Internal Assessment - IB Economics (SL/HL) - (Messere)

The IB Internal Assessment makes up 25% of the IB-SL economics mark and 20% of the IB Economics Higher Level grade. It is the one area where IB economics students don't have to rely on a structured test or exam for the majority of their mark.  With this in mind, it is strongly recommended that students follow the timelines in class for any due dates and obtain timely news articles (extracts).  In doing so, it is hoped students will demonstrate the ability to apply, analyze and evaluate relevant economic concepts and theories discussed throughout the course while relating them to real world economics.  The material below is intended to assist you in attaining the 'much sought after 7'.  Use it wisely and above all: follow instructions as this alone will allow you to do moderately well in the internal assessment.


IB Requirements (this is already in your study guide - except for updated Scoring rubric).  However, the link below will allow you to download a copy in MS Word format.  Note that the sample cover page to be used is included in this file so that students can simply fill in the relevant information for each commentary. There is also an alternative cover page included if you want to give your portfolio an eclectic look.

Internal Assessment Guidelines - IB SL-HL Economics Article Portfolio Requirements

For SL/HL student 2007-08 Year - Update Scoring Rubric (adjusted Criterion B*)

Alternative Cover Page for Portfolio Commentaries

*not included in 2007-08 Study Guide

Final Portfolio Checklist

Before  you hand in your final portfolio, make sure you examine this list and check to make sure all items have been completed!

Final Portfolio Checklist

Evaluation (yes kids - this is the poster you see in room 309)

This last component of the commentary can be examined in more detail by downloading the PDF file below.

Evaluation Tips Sheets

Selecting News Articles for the Portfolio

The link below allows you to examine a web site that organizes articles by economic topic and most recent date.  Remember that articles must not pre-date the course by more than six months.

Sloman's Links to Economics News Articles

While the above seems like the answer to your relentless quest for quality economics related news articles, consider that many of the articles are from international sources, which while acceptable, shouldn't prevent you from seeking out local and regional stories with Canadian links.   Keep in mind that each of your articles must be from four different sources.  Also, your word count for each commentary must be under 750 words - which includes everything such as footnotes for references or definitions, diagram titles and labels and direct quotes from the article.  To avoid the loss of a mark on criterion A of the scoring rubric, students are strongly encouraged to aim for 730 words so as to leave some 'wiggle room' for overflow words not incorporated in the word count.

The Economist

The Globe and Mail

The Toronto Star

Newseum - Today's Front Pages

........  go to course web site page Web Resources for these links and more .......

Practice Article & Commentary

Read the following article and develop a practice commentary.  Relevant economic principles and theories will be addressed in class at a later date.


Why does a vente latte still cost $4 when bean prices are plunging?

Drinking exotic coffee may be the new national pastime, but producers are fighting off one serious caffeine headache. In the past year, overproduction has caused the price of unroasted coffee to plunge more than 40 percent, devastating the small farmers who produce most of the world's crop. In Colombia, some predict destitute farmers will turn to growing coca or poppies, and the plight has even created coffee refugees. The 14 Mexican migrants who died crossing the Arizona border a few weeks ago were mostly failed coffee pickers. "This thing is a disaster for these countries," says Starbucks president and CEO Orin Smith.

But as suppliers suffer, Starbucks is having a blockbuster year, recording $629 million in sales in the second quarter. In fact, while the price of unroasted coffee beans fell, Starbucks raised its rates. "Why in the hell aren't farmers getting more if we're paying four bucks for a cup of coffee?" asks Robert H. Bates, a coffee expert at Harvard. According to Starbucks, the answer is simple: coffee beans account for only a minuscule fraction of the price. The biggest expenses are paying salesclerks and rent bills. Still, some say big coffee companies like Starbucks, which has aggressively sought to position itself as a socially conscious firm, should do more to make sure small producers share its good buzz.

Blame the weather for the crash in prices. In Brazil, a major frost in the mid-1990s cut supply and encouraged runaway planting. At the same time, Vietnam and Indonesia have undertaken ambitious development programs, flooding the market with cheap coffee. "In a lot of poor societies they think coffee will be their salvation," says Judy Ganes, a coffee analyst at InterCommercial Markets. "But it just drives the prices lower." Meanwhile, consumption has been relatively flat. A Starbucks on every corner doesn't mean people are drinking more coffee; the proliferation of gourmet offerings has come mostly at the expense of instant brands. And tastes are continuing to get more rarefied. One coffee retailer in Atlanta sells something called "luwak" coffee, which it claims is picked by a civet, an Indonesian bobcat-like animal. The beans ferment in the civet's stomach, and then are collected from its droppings. The price: $300 per pound.

Starbucks is eager to avoid the impression that it's shortchanging farmers. In October the company began selling "Fair Trade" coffee, the product of a network of suppliers that guarantees farmers a good price. And Starbucks' Smith points out that the company has never paid less than a dollar for a pound of coffee (current futures price: about 60 cents). Yet producers in some countries are already starting to rip out their coffee plants and replace them with other crops, which would eventually prop up prices--though even Smith admits that's "a very harsh" solution. In the meantime, here's one suggestion for remaining coffee farmers: buy a civet.

Source: Peraino, Kevin, THE COFFEE QUANDARY. Newsweek, 00289604, 06/25/2001, Vol. 137, Issue 26, p. 80.