Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Syllabus Switching in GCE Economics and Business Studies

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Syllabus Switching in GCE Economics and Business Studies

Article excerpt

Syllabus Switching in GCE Economics and Business Studies, Steve Hurd, Gwen Coates and Alain Anderton, Staffordshire University, 1998, paperback, 93 pages, 15 (10 per copy for 5 or more), may be obtained from Mrs. Anne Smith, Economics division, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF. Tel: 01782 294077 ISBN: 1-897898-42-8.

"Syllabus Switching in GCE Economics and Business" is a thoroughly researched, wellwritten and well-presented report. It should be of great interest to any teacher of either discipline who is considering a change in syllabus. It should also be of interest to any reader who wishes to track the rise and fall of economics and the continuing popularity of business studies. Additionally, the report includes a fascinating analysis of the examinations "quasi-market". It is a pity that an examination of GNVQ business was not included for this would have enhanced the analysis.

The report outlines the changes in the distribution of student entries for A-level economics and business studies, by gender and syllabus, since the early 1980s. It examines the factors influencing the place of economics and business studies in the curriculum, the competitive forces that have shaped the UK examinations system and reasons why teachers have changed from one syllabus to another. It highlights how the economics and business studies market has changed in the last decade, with business studies overtaking economics and with centres changing syllabuses and boards with increasing regularity. Clearly the two subjects are seen as good substitutes for each other and there is a perception amongst teachers that economics is much harder and more theoretical. Business studies is seen as easier to pass and more relevant to the lives of students. Economics, perceived as being too abstract, was a loser to the more applied business studies.

Coursework, which provides students with opportunities to develop research and reportwriting skills, has become increasingly popular as have modular courses that seem to be a good motivator to students. …

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