Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Kristen Carlson


news media literacy, political engagement, social studies education


The task of teaching civics to secondary students has been complicated by a constantly changing media environment and declining political involvement by young people. Youth are not equipped to interpret the vast amounts of information they consume on their phones and computers (Breakstone et al., 2018). At the same time, civics education has not prepared students to be engaged citizens in democracy (Vercellotti & Matto, 2016). Considering these factors, this study attempted to analyze whether teaching a news media literacy unit increased the political engagement levels of high school students, as some other studies have shown. Thirty high school students were surveyed using a single-subject, quantitative research design as a part of action research. Participants took the sixteen-question survey at the beginning of the research period, engaged in five lessons on news media literacy, and then answered the same survey questions a second time. The survey, originally developed by Ashley et al. (2017), measured political engagement using four categories: political knowledge, political trust, political activity, and political efficacy. The results of the study revealed that the news media literacy unit had the greatest impact on political trust, such as students’ belief in the honesty of the government. There were slight increases in students’ political knowledge and activity. The data showed that the news media literacy unit had a minor impact on the internal and external political efficacy of participants.



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