IELS 2018 Fact Sheet

Long title
International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study
  • 2017 (March to April): item trial
  • 2017 (October to December): field test
  • 2018 (October to December): main study
  • 2019 (January) to 2020 (March): analysis and reporting

The purpose of the study is to provide countries with a common language and framework, encompassing a collection of robust empirical information and in-depth insights on children’s learning development at a critical age.

Research questions
  • How well are children developing the skills they need, for their well-being and ongoing positive outcomes?
  • To what extent are children developing a sound balance of cognitive and social-emotional skills?
  • How much variation is there in children’s outcomes?
  • How are different groups of children faring, such as
    • Boys versus girls?
    • Children from different socio-economic backgrounds?
    • Children from migrant families?
    • Children who speak a home language that is different from that spoken in their ECEC center or school?
  • What factors are positively or negatively associated with children’s early learning and development?
Assessment domain(s)

Emergent literacy

Emergent numeracy


Socio-emotional skills

Study framework (summary)

Assessment framework

  • Cognitive skills
    • Emergent literacy
    • Emergent numeracy
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional skills


Contextual framework

  • Individual characteristics of each child
  • Home environments
  • Early childhood education and care (ECEC) experiences
  • Use of digital devices
Participating entities


3 countries



England, Estonia, United States

Target population and sample (summary)

Target population

5-year-old children in regulated ECEC settings or in school, their parents, and (for every child) the staff member who knows the child best.



  • Per country: 200-220 officially registered ECEC centers or schools
  • Across the three countries, almost 7000 children and more than 5.000 parents participated in the study. Almost 6500 staff questionnaires were completed.
Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)

Direct child assessment: via tablet

  • Visual and audio materials
  • Day 1
    • Emergent Literacy
    • Self-Regulation - Inhibition
    • Self-Regulation - Working memory
    • Self-Regulation - Mental flexibility
  • Day 2
    • Emergent Numeracy
    • Empathy - Emotion Identification
    • Empathy - Emotion Attribution


Indirect assessment: online (or paper-based, if requested)

  • Parent questionnaire
  • ECEC staff or teacher questionnaire
Study director(s)
Study website(s)

OECD Early Childhood Education and Care
2 rue André Pascal
75775 Paris Cedex 16