The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) is a new international study whose aim will be to assess the extent to which students know about, understand, and are able to use information and communication technology (ICT). The target population for ICILS is Grade 8 students, and the mean age at the time of testing is at least 13.5 years. ICILS will be administered every three years starting in 2013. This study is carried out under the aegis of International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and, in Canada, the participation of provinces and territories will be coordinated by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
In the ICILS context, computer and information literacy (CIL) is defined as “… an individual's 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.”
The research questions that will be the focus of the first ICILS are:
- What variations exist among countries, and within countries, in students' computer and information literacy?
- Which aspects of students' use of computers and other ICT are related to student achievement in computer and information literacy?
- Which characteristics of students' technological backgrounds are related to student achievement in computer and information literacy?
- Which individual/personal student characteristics are related to student achievement in computer and information literacy?
ICILS focuses on two strands, which include seven aspects:
Strand one: Collecting and managing information
- Knowing about and understanding computer use
- Accessing and evaluating information
- Managing information
Strand two: Producing and exchanging information
- Transforming information
- Creating information
- Sharing information
- Using information safely and securely
The administration of ICILS will be conducted exclusively on computers. Student-level data will be collected from the assessment (two 30-minute modules). Students will also complete an on line questionnaire that will gather information about their computer use (including different types of software applications used) in and out of school, attitudes to technology, self-reported proficiency, and background characteristics (e.g., social background). The teacher questionnaire will ask about teachers' use of computers and their competence in using computers. The school questionnaire will be completed by the school principal and the ICT coordinator. It will ask about computing resources, policies, and practices regarding the use of ICT at the school, as well as school characteristics. The national contextual survey will collect systemic data on education policy and practice in CIL.
The first administration of ICILS will take place in 2013, and it is expected that approximately 20 countries will participate. Some provinces and territories will be participating either at a pan-Canadian or jurisdictional level. Schools, as well as students and teachers within schools, will be selected randomly for participation. In Canada, the assessment will be conducted in English or in French.
The results will be valid only on the pan-Canadian and jurisdictional levels. No results will be attributed to individual schools or students. ICILS will not report on individual students' achievement. Results will be reported in late 2014.