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Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the following questions about ICILS, more FAQs about international assessments are available at

ICILS is a computer-based international assessment of eighth-grade students. Starting from 2018, ICILS assessed two dimensions of students’ skills with information communications technologies. The first dimension, computer and information literacy (CIL), focuses on understanding computers, gathering information, producing information, and digital communications. The second dimension, computational thinking (CT), focuses on conceptualizing problems and operationalizing solutions. To learn more about what is assessed and included in the framework, please visit What ICILS Measures.

Computer and information literacy (CIL) was assessed in ICILS 2013 and again in 2018. Computational thinking (CT) was added to the ICILS framework as a new dimension in 2018. CT is the style of thinking used when programming a computer or developing an application for another type of digital device. The reasoning strategies that underlie computational thinking help make sense of complex ideas and help to solve problems. This is an optional component for participating countries.

ICILS has a stratified two-stage probability cluster sampling design. During the first stage of sampling, schools are selected systematically with probability proportional to their size (PPS) as measured by the total number of enrolled target-grade students. During the second stage, a random sample of students enrolled in the target grade was selected within each school for ICILS 2013 and ICILS 2018. For ICILS 2023, a random sample of target-grade classes will be selected within each school. Approximately 3,000 eighth-grade students are assessed in every participating education system.

ICILS assesses students’ ability to use computers to investigate, create, and communicate in order to participate effectively at home, at school, in the workplace, and in the community, rather than what they learn in specific classes. Because computer and information literacy is not always attained in or confined to a specific classroom, the ICILS assessment is accompanied by questionnaires that aim to get a better understanding of students’ opportunities to gain computer and information literacy skills both inside and outside the classroom and across subjects.

The development work for the next administration of ICILS started in 2020, and the main study data collection will take place in 2023.

ICILS 2023 will continue to collect and analyze data to provide a better understanding of the modern, pervasively digital context, as well as of students’ skills in information management, communication, and computational thinking. ICILS 2023 will include more aspects related to digital citizenship, reflecting young people’s increasing opportunities for online citizenship participation and helping measure progress toward UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 4.4 (increasing the number of young people who have relevant skills for employment).

Schools cannot sign up to participate in ICILS as part of the national U.S. sample. To have fair comparisons across countries, it is important that each country only include in its national sample those schools and students scientifically sampled by the international contractor to fairly represent the country.

Yes, states can sign up to obtain their own ICILS results at their own cost. Sample size requirements apply. Please contact NCES for more information.

Please click here to see the flyer sent to parents for the 2018 ICILS administration.

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