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About ICILS


About ICILS
The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) was first conducted in 2013 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), an independent, international cooperative of national research agencies, and will be conducted again in 2018. ICILS is a computer-based international assessment of eighth-grade students. The purpose of the study is to collect and analyze data in order to understand the knowledge and abilities of students around the world in key areas of computer and information literacy (CIL).

ICILS was conducted to help answer the following research questions:

  • What are the variations in CIL within and across countries?
  • What aspects of schools, education systems, and teaching are associated with student achievement in CIL?
  • To what extent is students' access to, familiarity with, and self-reported proficiency in using computers associated with student achievement in CIL; and
  • What aspects of students' personal and social backgrounds are associated with CIL?

What does ICILS assess?
Computer and information literacy (CIL) is defined in the ICILS Assessment Framework as "an individual's ability to use computers to investigate, create, and communicate in order to participate effectively at home, at school, in the workplace, and in society" (Fraillon, Schulz, and Ainley 2013).

ICILS 2018 will assess two dimensions of an individual's CIL skills. The first dimension, digital information, will focus on understanding computers, gathering information, producing information, and digital communications. The second dimension, computation thinking, will focus on conceptualizing problems and operationalizing solutions.

New in ICILS 2018
Computational Thinking is a new dimension of the assessment for ICILS 2018, and is an optional component for participating countries. The United States plans to administer the Computational Thinking component.

Computational thinking is the style of thinking used when programming a computer or developing an application for another type of digital device. However, its usefulness extends beyond this. The reasoning strategies that underlie computational thinking can help make sense of complex ideas and solve problems. The assessment of computational thinking through ICILS is an opportunity to gather international comparative data about how students are developing computational problem solving skills in school.

What other data is collected in ICILS?
In addition to the student assessment, students complete a computer-based questionnaire about their

  • background;
  • experiences;
  • attitudes; and
  • use of computers, other digital devices and information and communication technologies (ICT).

Information is also collected from eighth-grade students' teachers and schools. Teachers complete a questionnaire to collect information on their

  • background;
  • attitudes;
  • use of ICT; and
  • professional development related to ICT.

In each school, the ICT coordinator completes a questionnaire about resources available in the school to support ICT. Lastly, principals complete a questionnaire to collect information on school characteristics and approaches to instruction related to computer and information literacy.

Findings from ICILS 2013
Findings from ICILS 2013 were published by the IEA in Preparing for Life in a Digital Age: The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study International Report in 2014.

For more information, please see the following resources: