IAL Economics: assessment support

Thu Mar 03 17:33:00 UTC 2022

IAL Economics: assessment support

The purpose of this page is to help you understand the assessment of IAL Economics.

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There is a sister page to help you in the delivery of this qualification.

Past question papers, mark schemes and examiners' reports are available on the qualification page.

These are kept locked for the first 9 months after an examination series and you will require an Edexcel Online username and password to be able to gain access.

Feedback on the 2019 summer exam series (papers 1 and 2) is available in a pre-recorded training session.

Specimen papers and mark schemes are also available for all 4 units.


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Our examWizard tool is an online resource containing a huge bank of past paper questions and support materials to help you create your own mock exams and assessments. It is available for a range of GCSE, International GCSE, A level subjects, BTEC and Functional Skills.

These exemplar answers from the May 2019 Unit 1 and 2 papers show how examiners have applied the mark scheme to candidate responses:

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ResultsPlus is an online results analysis tool that gives you a detailed breakdown of your students’ performance in Pearson Edexcel exams.

ResultsPlus provides detailed analysis of your learners' performance and will help you to identify potential topics, skills and types of questions where students may need to develop their learning further. Whilst there hasn’t been a typical examination series for a while, you may find it helpful to understand how your students’ performance compares with class and Pearson Edexcel national averages and to gather some insight data that may support effective teaching and learning approaches. Find out more about ResultsPlus.

Many centres will be focused on delivering mock exams this term and using those mock exam results to inform intervention and revision. The ResultsPlus Mock analysis service can help you get the most from that data.  

Examiners' reports

Examiners' reports are a useful way of understanding the standard that has been applied. You can see exemplar student answers to each question with examiner comments and tips. Combining a reading of the examiners' reports with the mark schemes can provide useful insights.

There are extracts from the examiners' reports as they relate to the different command verbs below:

2 Knowledge (AO1) marks

The two mark define questions require a definition only. The marks available are both for knowledge so there is not a requirement to use examples from the context.

There are no application marks so any attempt to apply to the extract is not required.

• 1 mark for drawing original supply and demand (do not have to include market equilibrium).

Up to 3 marks for the following information included on diagram:
• 1 mark for drawing a shift
• 1 mark for labelling the new price
• 1 mark for labelling the new quantity.

When asked to a draw a diagram all marks can be achieved through the diagram and no written explanation is required. The majority of students support their response with a written explanation when in fact the diagram has achieved full marks.  

Label the new curve differently e.g. S and S1.

Label the new price and quantity clearly e.g. P and P1.

Examiners Tips:
The use of directional arrows is helpful to indicate clearly that the shift is in the correct direction.  

When you shift more than one curve the only two equilibria required are for the original and new price and quantity. Any interim equilibria are not required.

In a PPF diagram make it clear in the diagram the direction of your shift in the PPF. This could be through the use of an arrow or through the labels e.g. PPF to PPF1.

Knowledge – 1 mark for the correct formula
Application - 3 marks for the calculations

Always include units in your answer.

Calculations of PED will always be negative so you must include a negative sign in the answer even if the fact the quantity falls is ignored in earlier calculations. Whilst in May 2019 on this occasion we have allowed for a positive or negative value of PED, it is important to note that it is technically a negative value and candidates must show it is negative in future series. Elasticities of demand are not percentages and the percentage sign must not be included.

Make sure in calculating the change in quantity demanded to include whether it is positive or negative. On its own this was worth a mark which many candidates missed out on.

There are types of Explain question

Type 1: Knowledge 2 Application 2

The first type assesses AO1 and AO2 only. There are no analysis marks in this type of explain question. Examples are: explain the difference, explain what is meant by, explain the term, explain the likely change

Type 2: Knowledge 1 Application 1 Analysis 2

The second type assesses AO1-AO3.

These may start ‘Explain one’ or ‘Explain the likely impact. Illustrate your answer with a diagram’.
This last type is different from the ‘Draw’ questions. The question does ask to explain so it will require more than just a diagram. 2 marks for the diagram.

Knowledge 2 Application 2 Analysis 2

Might include an instruction to illustrate the answer with a supply and demand diagram. A correct diagram would get 3 marks:

• one K for the original supply, demand and equilibrium
• one Ap mark for the correct shift on the diagram
• one An mark showing final equilibrium and the new price and quantity

Some students provide evaluation for this question, having misinterpreted the command word in the question. No marks are available for evaluation.  

