NCEE concepts/ standards

The National Council on Economic Education (in partnership with the National Association of Economic Educators and the Foundation for Teaching Economics) has produced a set of curriculum standards based on the essential principles of economics, titled Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics. Each of the 20 content standards, developed by a panel of economists and economic educators, includes a rationale for its inclusion; benchmarks indicating attainment levels for students in grades 4, 8, and 12; samples of what students can do to enhance or demonstrate their understanding of economics; and correlation of existing EconomicsAmerica publications to the standards.

The recently adopted standards (in red below) largely follow the older NCEE economic concepts (in dark green). Some standards are new, like the role of politics and entrepreneurship in the economy. Although Sloan's Economics text was somewhat based on NCEE's 22 prior concepts, the text had also included substantial material on the new standards, as shown as the last part of the dark green headings. For example, in Standard 1, "IH-1" means Invisible Hand chapter 1. The green "FP's" below represents Fostering Prosperity, or the 2nd half of Sloan's text.


STANDARD 1 (old 1 & 2) IH-1

Description: Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people can not have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.

Content Keywords: scarcity; choice; goods; services; wants; opportunity cost; consumers; productive resources; natural resources; human resources; capital resources; human capital; entrepreneurs; producers

STANDARD 2 (new) IH-1

Description: Effective decision making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices are "all or nothing" decisions.

Content Keywords: decision making; marginal analysis; cost; benefit; profit maximization

STANDARD 3 (old 4) IH-3

Description: Different methods can be used to allocate goods and services. People acting individually or collectively through government, must choose which methods to use to allocate different kinds of goods and services.

Content Keywords: economic systems; market economy; command economy; traditional economy; What?How?For Whom?

STANDARD 4 (old 5) IH-2, 3, 5

Description: People respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.

Content Keywords: incentives; choice

STANDARD 5 (old 6) FP3

Description: Voluntary exchange occurs only when all participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade among individuals or organizations within a nation, and usually among individuals or organizations in different nations.

Content Keywords: exchange; barter; voluntary exchange; barriers to trade; imports; exports

STANDARD 6 (old 3 & 20) FP-22 and IH-5

Description: When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase

Content Keywords: specialization; gains from trade; comparative advantage; absolute advantage; investment in human capital; division of labor; productivity; interdependence; relative prices; productive resources; transaction costs; factor endowments

STANDARD 7 (old 7) IH-2

Description: Markets exist when buyers and sellers interact. This interaction determines market prices and thereby allocates scarce goods and services.

Content Keywords: markets; prices; producers; consumers; relative prices; equilibrium price; quantity demanded; quantity supplied; exchange rate; shortage; surplus

STANDARD 8 (old 8) IH-3 & 4

Description: Prices send signals and provide incentives to buyers and sellers. When supply or demand changes, market prices adjust, affecting incentives.

Content Keywords: prices; law of demand; law of supply; substitute goods; determinants of demand; determinants of supply; price ceilings; price floors

STANDARD 9 (old 9) IH 3 and FP-4

Description: Competition among sellers lowers costs and prices, and encourages producers to produce more of what consumers are willing and able to buy. Competition among buyers increases prices and allocates goods and services to those people who are willing and able to pay the most for them.

Content Keywords: competition; levels of competition

STANDARD 10 (old 5) IH-5 & 7

Description: Institutions evolve in market economies to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions. A different kind of institution, clearly defined and enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.

Content Keywords: economic institutions; banking; saving; interest; savers; borrowers; labor unions; non-profit organizations; property rights; legal foundations of a market economy; legal forms of business

STANDARD 11 (old 6) FP-3

Description: Money makes it easier to trade, borrow, save, invest, and compare the value of goods and services.

Content Keywords: role and function of money; money; definition of money; exchange; currency; money supply

STANDARD 12 (new) FP-9

Description: Interest rates, adjusted for inflation, rise and fall to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed, which affects the allocation of scarce resources between present and future uses.

Content Keywords: interest rate; real vs. nominal; risk; monetary policy

STANDARD 13 (old 10) IH-3

Description: Income for most people is determined by the market value of the productive resources they sell. What workers earn depends, primarily, on the market value of what they produce and how productive they are.

Content Keywords: labor, human resources; marginal resource product; wage; investment in human capital; labor market; prices of inputs; derived demand; personal distribution of income; functional distribution of income

STANDARD 14 (new) IH-6

Description: Entrepreneurs are people who take the risks of organizing productive resources to make goods and services. Profit is an important incentive that leads entrepreneurs to accept the risks of business failure.

Content Keywords: entrepreneurship; invention; innovation; benefit; cost; risk; profit; costs of production; taxes

STANDARD 15 (old 14) FP-9

Description: Investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and in the health, education, and training of people can raise future standards of living.

Content Keywords: investment; human capital; physical capital; standard of living; productivity; technological change; economic growth; intensive growth; opportunity cost; risk; trade-off; interest rates; incentives

STANDARD 16 (old 11 & 12) FP-1,2,6,7,8

Description: There is an economic role for government in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income.

Content Keywords: role of government; distribution of income; taxes; bonds; public goods; externalities; maintain competition; regulation; income tax; transfer payments; non-clearing markets; monopolies; property rights

STANDARD 17 (new) IH-8 & 9

Description: Costs of government policies sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public, or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.

Content Keywords: cost; benefit; barriers to trade; special interest groups

STANDARD 18 (old 13 & 15) FP-5

Description: A nation's overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government agencies, and others in the economy.

Content Keywords: macroeconomic indicators; GDP; circular flow; potential GDP; per capita GDP; nominal and real GDP

STANDARD 19 (old 16) FP-5 & 10

Description: Unemployment imposes costs on individuals and nations. Unexpected inflation imposes costs on many people and benefits some others because it arbitrarily redistributes purchasing power. Inflation can reduce the rate of growth of national living standards because individuals and organizations use resources to protect themselves against the uncertainty of future prices.

Content Keywords: inflation; unemployment; labor force; unemployment rate; types of unemployment; CPI

STANDARD 20 (old 18 &19) FP-10 & 3

Description: Federal government budgetary policy and the Federal Reserve System's monetary policy influence the overall levels of employment, output, and prices.

Content Keywords: federal budget; fiscal policy; monetary policy; budget deficit; budget surplus; national debt; causes of inflation; tools of the Federal Reserve; open market operations; discount rate; reserve requirements

Old NCEE concepts not included in the above, new standards:

21. Exchange Rate and Balance of Payments

22. International Growth and Stability

They were dropped because the new list focuses on domestic issues.

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