National Center for Education Statistics

International Computer and Information Literacy Study: 2023 Data Collection

In April, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will kick off the 2023 International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) of eighth-grade students in the United States. This will be the second time the United States is participating in the ICILS.

What is ICILS?

ICILS is a computer-based international assessment of eighth-grade students’ capacity to use information and communications technologies (ICT)1 productively for a range of different purposes. It is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and conducted in the United States by NCES.

In addition to assessing students on two components—computer and information literacy (CIL) and computational thinking (CT)—ICILS also collects information from students, teachers, school principals, and ICT coordinators on contextual factors that may be related to students’ development in CIL.

Why is ICILS important?

ICILS measures students’ skills with ICT and provides data on CIL. In the United States, the development of these skills is called for in the Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan. Outside of the United States, ICILS is also recognized as an official EU target by the European Council and EU member states to support strategic priorities toward the European Education Area and Beyond (2021–2030). From a global perspective, ICILS provides information for monitoring progress toward the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The measurement of students’ CIL is highly relevant today—digital tools and online learning became the primary means of delivering and receiving education during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and technology continually shapes the way students learn both inside and outside of school.

ICILS provides valuable comparative data on students’ skills and experience across all participating education systems. In 2018, ICILS results showed that U.S. eighth-grade students’ average CIL score (519) was higher than the ICILS 2018 average score (496) (figure 1).

Horizontal bar chart showing average CIL scores of eighth-grade students, by education system, in 2018

* p < .05. Significantly different from the U.S. estimate at the .05 level of statistical significance.
NOTE: CIL = computer and information literacy. The ICILS CIL scale ranges from 100 to 700. The ICILS 2018 average is the average of all participating education systems meeting international technical standards, with each education system weighted equally. Education systems are ordered by their average CIL scores, from largest to smallest. Italics indicate the benchmarking participants.
SOURCE: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), 2018.

ICILS data can also be used to examine various topics within one education system and shed light on the variations in the use of digital resources in teaching and learning among student and teacher subgroups. For example, in 2018, lower percentages of mathematics teachers than of English language arts (ELA) and science teachers often or always used ICT to support student-led discussions, inquiry learning, and collaboration among students (figure 2).

Stacked horizontal bar chart showing percentage of U.S. eighth-grade teachers who often or always use ICT, by selected teaching practice and subject (English language arts, math, and science), in 2018

NOTE: ICT = information and communications technologies. Teaching practices are ordered by the percentage of English language arts teachers using ICT, from largest to smallest. Science includes general science and/or physics, chemistry, biology, geology, earth sciences, and technical science.
SOURCE: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), 2018.

What does the ICILS 2023 data collection include?

In November 2022, NCES started the preparation work for the ICILS 2023 main study data collection, which is scheduled for administration from April to June 2023. Eighth-grade students and staff from a nationally representative sample of about 150 schools will participate in the study.

Students will be assessed on CIL (which focuses on understanding computer use, gathering information, producing information, and communicating digitally) and CT (which focuses on conceptualizing problems and operationalizing solutions). In addition to taking the assessment, students will complete a questionnaire about their access to and use of ICT.

Teachers will be surveyed about their use of ICT in teaching practices, ICT skills they emphasize in their teaching, their attitudes toward using ICT, and their ICT-related professional development. In addition, principals and ICT coordinators will be surveyed about ICT resources and support at school, priorities in using ICT, and management of ICT resources.

In 2023, more than 30 education systems will participate in the study and join the international comparisons. When ICILS 2023 results are released in the international and U.S. reports in November 2024, we will be able to learn more about the changes in students’ and teachers’ technology use over the past 5 years by comparing the 2023 and 2018 ICILS results. Such trend comparisons will be meaningful given the increased availability of the Internet and digital tools during the pandemic.


Explore the ICILS website to learn more about the study, and be sure to follow NCES on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and YouTube and subscribe to the NCES News Flash to stay up-to-date on future ICILS reports and resources.


By Yan Wang and Yuqi Liao, AIR


[1] Refers to technological tools and resources used to store, create, share, or exchange information, including computers, software applications, and the Internet.

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