Monday, October 22, 2007

Performance Assessment on Media Literacy

Performance Assessment on Media Literacy

Level: 12th grade

Connections to Curriculum: This summative assessment will be given at the end of their two week curricular unit on media literacy. This assessment is designed to measure the students’ ability to critically interpret the media, examine media spin and bias, and understand the important role of the news media in our democracy.

Inquiry Question: Based on your understanding about the role of the media in American society and the necessity of critical media literacy skills, how have you been able to find valid and reliable sources and how have you interpreted their trustworthiness?


Content standards-

12.7. Broad Concept:
Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the influence of the media on American political life.


1. Discuss the meaning and importance of a free and responsible press.

2. Describe the roles of broadcast, print, and electronic media, including the Internet, as means of communication in American politics.

3. Explain how public officials use the media to communicate with the citizenry and to shape public opinion.

Example Students watch and analyze television political commercials and describe how they have changed over time ( (12.7.3).

12th grade skills standards-
1. Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations 2. Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.

This take-home final assessment will consist of several sections. First, students will be asked to compile a list of their favorite and most reliable news sources. Among these sources the students must have at least 3 television or radio programs that they trust, 3 print publications (newspapers or magazines), 3 internet news websites, and 3 blogs. Below is the beginning of creating a rubric based on what qualities make a news source reliable. It is important to note that not all of the students’ sources need to be objective. As we have discussed in class, there a valid arguments both for and against objective and balanced media. Students must choose 3 sources to provide a complete annotation for. For these three sources students must explain why they find the source to be reliable, how it contributes to their understanding of issues that matter to them and their community, and finally how that source helps them fulfill their role as a citizen.


Diversity of sources – Is there a mix of objective and bias sources? Do all or most of the sources have a similar ideology or agenda? Do all or most of the sources have a similar type of news (“straight news”/ commentary/ investigative, etc…)?

  • Have they explained whether the source is objective or bias? Have they explained whether the source is balanced or fair?
  • Have they explained which points of view are presented by this source? Do they usually present two sides to every story? Multiple perspectives? One perspective?
  • Have they explained if the source has any corporate ownership that could influence how it presents the news?
  • Have they explained the investigative/ research qualities of the sources presented?
  • Do they demonstrate the ability to appropriately match issues of importance to them and their community with the most appropriate sources?
  • Do they explain how the source backs up assertions with evidence?

Time Allotment: Students will have one class period to answer the short answer questions below. The annotated list of media sources part of the assessment will be explained to students at the beginning of the unit so that they can progressively work at it. It will be due on the day of the in-class assessment.

Prior Learning (from 2 week unit):

  1. Ability to critically analyze a news source for validity, objectivity, fairness, reporting standards, and bias
  2. An understanding of the traditional role of the press in a democratic society
  3. How to decode media spin and break through the filters to
  4. Ability to understand both what is being told by a news story and perhaps more importantly, what story is not being told.
  5. Understanding of media consolidation and its implications
  6. Advantages and disadvantages of different types of media (ex- tv, blogs, etc…)

Short Answer

  1. Please explain the consequence and implications of the following: “According to one estimate, the number of communication professionals in America (150,000) now exceeds the number of journalists (130,000), and the gap is growing (Bennett 130).”

  2. Should the media strive for objectivity? Should they strive for balance? What is the difference between the two? If you think the media should strive for objectivity, should they try to achieve it in each story or over time?

  1. Respond to this evaluation of the effects of media consolidation: “…although information outlets are undeniably proliferating, their ownership is increasingly concentrated, and the first effect of concentration is to push small media promoting noncommercial values out of the way (Bennett 233).” Explain some of the major effects of media consolidation and take a position on it’s effect on the media’s ability to perform it’s democratic function.

Teacher Administration:

  1. The teacher will introduce this assessment during the first day of the curricular unit as part of the objectives. Give students a clear idea of how their final assessment will fit in and accurately measure what they have learned throughout the unit.
  2. Provide students with the rubric for how this end of the unit assessment will be evaluated.
  3. Give students reminders throughout the week that they should be collecting and beginning to evaluate their news sources.
  4. Ask students to narrow it down to the 3 they want to evaluate in depth by the start of the second week, ask them to come to class with that list so you can simply check it off to make sure they have begun the process.
  5. At least a few days before the testing day students should be given the rubric fo
  6. On test day, the teacher should has several responsibilities:
  • Collect students’ annotated sources project
  • Explain that they have approximately 40 minutes to answer the short answer questions presented to them.
  • Make sure all students have a pen and have cleared their desk of everything else
  • Collect student work at the same time with one or two minutes remaining in class time.

No comments: