ICILS 2018 Fact Sheet

Long title
International Computer and Information Literacy Study 2018
Frequency of data collection
Every 5 years
Previous cycles

2015: Framework revision and instrument development

2016: Establishment of testing platform and instruments

2017: Field trial

2018: Finalization of framework main survey data collection

2019: Reporting

  • Assess systematically the capacities of students to use ICT productively for a range of different purposes, in ways that go beyond a basic use of ICT.
  • Ascertain student preparedness for study, work, and life in the digital age.
  • Measure international differences in students’ Computer and Information Literacy (CIL), i.e., their 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.
  • Measure students’ abilities to recognize and operationalize real-world problems using computational formulations on computers or other digital devices with the help of ICILS assessment of Computational Thinking (CT), which was offered to participating education systems as an international option.
  • Collect a rich array of data from students in the eighth grade in order to enable investigation of the factors that influence student CIL.
  • Provide education systems and policymakers with an important source of data on the contexts and outcomes of CIL and CT related abilities of students and how these relate to school and out-of-school contexts that support learning.
Research questions

Computer and Information Literacy (ICIL)

  • What variations exist across countries, and within countries, in students’ computer and information literacy?
  • What aspects of schools and countries are related to students’ computer and information literacy?
  • What are the relationships between students’ levels of access to, familiarity with, and self-reported proficiency in using computers and their computer and information literacy?
  • What aspects of students’ personal and social backgrounds (such as gender, and socioeconomic background) are related to students’ computer and information literacy?

Computational Thinking (CT)

  • What variations exist across countries and within countries, in students’ computational thinking?
  • What aspects of schools and countries are related to students’ computational thinking?
  • What are the relationships between students’ levels of access to, familiarity with, and self-reported proficiency in using computers and their computational thinking?
  • What aspects of students’ personal and social backgrounds (such as gender, and socioeconomic background) are related to students’ CT?

What is the association between students’ computer and information literacy and computational thinking?

Study framework (summary)

The CIL and CT construct is based on two structural elements:

1) Strands – the overarching conceptual categories used to frame the skills and knowledge addressed by the CIL instruments;

2) Aspects – the specific content categories within a single strand.

The computer and information literacy (CIL) framework

Strand 1: Understanding computer use

  • Refers to the fundamental technical knowledge required for the operational use of computers as tools for dealing with information.
  • Has two aspects:
    • Foundations of computer use
    • Computer use conventions

Strand 2: Gathering information

  • Focuses on receptive and organizational elements of information processing and management
  • Has two aspects:
    • Accessing and evaluating information
    • Managing information

Strand 3: Producing information

  • Focuses on using computers as productive tools for thinking and creating.
  • Has two aspects:
    • Transforming information
    • Creating information 

Strand 4: Digital communication

  • Focuses on competencies related to social networking and social, legal and ethical responsibilities associated with information sharing.  
  • Has two aspects:
    • Sharing information
    • Using information safely and securely

Computational Thinking (CT) framework

Strand 1: Conceptualizing problems

  • Refers to the idea that before developing solutions, problems must be understood and framed in a way that allows algorithmic or systems thinking to assist in the process of developing solutions.
  • Has three aspects:
    • Knowing and understanding digital systems
    • Formulating and analyzing problems
    • Collecting and representing relevant data

Strand 2: Operationalizing solutions  

  • Associated with creating, implementing and evaluating computer-based system responses to real-world problems.
  • Has two aspects:
    • Planning and evaluating solutions
    • Developing algorithms, programs and interfaces

The contextual framework

  • Wider community:
    • Local community contexts (e.g., remoteness, Internet access etc.)
    • Characteristics of the education system and country
    • Global context
  • Schools and classrooms – encompasses all school-related factors (without distinguishing between classroom and school level)
  • Home environment – a student’s background characteristics, especially in terms of the learning processes associated with:
    • Family
    • Home
    • Other immediate out-of-school contexts
  • The individual:
    • Characteristics of the learner
    • Processes of learning
    • Learner’s level of CIL/CT
Participating entities

12 countries with 2 benchmarking participants 

Target population and sample (summary)

Target population

The ICILS target population comprises students in their eighth year of schooling. In most education systems, the eighth year of schooling is Grade 8, provided that the average age of students are 13.5 years or above. In education systems where the average age in Grade 8 is below 13.5, Grade 9 is defined as the ICILS target population.

The population for the ICILS teacher survey was defined as all teachers teaching regular school subjects to the students in the target grade at each school sampled.

ICILS also administered separate questionnaires to principals and designated ICT-coordinators in each school.


ICILS collected data from over 46,000 Grade 8 (or equivalent) students in more than 2,200 schools from 14 countries or education systems within countries. These student data were augmented by data from almost 27,000 teachers in those same schools and by contextual data collected from school ICT coordinators, school principals, and the ICILS national research centers.

Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)


  • Test of CIL and CT
  • Student questionnaire
  • National context survey (one per country, completed by staff in national centers)


Online with paper-based option

  • Teacher questionnaire
  • School questionnaires (principal and ICT coordinator)
Study director(s)

IEA Amsterdam

Keizersgracht 311

1016 EE Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Tel. +31 20 625 3625

Fax +31 20 420 7136

E-mail secretariat@iea.nl



IEA Hamburg

Überseering 27

22297 Hamburg


Tel. +49 40 48500 500

Fax +49 40 48500 501

E-mail icils@iea-hamburg.de



Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

19 Prospect Hill Rd Camberwell

VIC 3124 Australia

Tel. +61 3 9255 5555

Fax +61 3 9255 5500

E-mail icils@acer.edu.au