from the regulatory authorities Economics‟ subject criteria is an
understanding of the objectives of economic agents such as consumers, workers and firms. The maximisation of satisfaction, earnings and profits could be tied into demand and supply analysis of product and labour markets. Candidates need to know why a demand curve slopes down to the right and a basic understanding of the substitution and income effect would be useful. The slope of the supply curve can be tied to an understanding of diminishing returns and rising marginal costs. However, a detailed understanding of costs is not required at AS level.
Candidates need to have a basic understanding of efficiency and centres could simply show this via a competitive market in equilibrium with the consumer surplus plus the producer surplus maximised (the maximum community surplus). Efficiency is dealt with much more thoroughly in the A2 course. Information failure via asymmetries and gaps in information is now required as an example of market failure as is an absence of property rights. The use of pollution permits as a means of correcting market failure is also now included. Candidates should understand the meaning of government failure and be able to apply this through examples from the real world.
Unit 2: Macroeconomic Theory and Policy.
Credit creation by the commercial banks is no longer in the specification although candidates should be aware of the importance of controlling the money supply as part of monetary policy. An understanding of the meaning of a symmetrical inflation target is required and applied to the decisions of the MPC of the Bank of England. A basic understanding of positive and negative output gaps and how they may affect policy is required. Aggregate demand and aggregate supply analysis should focus at AS level on use of the Keynesian upward sloping aggregate supply curve.
The content of the new AS specification is similar to that of the old one with the major additions in the market failure section as required by the regulatory authorities subject criteria. However, much of what has been added is likely to be taught already by many centres.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 8
Unit 3: Competition and Competitive behaviour
The only significant change is that an understanding of the discontinuous MR curve has been added to the kinked demand curve section of oligopoly. Some examples of the benefits of monopoly have been added as guidance.
Unit 4: Macroeconomic Issues and the Global Economy
There are a greater number of changes here, but most of them are not that significant.
An understanding of sustainable economic growth and the differences in growth policy over the last 20 years has been added, while the need to know about why UK rates have differed from major international competitors has been removed.
Specific knowledge of RPIx, RPI and the CPI has been added to the section on inflation, whilst a general understanding of underlying and headline inflation has been removed.
Within the theory of trade, a requirement to illustrate comparative and absolute advantage both graphically and numerically has been added, as has a requirement to show an understanding of the impact of globalisation on the UK economy. A requirement to show an understanding of the interdependence of economies has also been added.
Within the balance of payments, guidance has been added explaining that candidates will not be expected to understand in detail the financial and capital sections.
A requirement to show an understanding of the impact of EU enlargement with respect to the EU budget, labour market and competition has been added.
In development, the importance of looking at GDP/capita in terms of PPP has been added, as has a section on the impact of the trade policies of MEDCs on the growth of LEDCs.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 9
SCHEME OF WORK 4
There are two schemes of work. Scheme A has been devised by Mr Simon Harrison, Head of Economics at D‟Overbroek‟s College, Oxford. Scheme B has been devised by Mrs VAG (Glenys) Jones, Head of Business Education, at Bishop Hedley High School, Merthyr Tydfil. Both are very experienced practitioners and senior WJEC examiners.
Scheme of Work A
This is presented in a three column format.
The first column gives detailed commentary on what needs to be taught and suggestions as to how it might be taught. In addition there is an indication of the length of time that might be spent on each section. The author has on occasions also made suggestions regarding additional material that teachers might wish to engage their students with. He makes it clear that this is not essential for delivery of the specification though it may give greater understanding of the content or may fire additional interest is the topic area.
In column two there are references to chapters of the core textbook, Economics by Alain Anderton.
Column three identifies the content that is listed in the specification.
Scheme of Work B
This is presented in a four column format.
The first column identifies the key areas of each Unit as identified in the specification.
The second column identifies the key focus.
Column three sets out in detail the concepts and knowledge that have to be taught.
The fourth column gives an indication of the amount of time that the author would devote to each section of content.
This scheme of work was originally presented by the author in a seven column format with additional reference to Resources, Learning Styles and Assignments. These have been deleted since they were primarily related to the author‟s own teaching
resources, style of delivery and bank of assignments.
The WJEC acknowledges that whilst a scheme of work is an essential teaching aid it can be presented in many different styles and formats. Indeed a scheme of work is usually the creation of the practitioner and it is devised to meet a preferred teaching style, available resources and the nature of the students following the course. It is expected that teachers/lecturers will adapt and modify the scheme of work provided or they may choose to write it and present it in a totally different way. It is also recognised that the activities and the resources will need to evolve over time for a scheme of work is a living document that needs constant updating in this dynamic ever-changing subject.
GCE AS and A ECONOMICS Teachers' Guide 10
SCHEME OF WORK (A) 4.1
Scheme of Work - Guidance Notes Book ref Specification reference thAnderton 4 Ed. AS MICRO Scarcity and choice. Chapter 1 The basic economic problem
Scarcity, choice, opportunity cost ; 2 weeks Define and illustrate these concepts for both society and individuals. Introducing students to the idea that resources (land labour and capital) are scarce, but there are unlimited wants; all societies have to make choices – use of command The purpose is to show that all economies have to decide what, how and for versus free market systems to illustrate the way in which choices are made and the whom to produce. different outcomes that may result. An introduction to the price mechanism and the invisible hand as the way in which market based systems allocate resources, and look at some of the strengths Production possibility curves (automatic resource allocation, no waste, resources allocated to those most wanting them, (at least in theory) and weaknesses (especially inequalities). Use production possibility curves to depict choice, opportunity cost and economic growth. Move from this to show that scarcity can be illustrated graphically using PPFs, giving an explanation that they represent the limit to an economy‟s output at a given point in Candidates should be able to understand movements along and shifts in PPCs. time with existing resources at existing factor productivity. Relate PPFs back to the discussions of market systems, to show that the different Candidates will be expected to know why the PPC is drawn concave to the origin choices systems made can be represented two dimensionally (e.g. Capital vs. and why a straight line PPC is an indication of perfect factor substitutability/ consumer goods balance – Modern China vs. UK vs. USSR), and then show that homogeneous resources. over time, these changes may have implications for the position of PPFs – i.e. that they can shift. The treatment of economic growth should be elementary at this stage. e.g. A basic definition and knowledge of the factors which may shift the PPC to the right Use this as a link to economic growth (actual and potential), unemployment and or to the left. trade, and use this to discuss how short term decisions on resource utilisation may have longer term implications, again looking at China as a case study. Link to Relate economic growth to outward, or skewed shifts in an economy's production opportunity cost, as a concept and diagrammatically. possibility curve. Other reasons for shifts in PPFs – Pivots caused by improvements in productivity in one industry (IT/lean production in manufacturing, miracle rice/GM in Specialisation, division of labour and exchange: agriculture). Link to specialisation and division of labour, Understand the benefits of specialisation but link back to market systems – show how - candidates should understand the meaning of productivity and how it may be specialisation is vital for growth but that it also in itself increased by the use of specialisation and other factors. requires an efficient system of exchange. Inward shifts reflecting depletion of resources – bird flu,
Iraq, complete lack of investment – Sub-Saharan Africa?)