ICILS 2023 Fact Sheet

Long title
International Computer and Information Literacy Study
Frequency of data collection
Every 5 years
Previous cycles
2013, 2018
  • Assess systematically core aspects of students’ digital literacy.
  • Ascertain student preparedness for study, work, and a digital world.
  • Address more aspects related to digital citizenship, reflecting young peoples’ increasing opportunities for online citizenship participation.
  • 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 international differences in students’ computational thinking (CT) achievement, i.e., their abilities to recognize and operationalize real-world problems using computational formulations on computers or other digital devices. This 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 (and CT).
  • 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?
  • How do schools support the development of CIL-related competencies in their students?
  • 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?
  • How do schools support the development of CT-related competencies in their students?
  • 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?
Assessment domain(s)
  • Computer literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Computational thinking
Study framework (summary)

The computer and information literacy (CIL) and computational thinking (CT) constructs are based on two structural elements:

  • Strands – the overarching conceptual categories used to frame the skills and knowledge addressed by the instruments.
  • Aspects – the specific content categories within a single strand.


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


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 

  • Is 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 or background framework

  • The individual:
    • Characteristics of the learner
    • Processes of learning
    • Learner’s level of CIL/CT
  • Home environment relates to a student’s background characteristics, especially in terms of the learning processes associated with:
    • Family
    • Home
    • Other immediate out-of-school contexts
  • Schools and classrooms encompass all school-related factors (at both classroom and school level).
  • Wider community:
    • Local community contexts (e.g., remoteness, Internet access etc.)
    • Characteristics of the education system and country
    • Global context
Participating entities




Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium (Flemish), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Norway, Oman, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United States, Uruguay.

Target population and sample (summary)
Target population
  • 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 is 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.
  • All teachers teaching regular school subjects to the students in the target grade at each school sampled.
  • Additional participants
    • Separate questionnaires are administered to the principal and a designated ICT-coordinator in each participating school.
    • ICILS also includes a national context survey to be completed by the national research center in each participating country.


  • Schools: 
    • ICILS uses probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling. In each country, schools are first sampled with larger schools having a higher probability of being selected than smaller schools. The probability of school selection is established so that each target grade student within a country has an equal probability of being selected to participate in ICILS.
    • The minimum number of schools sampled is 150 per country. This number may be higher in countries to meet their specific reporting needs.
  • Students: One class at the target grade is randomly selected within in each sampled school.
  • Teachers15 target grade teachers are randomly selected within each sampled school.
  • Principals and ICT coordinators from the sampled schools are selected.


Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)


  • Student 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
  • ICT Coordinator questionnaire
  • Principal questionnaire
Study director(s)
Study website(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