Published: April 18, 2019


Test anxiety is a growing problem for school children around the world and is the Masters research focus of Life Course Centre visitor Tim de Vries.

Currently undertaking his Masters at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Tim is spending 11 weeks as a visitor and research intern at the Life Course Centre’s University of Queensland node at the Institute of Social Science Research. During his stay, which finishes on the 3rd of May, he has been embedded in an education-focussed research team, which has provided a valuable learning experience for his comparative study on test anxiety in under-15-year-old students in Australia and the Netherlands. Tim graduated in the Interdisciplinary Social Science Bachelor program at Utrecht University and is now attending the Masters program in Social Policy and Public Health. His research interests include public health, internet, social media and human geography.

The rise of school-related test anxiety is known to have a number of correlated factors, such as bullying, child wellbeing and parent engagement. While these correlations are well described in the scientific literature, Tim said there is currently no general model that describes test anxiety itself. His Masters study aims to fill this gap by creating a conceptual model that describes test anxiety and to compare the experiences of Australian and Dutch school children.

“Spending time with education researchers at the Life Course Centre has been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the Australian education systems, assess the prevalence of test anxiety, and the validity of my conceptual model,” Tim said.

Tim has worked on various projects in his time at the Life Course Centre, including a paper on school principal leadership with Centre Research Fellows Dr Jenny Povey and Dr Denise Clague, and a paper on the academic achievements of LGBQ-youths with Centre Research Fellows Dr Francisco Perales and Dr Martin O’Flaherty. He has also gained skills in the statistical programs R and Stata.

Pictured (from left): Professor Janeen Baxter, Tim de Vries, and Dr Jenny Povey.