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Media literacy (ML) education has emerged as a promising approach to slowing the spread of Truth Decay, described as the diminishing role that facts, data, and analysis play in political and civil discourse. Several factors contribute to Truth Decay, including a rapidly evolving information ecosystem and overburdened educational institutions. Many teachers believe their students lack the complex skills that are necessary to navigate today's information-saturated world. This gap—between students' existing competencies and those required to engage responsibly in a fast-paced media environment—could lead to negative consequences for individuals and society writ large.

However, teachers report a lack of guidance around promoting ML education in their practice, and rigorous research about what kinds of ML education work best, and in what conditions, remains limited. This report presents a framework for implementing and evaluating ML educational efforts. Following an introduction to the framework, the authors discuss six steps of ML implementation and evaluation: setting ML learning expectations; identifying conditions that can influence ML instructional efforts; exploring instructional resources; identifying measures of ML competencies; monitoring progress; and finally, measuring the summative impacts of ML education on student learning. By bringing this information together for implementors—such as district decisionmakers and teachers—as well as evaluators, the authors emphasize the important connections between these too often separate groups.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction to the Framework

  • Chapter Two

    Identifying Media Literacy Learning Expectations

  • Chapter Three

    Exploring Conditions to Support Media Literacy Instruction

  • Chapter Four

    Selecting Media Literacy Learning Materials

  • Chapter Five

    Identifying Measures of Media Literacy Competencies

  • Chapter Six

    Monitoring Interim Progress

  • Chapter Seven

    Evaluating the Effects of Media Literacy Instruction

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusion

  • Appendix

    Enhancements to Evaluation Designs Discussed in Chapter Seven

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

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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