Having just read the latest IB Subject Reports for economics whilst simultaneously receiving the next round of IA drafts from the IB2s, I took the opportunity to illustrate how easy it is, in fact, to get a reasonable grade on an economics IA script. It really isn’t rocket surgery but a matter of knowing basic economics, reading the IA requirements and spending an hour or so finding an appropriate article.


The basic requirements have been outlined here earlier, and the IB Subject Report will be commented on in the next posting. Here I shall tell you about a bet I made in class with my IB2s in the lesson prior to handing back their IA drafts with comments.

My students were sitting there looking suitable Halloween-ish – that is to say, pale and scared in receiving back my blood-red inked commentaries on their IA work. I decided to make something of a statement, right there in class; “Do you think it’s possible to put together an IA script that would get a passing grade 4?” Somber shakes of heads. “I’ll bet you a bag of Candy Corn it’s possible!” Nods and smiles – especially from Phoebe, who well knows my weakness for this American treat.


Every nutrient a growing IB student needs.

“So, I win the bag of lollies [Australian slang for ‘sweets’] if you give me seven marks or more for an IA I put together right here in front of you in the next 40 minutes?” With smiles like racoons eating fish guts out of wire brushes, they agreed. I then put up this document on the overhead screen together with the IA template I use.

We started the clock, and while they went to work correcting their own IAs, I went to http://www.independent.co.uk and entered the following search string: ‘unemployment + inflation + interest’ and picked, on the basis of the heading, the following article. I then quickly highlighted the portions of the article I would analyse, hurriedly wrote a few sentences with diagrams linked to both text and economic theory and, after 30 minutes, went through a step-by-step on the overhead projector in front of the kids:

Step 1: Cut out the IA template, fill in name, paste in the article with highlighted areas, make sure you have the headings. You get this: IA wager – step 1.

Step 2: Write your commentary and include diagrams. IA wager – step 2

I then put the result in the school’s IB folder and gave them 10 minutes to grade it according to the A – E criteria and my own words above. Here’s what they gave me:

Criterion A: 2 marks

Criterion B: 2 marks

Criterion C: 1 mark

Criterion D: 2 marks

Criterion E: 2 marks

Seems I passed. 9 marks yields an IB grade 5/6.Perhaps we were overly generous but even at minimum marks of around 7 this analysis would pass muster. The point being made is: know your economics and be neat and clear when you write! It really is NOT that difficult to get minimum required marks – and as long as you manage to include some form of evaluation you will easily move up beyond a mere ‘passing grade’.

End game: I came down and found a bag of Candy Corn on my desk. A small bag…but OK, proportional to Phoebe’s size.