Knowledge – 2 marks, one for a definition and one for identifying the factor in the case study. A diagram could also get a knowledge mark

Application and analysis – up to 2 marks for each linked explanation up to a maximum of 4 marks.

Some students are providing a lot of analysis in their answer and overwriting for this type question. This makes timing in the exam difficult.

Evaluation – up to 2 marks for 2 evaluative points or one evaluative point developed

On an 8 mark question candidates will typically need to consider 3 factors, whether this be causes or impacts, so considering further factors may be excessive and just reduce the candidates ability to finish the paper in the allocated time.

Examine questions do require an evaluation which can either be achieved through the development of an evaluation point or the identification of two evaluative comments. A significant number of students do not attempt an evaluation.

You will find an 8/8 example in the 2019 Unit 1 Examiner’s Report.

KAA: context is very important. Candidates achieve a Level 1 for a generic answer or the bottom of Level 2 for some reference to context.

Evaluation: up to 6 marks are available across 3 levels.
Generic and undeveloped evaluation points achieve only Level 1.
Offering more development can achieve Level 2.
Level 3 candidates not only identify evaluative points and develop these, but answers are fully in context.

In order to access higher level evaluation marks candidates need to develop a chain of reasoning in their evaluative comments. This is an area which centres will need to focus upon.

Most students attempt to evaluate their responses, but it seems that most are struggling to develop their evaluation sufficiently to receive a Level 3 mark. In order to rectify this, students should perhaps be advised to focus on writing longer chains of reasoning to develop two evaluative points, rather than identifying and partially developing three points.  

Candidates offering developed chains of reasoning in context are awarded Level 3.

Students who receive higher marks for evaluation tend to use information in the extract as the starting point for their evaluation, going on to use their economic knowledge to explain the relevance of the data, rather than beginning with a generic evaluative point.

When asked to draw a diagram it is important to do so as it makes it difficult to achieve the top level without it.

Use accurate diagrams and refer to them in explanations for KAA and for evaluation marks. An accurate diagram, with explanation in context, can shift a response from Level 2 to Level 3 for both KAA and for Evaluation.

A Level 3 response can be found in the 2019 Unit 1 Examiner’s Report.

Students are encouraged to have a clear structure to their answers. They must avoid writing essays in bullet points or in long blocks/paragraphs without making a distinction between their analysis and evaluation points.  Essays should be structured in paragraphs so that each covers discussion of one issue. Evaluation of this point may be included in that paragraph.

In the best responses for KAA students demonstrate a precise knowledge of concepts, developed chains of reasoning, accurate diagrams that are explained clearly and reference to context.  Evaluation points should be made and linked to the context of the question. These should have a chain of reasoning or sufficient development to be able to achieve Level 3.

A 20 marker will normally require 3 or 4 evaluation points for 8 marks.With regard to evaluation the best answers included chains of reasoning linked to the context and an informed judgement.

Candidates often make a number of valid separate points but do not develop a coherent chain of reasoning. In addition, a number of candidates do not include any form of contextual reference and consequently will not achieve more than a Level 2 KAA mark. Context can be from the stem in the question and/or from other examples used effectively by the candidate.
For their evaluation candidates should provide a partially-developed chain of reasoning to attain at least Level 2. An informed judgement is needed in order to gain a Level 3 evaluation mark.

For evaluation, students should provide a partially developed chain of reasoning to attain at least Level 2. Writing a list of points will only give students access to Level 1. An informed judgement is needed in order to gain a Level 3 evaluation mark.

Unlike the previous paper (WEC04), students are not expected to write four analysis and three evaluation points. They can select two or three analysis points and develop them by focusing on those points rather than trying to cover as many points as possible.

Key tips:

  • Define the key terms relevant to the question.
  • If relevant, include a diagram and explain it as part of the write up.  When including diagrams it is important to incorporate the details from the diagram in the analysis.
  • It is not enough to identify factors. The depth comes from the chains of reasoning to access the analysis marks.
  • Evaluation points should be made and linked to the context of the question. These should have a chain of reasoning or sufficient development to be able to achieve Level 3.
  • To achieve Level 3 for evaluation in the essay it is necessary to include an informed judgement.

