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Truth Decay—the diminishing role that facts, data, and analysis play in political and civic discourse—has in part been fueled by a complex and rapidly evolving media and technology ecosystem. For those interested in countering Truth Decay, media literacy (ML)—the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication—has emerged as a potentially powerful tool. But the lack of specificity regarding ML competencies can challenge teachers, policymakers, curriculum developers, advocates, and researchers hoping to understand what kinds of ML education work best and how ML education can be implemented effectively. There is also no shortage of ML-relevant standards. The large number of existing standards can be an additional challenge for stakeholders trying to understand how to define ML for themselves and to determine what competencies are most important to their work. This report, part of the Countering Truth Decay initiative, describes how the authors synthesized myriad existing standards using the lens of Truth Decay—drawing from standards in ML, digital literacy, information literacy, news literacy, social and emotional learning, and other areas—to identify a single, concise set of ML standards.

Funding for this research was provided by unrestricted gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. The research was conducted by RAND Education and Labor.

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