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Ross Gittins reviews the HSC Economics exam (1 Viewer)

gibbo153

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Taking account of economic realities

This seemed a pretty straightforward paper that gave students a thorough test of their knowledge of the syllabus without throwing any curved balls. It let them display how much - or how little - they knew.
The essay questions allowed students to combine their understanding of economic theory with their knowledge of current developments in the economy - one of the great joys of HSC economics.
There was ample opportunity to demonstrate familiarity with the remarkable international and domestic events of the past year, without any question becoming too specific about an outlook that has changed greatly since the paper was set earlier this year.
However, it was a little surprising to have the two essay questions set in a way that would have allowed students to avoid writing on a major element of the syllabus: globalisation and Australia's place in the global economy.
But the multiple-choice questions were another matter.
Such questions have just one advantage: they're cheap to administer because they can be marked by machine. However, they are devilishly hard to set because of the need to come up with just one, indisputably correct answer.
Despite the expenditure of much effort on the part of the examiners, this year - as in most years - too many of the questions failed to clear the hurdle of zero ambiguity.
Once examiners leave the safety of questions based on little more than an understanding of formulas and accounting identities they enter dangerous territory.
The multiple-choice questions in HSC exam papers are best not inquired into by those who have learnt their economics at a higher level.
High school economics exists in its own simplified world, suited to young people making their first encounter with the subject. It involves a degree of certainty - about the definition of certain technical terms, for instance - that doesn't exist in the wider economic world.
Many of the questions rested on partial- rather than general-equilibrium analysis, with an assumption of ceteris paribus (all else remaining equal) that usually went unstated. The correct but unavailable answer to some of them was "it depends".
In other words, to score well it helps not to know too much economics or be too imaginative.
In answering question 12, for instance, it helped not to know that real gross domestic production is never calculated by comparing nominal GDP with the consumer price index rather than the GDP deflator.
Thus multiple-choice questions can place the brightest students at a disadvantage. They think too much about other possibilities and unstated assumptions. The solution for them is to ask a different question: not "what's the right answer?" but "what does the examiner think is the right answer?"
- Ross Gittins
I feel so demeaned =[; like a small child pretending to wear daddy's suit.
 
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ajay12

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I thought too much about a couple of questions and led to me tossing up between one or the another. Pretty straight forward exam, nonetheless.
 

Maelgwn

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lols i have to agree with his analysis of the MCs some of the questions were kind of ambiguous and the answers themselves had some that could've gone either way and caused me to waste more time than i should've on MCs thinking through the options >.>
 

gnrlies

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Nice one from Ross Gittins with an accounting degree
 

absorber

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MC in eco, as in legal, and as would be in history if introduced, are basically bullshit.
 

bell531

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For eco it really would only require a little bit extra effort including enough info so that we could work out one certain answer
 

JOSH.

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Ross Gittins. Ross, Ross, Gittins, Gittins.
 

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