There is a top level candidate response in the 2019 Unit 1 Examiner’s Report.

Common evaluation:
• measurement problems in terms of the difficulty in measuring
• magnitude
• time frame, short-term/long-term

Grade boundaries

A grade boundary is the minimum mark at which a letter grade can be achieved. For example, if the grade boundary for a B is 60 marks, then 60 is the minimum mark at which a B can be achieved. A mark of 59 would therefore be a C grade.

For modular qualifications, assessments can be taken in various exam sessions throughout the duration of the course.

A raw mark is the actual mark awarded by the examiner for an assessment.

Raw marks are converted to UMS marks for all modular qualifications. This is because raw mark grade boundaries may change from exam session to exam session to take into account variations in the difficulty of assessments.  

Unit 1 WEC11 Markets in Action   Max Mark a b c d e u
  UMS 100 80 70 60 50 40 0
May/June 2019 Raw 80 57
October 2019 Raw 80 59 52 46 40 34 0
January 2020 Raw 80 58 52 46 40 35 0
October 2020 Raw 80 52 43 34 25 17 0
January 2021 Raw 80 50 41 32 23 15 0
October 2021 Raw 80 50 42 35 28 21 0
January 2022 Raw 80 50 42 35 28 21 0
Unit 2 WEC12 Macroeconomic performance and policy   Max Mark a b c d e u
  UMS 100 80 70 60 50 40 0
May/June 2019 Raw 80 56
October 2019 Raw 80 57 51 45 40 35 0
January 2020 Raw 80 57 51 45 40 35 0
October 2020 Raw 80 53 44 35 27 19 0
January 2021 Raw 80 52 43 35 27 19 0
October 2021 Raw
80 50 42 34 27 20 0
January 2022 Raw 80 50 42 34 27 20 0
Unit 3 WEC13 Business Behaviour   Max Mark a* a b c d e u
  UMS 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 0
January 2020 Raw 80 55
October 2020 Raw 80 55 46 37 28 19 10 0
January 2021 Raw 80 56 47 38 29 20 11 0
October 2021 Raw 80 53 44 36 28 21 14 0
January 2022 Raw 80 53 44 36 28 21 14 0
Unit 4 WEC14 Developments in the Global Economy   Max Mark a* a b c d e u
  UMS 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 0
October 2020 Raw 80 62 54 46 38 30 22 0
January 2021 Raw 80 60
October 2021 Raw 80 61 52 45 38 31 24 0
January 2022 Raw 80 61 52 45 38 31 24 0
Cash-in grade boundaries   Max Mark A B C D E U
XEC11 International AS Economics
YEC11 International AL Economics UMS 400 320 280 240 200 160 0

Grade statistics

The grade statistics show:

  • the total number of candidates
  • the cumulative percentage of candidates at each grade boundary as a percentage of the total cohort
XEC11 International AS Economics Number of candidates A B C D E U
May/June 2019
October 2019 151 19.9% 44.4% 60.3% 74.8% 86.8% 100%
January 2020 298 19.5% 39.9% 56.7% 69.5% 82.2% 100%
May/June 2020 (CAGs) 1261 48.8% 69.1% 87.1% 92.9% 96.7% 100%
October 2020 476 39.3% 65.8% 85.1% 93.5% 96.6% 100%
January 2021 173 15% 39.3% 59% 78.6% 89% 100%
June 2021 2139 56.4% 75.1% 87.3% 92.8% 94.9% 100%
October 2021 541 44.5% 67.1% 81.5% 89.6% 95.6% 100%
January 2022 262 37.8% 59.9% 73.3% 81.7% 90.8% 100%
YEC11 International AL Economics Number of candidates A* A B C D E U
May/June 2020 (CAGs) 63 15.9% 57.1% 79.4% 90.5% 93.7% 96.8% 100%
October 2020 144 5.6% 33.3% 59% 80.6% 91% 94.4% 100%
January 2021 159 3.1% 25.8% 51.6% 77.4% 90.6% 95.6% 100%
June 2021 2084 28.3% 58.2% 82.4% 93.5% 98% 98.9% 100%
October 2021 588 11.1% 36.9% 65.1% 83.0% 93.2% 96.1% 100%
January 2022 335 5.4% 32.5% 62.7% 81.8% 91.3% 95.5% 100%

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