A Review of Textbooks for Teaching GCE Advanced Level Economics

Article excerpt

1 Economics, 3rd edition, Alain Anderton, Causeway Press, 2000, paperback, 762 pages, L19.95, ISBN 1 902796 10 1, tel: 01695 576048.

2 Economics, 3rd edition, Teachers' Guide, Alain Anderton, Causeway Press, 2000, paperback, 248 pages, 45.00, ISBN 1 902796 11 X.

3 Economics AS level, Alain Anderton, Causeway Press, 2000, paperback, 330 pages, L13.95, ISBN 1 902796 12 8.

4 Stanlakes's Introductory Economics, S J Grant, Longman, 2000, paperback, 646 pages, L13.99, ISBN 0 582 40548 3, tel: 01279 623623. www.longman.co.uk

5 Economics in Context, Susan Grant and Chris Vidler, Heinemann, 2000, paperback, 373 pages, L19.99 ISBN 0 435 33111 6, tel: 01865 888058 www.heinmann.co.uk

6 Principles of Economics, 2nd edition, N. Gregory Mankiw, Harcourt College Publishers, 2000, hardback, 837 pages, 25.95, ISBN 0-03-025951-7, tel: 407 345 3800. www.harcourtcollege.com

The relative decline in the number of sixth form students studying A level Economics has been well documented. A number of reasons have been put forward for the decline in popularity of Economics and the growth of Business Studies. Changes in the post 16 curriculum provide an opportunity for Economics to re-establish itself as a popular and dynamic sixth form subject. Early indications suggest that the introduction of the AS and A2 examinations have led to an increase in student numbers for Economics. Will the new text books designed to accompany this curriculum reform support the attempt to revitalise Economics at A level?

With the introduction of new courses several publishers have either significantly updated existing textbooks or commissioned new materials, which provide coverage of the new specifications. The Autumn 2000 edition of Teaching Business and Economics contained reviews of two AS/ A2 level textbooks, which have already been published. This review looks at three further contenders for the market for class texts and one book which is suitable for inclusion in the department library.

Many members of the EBEA will be familiar with the work of Alain Anderton. The third edition of Economics follows the pattern laid down in earlier editions. The book is split into units and each unit focuses upon a topic. According to the author within each unit there is:

* a summary

* coverage of economic theory

* diagrams with concise explanations

* immediate application of knowledge and skills through questions and activities

* application of theory to real world situations

* Key terms defining concepts first encountered in that unit

* A data response/data handling/report writing activity.

Those of you who have used this book in the past will not find any surprises in the latest edition. Material is covered in a comprehensive and logical manner. There is a great deal of emphasis on the application of theory to practice with relevant and appropriate questions for students. Where necessary units have been added or altered to reflect the new specifications. However, this is not a 'new' book and there are, of course many similarities with earlier editions. Even the cover will be familiar to previous users. This should not detract from the comprehensive coverage, which this book provides, and the support it provides to A level students of differing abilities. Students making the transition from their GCSE programmes will find this book reassuring.

In addition to the full A level version of Economics the author has also produced a separate book specifically for the AS level specifications. The AS text has similar material and follows the same pattern and structure of the full version. The third part of the Anderton package is the Teachers' Guide. This is an extremely useful book, which is designed to be photocopied, and, importantly for teachers, it provides answers to all the questions in the text books. There is a clear and detailed attempt to crossreference Key Skills to all the questions, which have been set, and an interesting web site index. …