Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

New GCSE Economics Courses

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

New GCSE Economics Courses

Article excerpt


The regulators' decision to have completely separate subject criteria for economics and business studies was welcomed by CCEA. It provided the opportunity for economics courses to be developed that:

* are clearly distinct from business studies

* safeguard the conceptual integrity of the discipline of economics

* reflect the views and preferences of the subject community.

In designing its GCSE Economics course, CCEA was careful to ensure that the specification built on the broad objectives of the revised Northern Ireland curriculum but that it was also relevant to key curriculum concerns in England and Wales such as financial capability.

The revised Northern Ireland curriculum the economic dimension of education. The curriculum's emphasis on local and global citizenship recognises the need for students to address the issues of resource allocation that are central to the study of economics.

The CCEA revised specification focuses on getting students to critically examine and reflect upon a range of relevant issues, for example:

* what is the real cost of alcohol and tobacco consumption

* what causes house, food and fuel prices to rise and fall

* are large inequalities in income and wealth justified

* how can young people make informed financial decisions

* what should be the most important economic policy priorities for government

* what are the costs and benefits of globalisation?


The emphasis on the exploration of real world economic issues, which often spread themselves across different aspects of economic content, is behind CCE As decision to retain a linear format for its specification and not to follow the route of unitisation adopted by other awarding bodies, The recent credit crunch and consequent economic recession is a prime example. It is only possible to understand this problem and its possible solutions with some knowledge of the working and regulation of the financial system, the global economic interdependence of different countries and the operation of government macroeconomic policy.

The linear format provides teachers with the maximum flexibility in organising their students' learning experiences and allows them to make connections between different areas of content. At the same time, it enables examiners to set questions that make more use of real world data that is not artificially contrived to fit into the narrower confines of a unitised structure.

In consulting with economics teachers, CCEA found overwhelming support for the retention of the linear format. Teachers favoured the greater control it afforded them over the organisation of content and also preferred to leave formal assessment to the end of the course. This allows students to demonstrate greater maturity in their examination responses and enables teachers and students to devote their full attention during the course to teaching and learning without having it interrupted by staged assessments.

The CCEA specification is intended to provide students with a toolkit of economic concepts and techniques that will allow them to explore topical economic issues and also provide a sound foundation for progression to AS level and beyond. This is reflected in the assessment structure summarised in the table below.


The scheme of assessment involves two papers which incorporate a variety of assessment tasks. This is designed to cater for the range of abilities encountered within a single tier of entry. The aim is to provide all students with a meaningful and stimulating assessment experience that differentiates by outcome while providing sufficient challenge to the most able. To this end, Paper 1 comprises a structured report-writing exercise based on a pre-released case study, while Paper 2 involves a number of short answer and data response questions, together with a choice of essays. …

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