IB Economics IA Guide with Hack Your Course Tutoring Service in Canada and the USA

guide to writing and structuring an IB Economics internal assessment

For the New Syllabus Examinations 2022

The economics IA portfolio is internally moderated. Students must produce three commentaries based on news articles, each focusing on a different unit of the syllabus and one of the nine Key Concepts: scarcity, choice, efficiency, equity, economic well-being, sustainability, change, interdependence, and intervention.

How Long Should An Economics IA Article Be?

Students need to create a portfolio consisting of three commentaries, each not exceeding an 800-word limit. Moderators will only consider content within the 800-word limit for each commentary.

The word count excludes elements such as acknowledgments, table of contents, visual representations like diagrams, labels with no more than five words, diagram titles with up to ten words, statistical data tables, equations, formulas, calculations, in-text citations (which must be positioned within the commentary), and references (which, if utilized, should be in the form of footnotes or endnotes and fully referenced). It’s important to note that citations and definitions need to be incorporated within the commentary and will contribute to the word count.

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What are Rubric Requirements in Economics IA?

Each article must be based on a different unit of the syllabus.
Students must use a different source for each commentary.
Students need to look for articles relating to current events and these must be published no earlier than one year before writing the commentary.

What are 5 Strategies for Selecting an Effective Article for Your Economics IA?

  • Choose reputable news sources, avoiding opinion pieces and published economic papers. General news articles with accessible language make applying and analyzing economic theories in the commentary easier.
  • Opt for a shorter, focused article instead of a lengthy one. Long articles often cover multiple topics, making it challenging to concentrate on key concepts and apply relevant economic theories within the 800-word limit. A concise piece that targets a specific syllabus section and clearly connects with a key concept is ideal.
  • Look for articles that include quantitative data for analysis in the commentary. This data enhances the application and adds depth to the diagrams.
  • Use news aggregators to search for relevant topics. If a particular article is too broad or needs more focus, other articles might be present that cover the same real-world event in a more suitable manner.
  • Feel free to explore news from countries other than yours, especially for the macro section.
There’s an abundance of current events related to economics, and the more time spent searching for the right article, the easier it becomes to write the IA.

Meeting the Criteria: Navigating the IB Economics IA Rubric Requirements

See the syllabus for a breakdown of the descriptors for each criterion

CriterionCommentary SectionMarks
CApplication and analysis3
DKey Concept3
FTotal for each commentary14 Marks
Total for the portfolio (3 IAs)45

How to interpret the assessment criteria and get a full mark?

Criterion A: Diagrams (3 marks)

Each Economic IA requires a minimum of 2 self-constructed, titled diagrams with quantitative information tailored to match the IA’s specific focus. Include fully labeled diagrams and explain them in the commentary body, labeling and referencing intercepts and using the diagrams with your analysis. These diagrams should include as much quantitative data as possible. Be sure to acknowledge changes in revenue, expenditure, welfare loss, and social surplus (HL only) wherever possible.

Criterion B: Terminology (2 marks)

Use economic terminology throughout the IA, including key terms from the syllabus. Avoid vague terms for relative change or comparisons and be specific.

Criterion C: Application and Analysis

Be sure to use the correct and appropriate economic theory to refer to facts and ideas in the chosen article. Explain what is happening in economic terms and explain the outcomes for the market and associated stakeholders. Avoid writing generic commentaries that could apply to any article. Plan and identify the economic concepts to address before writing the IA, as part of the article selection process.

Students typically become familiar with the Analysis criterion through practice sessions in class; however, it can prove challenging in IA writing due to two main issues.

Over-analysis: Students often overanalyze an article by considering every detail, which can become unnecessary, such as when selecting too long of an essay with too much information or losing track while reading and analyzing an event or document. Ensure your analysis focuses on critical aspects, ultimately leading to your evaluation.

Lack of Conciseness. Many students believe that writing longer is better. This is not true – use only what words you need to effectively deliver your message, avoid literary or casual writing styles, and remove unnecessary words by asking, “Will It Make A Difference If I Remove This Word? If the answer is no, then remove said words altogether.

Analysis refers to your discussion on the effects of changes or problems identified in your introduction paragraph: providing an economic explanation for potential advantages and disadvantages related to your topic. Analysis should support rather than replace evaluation.

Criterion D: Key Concept
Identify one of the 9 key concepts in your opening paragraph as an underlying theme for your discussion. Ensure your statements support the key concept and reiterate its connection to the article. Include a statement in your evaluation in the context of the key concept.
Criterion E: Evaluation

Consider these for evaluating your article:

How accurately does economic theory apply? / Advantages and disadvantages of economic situation, decisions, and options / Merits and demerits to stakeholders, cost-benefit analysis / Conditional extent of government solution / Balanced presentation of both sides, alternative solutions, future forecasts / Assumptions, short-term and long-term consequences.  / Prioritized solutions or ethical considerations Evaluate with reasoning and evidence in your analysis, not just a concluding summary or opinion.

Evaluation does not mean a summary of the previous analysis. The evaluation should not be based solely on your opinion, but rather the effects and possible solutions to the problem. Your evaluation should be fair and based on evidence and reasoning.

Criterion F: Rubric Requirements
Ensure that each article is based on a different unit of the syllabus, is taken from a different and appropriate source and was published no earlier than one year before writing the commentary.


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