Advocacy in Action: Surveying Media Literacy in Schools

In spring 2022, 541 students in grades 4-12 at Maynard Public Schools in Massachusetts took a survey evaluating their media literacy education. High school senior Gracie Gilligan, as part of her senior project, administered the Media Literacy Implementation Index survey in cooperation with Media Literacy Now to explore whether students are learning the skills necessary to decode messages sent via social media apps, television, video games, newspapers, and other forms of media. Maynard teachers and administrators supported the effort.

These findings bring to the forefront the necessity for the school and the parents and families to continue a dialogue about media literacy, and further our work on this topic. Media literacy is a critical area for us all, especially our students, to have a firm understanding of as they transition post-high school.

Brian Haas, Maynard Superintendent of Schools

I just want you to know that we are even more firmly committed to media literacy education in Maynard because of the insights we got working with you. I hope we can work together again in the future.

Jean LaBelle-Pierce, Maynard Public Schools

Key Findings

  • Nearly 80% of students in 12th grade have learned to spot differences between a news story and an opinion story.
  • 66% of students have discussed in class how media can be beneficial or harmful to their health, identity, and relationships
  • 13% of survey respondents reported that they often discuss what makes media sources trustworthy with their parents or guardians. 47% reported that they hardly every discuss this
  • 12% of students talk often about the pros/cons of online life with their parents or guardians, and 18% often discuss with their families what to share online.

Read the press release.