IELS 2018 Fact Sheet

Long title
International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study
Frequency of data collection
Every 5 years
  • 2015: framework development
  • 2016: instrument development
  • 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 into 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
  • Self-regulation
  • 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

All children in care centers/schools at the age of five at the time of the assessment.



  • 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 6,500 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


Background questionnaires: online (or paper-based, if requested)

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

OECD Early Childhood and Schools

2 rue André Pascal

75775 Paris Cedex 16