The CAC, UPF and six bodies from European countries offer schools a test to assess the skills in media and digital education of students aged 14 to 18



A study reveals that young Europeans pass digital technology skills, but fail critical reading of content. Based on almost 9,000 students from 7 European countries, it proposes that schools should not focus solely on technological issues but also on the critical reception of content, the detection of fake news, and digital identity.

As of today, schools have at their disposal a new interactive tool to assess the media education skills of European students aged 14 to 18. The EduMediatest , which is available in 10 different languages, assesses students’ abilities in 7 areas related to communication education and offers teaching materials to work on the shortcomings detected.

The development of this new tool was led by the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC) and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), together with four European audiovisual regulators (France, Portugal, Croatia and Slovakia) and two public institutions in the educational field (Greece and Ireland). The study is based on a proposal of dimensions and indicators to measure media literacy designed by Joan Ferrés , attached to the UPF Department of Communication , published in issue 25 of Quaderns del CAC .

A 43-question questionnaire has been devised to measure students’ ability to ascertain the reliability of news, detect unseen interests of the sources, be aware of the existence of stereotypes, and encourage a responsible attitude towards copyright.

Regarding the students’ assessment, a 43-question questionnaire has been devised to measure their ability to ascertain the reliability of news, detect unseen interests of the sources, be aware of the existence of stereotypes, and encourage a responsible attitude towards copyright. It also seeks to ascertain students’ ability to draft understandable messages that are responsible with their digital identity.

To respond, students must analyse videos and photos, and seek information on the Internet. The system will send the result to the teacher in charge and the joint result of each class, where the strong and weak points in the following six areas will be identified: Language, Technology, Production and dissemination, Ideology, Reception and Aesthetics. Based on the results obtained, the programme proposes training activities in media education in the six areas mentioned, which teachers can implement in the classrooms.

The chairman of the CAC, Roger Loppacher , stressed that "schools will now have a new tool to assess and learn about digital skills and understanding in the reception of messages that our youth receives en masse via the networks and therefore, we will have more information to help them become literate in these areas".

In this sense, he explained that "young people must not only be literate in the operation of digital technology, which they already are, but we need them to be critical in the face of the avalanche of contents they receive, be responsible for the contents they themselves send and broadcast, and take care with their digital identity".

Pass technological skills, fail critical reading

In order to test the new tool, a trial was carried out last May on 8,699 students aged 14 to 18 from the seven participating countries, of whom 1,192 were Catalan.

The European study showed that the student body is competent insofar as technological and digital issues but has shortcomings in the critical reading of contents, as well as in the detection of fake news. The students scored best in the Technology section, specifically access to content, content management and web browsing.

These results are in line with others obtained in previous national research initiated by Joan Ferrés and continued by Mònica Figueras , a professor with the Department of Communication and project coordinator at UPF, and with the participation of an international interuniversity team.

However, in previous research, the Aesthetics dimension obtained worse results and, in this study, it achieved the second best score, and specifically students were good at relating media productions with other artistic disciplines, at detecting joint influences, and at detecting issues related to design, music and colours.

The third best score was in the Ideology section, which explores how media representations structure the perception of the reality of each individual. This area features questions to distinguish between true and false information, as well as issues related to misinformation. The lowest scores were in the sections Production and dissemination, Reception and Language.

Recommendations based on the pilot test

As recommendations, the promoters emphasize the contradiction that schools focus their audiovisual communication education on the technological part when students already have a good command of it. Specifically, they recommend focusing on the process of message reception. It is also recommended to expand school syllabuses with more subjects on the ideological conception of the actions of the media and on the impact of fake news.

As for the three sections in which they obtained the poorest results, the promoters indicate that this shows that students are unfamiliar with the way media companies and digital platforms operate. They are also unaware of how media messages are produced according to certain rules and how they can have connotations.

The promoters recommend focusing on the process of message reception. It is also recommended to expand school syllabuses with more subjects on the ideological conception of the actions of the media and on the impact of fake news.

Concretely in relation to the results of the Production and dissemination section, it is recommended to design specific programmes and offer funding to increase the capacity for content creation, and there is a proposal to strengthen cooperation between schools and the media, so that school pupils have first-hand, direct knowledge of how media message generation processes work.

The older students (15 to 17 years old) achieved the best scores, hence they recommend strengthening media education programmes at lower school levels.

Project partners

The project involves five European audiovisual regulators, two public institutions in the field of education, and one university. Specifically, the five regulators are: CAC; Agencija za elektronicke medije (AEM) in Croatia; Rada pre vysielanie a retransmisiu (CBR) in Slovakia; Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) in France, and Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social (ERC), in Portugal.

The two educational institutions are the National Centre of Audiovisual Media & Communication (EKOME) in Greece and the Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC) in Ireland. Also, UPF is involved to ensure that the project adheres to the principles of scientific research.


This site uses cookies and analysis tools to improve the usability of the site. More information. |