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ICILS 2018 U.S. Results

Explore how U.S. 8th-grade students’ computer and information literacy and computational thinking compared internationally in 2018

The United States participated in the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) along with 13 other education systems. ICILS is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

ICILS assesses 8th-grade students in two domains: computer and information literacy (CIL) and computational thinking (CT). It also compares U.S. students’ skills and experience using technology to that of students in other education systems and provides information on factors such as teachers’ experiences and school resources that may influence students’ CIL and CT skills. This information is especially relevant today, since building strong foundations for STEM literacy, including CT, has been identified as one of the three goals in the White House’s 5-year STEM education strategic plan, “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.”1

As the results show, U.S. 8th-grade students’ average score in CIL was higher than the ICILS 2018 average,2 while the U.S. average score in CT was not significantly different from the ICILS 2018 average. In the United States, female 8th-grade students outperformed their male peers in CIL, but male 8th-grade students outperformed female students in CT. Also, U.S. 8th-grade students with 2 or more computers at home performed better in both CIL and CT than their U.S. peers with fewer computers. Among U.S. 8th-grade students, 72 percent reported using the Internet to do research every school day or at least once a week, and 65 percent reported teaching themselves how to find information on the Internet.

About half of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported using information and communications technologies (ICT) in teaching. Eighty-six percent of U.S. 8th-grade teachers strongly agreed or agreed that ICT was considered a priority for use in teaching at their schools. Compared with the ICILS 2018 averages, higher percentages of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported participating in eight out of nine professional learning activities related to ICT.

Click on the questions below for more details. The technical notes for the 2018 ICILS, additional informationthe questionnaires, FAQs and the full international report, International Computer and Information Literacy Study, are also available.


1 National Science and Technology Council. (December 2018). Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf.
2 U.S. results are not included in the ICILS international average because the U.S. school level response rate of 77 percent was below the international requirement for a participation rate of 85 percent.

Suggested Citation: U.S. Results from the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) Web Report (NCES 2019-164). U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/icils/icils2018/theme1.asp.

ICILS 2018 U.S. Results

Explore how U.S. 8th-grade students’ computer and information literacy and computational thinking compared internationally in 2018

The United States participated in the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) along with 13 other education systems. ICILS is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

ICILS assesses 8th-grade students in two domains: computer and information literacy (CIL) and computational thinking (CT). It also compares U.S. students’ skills and experience using technology to that of students in other education systems and provides information on factors such as teachers’ experiences and school resources that may influence students’ CIL and CT skills. This information is especially relevant today, since building strong foundations for STEM literacy, including CT, has been identified as one of the three goals in the White House’s 5-year STEM education strategic plan, “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.”1

As the results show, U.S. 8th-grade students’ average score in CIL was higher than the ICILS 2018 average, while the U.S. average score in CT was not measurably different from the ICILS 2018 average. In the United States, female 8th-grade students outperformed their male peers in CIL, but male 8th-grade students outperformed female students in CT. Also, U.S. 8th-grade students with 2 or more computers at home performed better in both CIL and CT than their U.S. peers with fewer computers. Among U.S. 8th-grade students, 72 percent reported using the Internet to do research every school day or at least once a week, and 65 percent reported teaching themselves how to find information on the Internet.

Half of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported using information and communications technologies (ICT) (ICT) in teaching. Eighty-six percent of U.S. 8th-grade teachers strongly agreed or agreed that ICT was considered a priority for use in teaching at their schools. Compared with the ICILS 2018 averages, higher percentages of U.S. 8th-grade teachers reported participating in eight out of nine professional learning activities related to ICT.

Click on the questions below for details on these results. The technical notes for the 2018 ICILS, additional informationthe questionnaires, FAQs and the full international report, International Computer and Information Literacy Study, are also available.


1 National Science and Technology Council. (December 2018). Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf.

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U.S. Results from the 2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) Web Report (NCES 2019-164). U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Available at https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/icils/icils2018/theme1.asp.