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Study Shows KQED Learn Delivers Real Impact for Student Learning

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KQED partnered with the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) to find out what impact KQED Learn has on students. After surveying 48 teachers and closely following 195 students using KQED Learn, ISKME reported that KQED Learn showed a significant impact on student learning.

KQED Learn is an online discussion platform for students that facilitates media literacy, media making and civic engagement. KQED Learn supports the mission of the KQED education department by getting students to:

  1. Think critically about the complicated issues shaping their lives
  2. Evaluate media sources and how they get informed about those issues
  3. Discuss those issues with their peers
  4. Tell their own stories by making and sharing their own media responses

KQED Learn launched in 2017 and is now used by thousands of students across the country for Discussions and Youth Media Challenges. Our team wanted to evaluate the impact KQED Learn has on students. In order to get an objective report, we partnered with ISKME, an independent, education nonprofit whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration and change in the education sector.

Background and Methods

Starting in spring of 2020, ISKME surveyed 48 teachers and closely followed 195 students using KQED Learn to measure and understand what impact KQED Learn had on improving student media literacy skills as well as teachers’ ability to integrate media literacy into their practice.

Using validated assessment tools developed by the Stanford History Education Group, ISKME evaluated students’ ability to analyze photo evidence, compare articles and assess the reliability of information sources before and after participating in KQED Learn Discussions and/or a Youth Media Challenge.

At the end of the semester, the ISKME research team surveyed and interviewed the teacher cohort to better understand their classroom experiences and what teaching practices effectively complemented KQED Learn to advance student learning the most.


The Results

Students using KQED Learn showed statistically significant improvement on administered SHEG assessments measuring their ability to critically examine the legitimacy of evidence and reliability of media sources, as well as improvement in their Common Core-aligned literacy skills, including their ability to develop convincing arguments based on supporting evidence. This was also found to be true (though to a lesser extent) for English Language Learning students. Read the full report.

“I [had] students who said that KQED Learn was among the most powerful things that they did this year.”

Teachers also shared that KQED Learn increased their ability and confidence in teaching media literacy, as well as increased their understanding of their students’ media literacy skills and learning needs. As one teacher said, “I did have students who said that KQED Learn was among the most powerful things that they did this year. […] I think it’s something that I will use next year with my students, again.”

These positive results are especially notable because they were measured during the semester when schools were first going online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that KQED Learn can be successfully used in online or in person learning environments.

After a year of student assessments, teacher interviews and classroom case studies, ISKME’s evaluation concluded that KQED Learn supports and develops teachers in ways that will have the most lasting impact on classrooms over time.

Check out what KQED Learn has to offer for educators and students today!

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