Research & Publicity

International early learning and child well-being study (IELS) in England, Introduction to the research, August 2018

Research report on the DfE website

This report sets out the interim findings of England’s participation in the International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study (IELS).  The report explains the study methods and sets out the operational findings of the field trial.

Key Findings

The field trial achieved high participation rates for children and teachers. The participation rate of parents/carers, though lower, was substantially higher than achieved in previous international studies in England:

  • 96% of sampled children participated, of which 95% completed all four domain assessments
  • 93% of teachers completed questionnaires about the sampled children
  • 58% of parents/carers of participating children completed questionnaires.

The field trial demonstrated that the design of the study is successful in ensuring children’s wellbeing, in particular:

  • Administering the tablet activities over two days worked well: children wanted return on the second day to complete the activities and study administrators reported that spacing of the activities in this way was appropriate for children of this age.
  • The vast majority of children were fully engaged and that even those who had no previous experience of using a tablet found the technology easy to use.
  • Children reported that they enjoyed the tasks.

These results are being used to inform revisions to further enhance the appeal of the study to children.

The main study will take place in autumn 2018 and the results will be reported in 2019.


Additional Web links

OECD’s IELS web page:

More information about the DfE: