National Survey Finds Most U.S. Adults Have Not Had Media Literacy Education in High School

A recent survey found that most people did not learn to reflect on media messages in school, and few learned to use media literacy skills when considering science news. Only 38% of survey respondents reported learning to analyze media messaging in high school. However, a majority of respondents – 84% – said they supported required media literacy education in schools.

Surveying Media Literacy in Schools

We’ve partnered with the Media Education Lab to encourage and support the use of the Media Literacy Implementation (MLI) Index, a survey that measures the prevalence of media literacy education in schools and communities. The MLI Index is an important tool to gather the data needed. Learn more about the MLI Index and how you can look for more opportunities to collect data and promote the use of the MLI Index in school districts and states.

The Need for More Research

There is a great need for more research and data related to media literacy and media literacy education. First, data is needed to understand current school district landscapes and identify gaps and needs for media literacy education. Secondly, research needs to be done as states enact new laws and standards and they’re being implemented in schools across the country. This research will be vital in informing educators and policymakers on best practices and help identify opportunities for improvement. Media literacy advocates of all types can answer the call for more data, and we call on education leaders and academics to help us with this work.

If you’re leading an effort to collect more data related to media literacy, we want to know about it! Reach out to us and let us know about your work.

Advocacy in Action

High school senior Gracie Gilligan, as part of her senior project, administered the MLI 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. Teachers and administrators supported the effort. Learn more about her project and findings.