The Developing Skills in Health Literacy (DSHL) project will develop innovative materials for teachers and students to improve the health literacy skills of middle and high school students. Health literacy is a stronger predictor of health than age, income, employment status, education level and race. Unfortunately, nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using everyday health information that is routinely available in our healthcare facilities, retail outlets, media and communities. Increasingly, adolescents are turning to the not-always-reliable Internet seeking health-related information. The DSHL project will develop a program accessible at no cost through a website that includes: Online, interactive modules for middle school and high school students each containing five inquiry-based lessons focused on developing skills needed to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of health information. Students also will learn about career possibilities in the biomedical sciences. The modules will feature the research-based BSCS 5E Instructional Model and be tied explicitly to the Next Generation Science Standards. Online, implementation guides for middle school and high school teachers that include annotated step-by-step instructions for the lessons, background information, common ideas students have about health, answer keys, assessment strategies, examples of student work, advice on teaching controversial topics, and strategies for having students share their newly acquired knowledge with family, friends, or other members of the school community. The guides will also enhance teachers' abilities to use research- based pedagogy to increase the achievement and motivation of all students, especially those who are underrepresented in the sciences. The DSHL materials will be designed and disseminated using an eLearning platform. The online approach enables students to learn using their preferred medium and makes them available to anyone with access to the Internet. Development of the DSHL materials will involve collaboration between health literacy experts, science educators, classroom teachers, and education technology experts. This collaboration helps ensure that the materials are accurate, reflect best pedagogical practices, and are engaging for middle school and high school students and teachers. Rigorous evaluation and research will be an integral part of this project. During development, the DSHL materials will be pilot tested and field tested with students and teachers across the country. A well-powered, quasi-experimental efficacy study of the materials will examine the program's impact on student understanding of health literacy concepts, student motivation and interest in science and biomedical careers. The results of the efficacy study will provide valuable evidence about best practices for educators teaching health literacy.

Public Health Relevance

Developing Skills in Health Literacy Project Narrative Project Narrative It has been reported that poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of health than age income, employment status, education level, and race. Poor health literacy is estimated to cost the US economy from $106 billion to $238 billion annually. The Developing Skills in Health Literacy project provides students and teachers an engaging, online environment in which to learn how to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of science and health information as well as the importance of biomedical research to health literacy. An efficacy study will help education researchers and teachers better understand effective methods for teaching students important health literacy concepts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Beck, Lawrence A
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Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
Colorado Springs
United States
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