International Activities Program Highlights - ICILS

Explore how U.S. 8th grade students computer and information literacy and computational thinking compared internationally in 2018.

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Background (via

The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) is a computer-based international assessment of 8th-grade studentsā€™ capacities ā€œto use information communications technologies (ICT) productively for a range of different purposes, in ways that go beyond a basic use of ICTā€ (Fraillon et al., 2018). First conducted in 2013, ICILS assessed studentsā€™computer and information literacy (CIL) with an emphasis on the use of computers as information-seeking, management, and communication tools. Thereafter, increasing international recognition of the importance of studentsā€™abilities to recognize and operationalize real-world problems using computational formulations led to the development of the computational thinking (CT) component within ICILS. The second cycle of ICILS was administered in 2018; it continued to assess CIL and in the newly added optional assessment component, assessed CT. In addition, it investigated how these abilities relate both to in-school and out-of-school contexts that support learning.

ICILS is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and is conducted in the United States by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This study allows the United States to monitor U.S. studentsā€™skills and experience using technology, compare U.S. studentsā€™skills internationally, and provide data on factors that may influence studentsā€™CIL and CT skills. The data collected through ICILS provide valuable information with which to understand the nature and extent of the ā€œdigital divideā€ and has the potential to inform our understanding of the relationship between technology skills and experience and student performance in other core subject areas.

Twenty-one education systems around the world participated in ICILS 2013. The United States participated in ICILS for the first time in 2018, along with 13 other education systems. Among them, nine, including the United States, participated in the optional CT component.


For this project I acted as data and visualization specialist on a team of designers, web developers, and content area experts to produce this summary release for the National Center for Education Statistics website. The ICILS summary release is designed to assist the general public in better understanding the most recent results of national and international surveys, embedded with static and interactive visualizations.


  • R: Data cleaning and json production
  • D3.js: Visualization