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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is assessed in ICILS?

ICILS is a computer-based international assessment of eighth-grade students. In 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 About ICILS.

2. What's different between ICILS 2018 and ICILS 2013?

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.

3. What countries have participated in ICILS?

See the table of countries participating in 2013 and 2018.

4. How are schools and students sampled for ICILS?

ICILS has a stratified two-stage probability cluster sampling design. During the first stage of the sampling, schools are selected systematically with probabilities proportional to their size (PPS) as measured by the total number of enrolled target-grade students. During the second stage, in each school a systematic simple random sample of students enrolled in the target grade is selected. In each country, approximately 3,000 eighth-grade students are assessed.

5. How can we assess our students in something they may not have taken as a class?

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 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.

6. When is the next administration of ICILS?

The development work for the next administration of ICILS will start in 2020, with the main study data collection taking place in 2023.

7. What is the focus of ICILS 2023?

ICILS 2023 plans to continue collecting and analyzing data to provide a better understanding of the modern, pervasive digital context, as well as of studentsí skills in information management, communication, and computational thinking. ICILS 2023 will include more aspects related to digital citizenship, reflecting young peopleís 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).

8. Can my school sign up to participate in ICILS?

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

9. Can my state sign up to obtain its own ICILS results, independent of the U.S. results?

Yes, states can sign up to obtain their own ICILS results at their own cost. Sample size requirements apply. However, school-level results are not possible for ICILS. Please contact NCES for more information.

10. Is there information for parents of the sampled students?

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

11. Where can I find more information?

For more information about ICILS, please contact NCES or visit the ICILS websites: