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Dutch 15-year-old students are happy, but girls a little less so

Dutch 15-year-old students are among the happiest in the world, shows PISA 2018. However, girls are less content with their lives compared to boys. PISA is an international large-scale study measuring together with the University of Twente how 15-year-olds are being prepared to participate in today’s society. The Dutch national report: 'PISA-2018 De verdieping: Het welbevinden van 15-jarigen'  is released today. The report gives an in-depth view of student wellbeing in the Netherlands.

Dutch students are not only happier than students from most of the surrounding countries, they also show less fear of failure and experience less bullying at school. Over 90% of Dutch students feel supported by their parents. However, Dutch students show lower self-efficacy when confronted with difficulties, compared to students from many other PISA countries.

Compared to boys, girls rate their lives as less meaningful, show less self-confidence and more often report a fear of failure. This is remarkable as girls outperform boys in both reading and science, and perform equally on the PISA mathematics assessment. In other words, it seems that Dutch girls are underestimating themselves and have more capabilities than that they give themselves credit for. PISA also shows that high performing students are not always the happiest students.

A short animation and the report (both in Dutch) can be found at

PISA 2018 is financed by the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO). This report is written by Nathalie Maassen, Lin Weijn and Martina Meelissen (National Program Manager of PISA) of the department of OMD.

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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