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Serbia
Western Balkans
EU Average
OECD Average

Reading

Maths

Science
439
402
482
484
448
414
489
488
439
408
484
486

Average scores

Regional and international educational performance

Serbia performs better than other Western
Balkans systems in reading, maths and science.

These scores are close to those of some
countries in Europe, such as Bulgaria, Greece
and Romania.

Education performance in Serbia is inequitable

Socio-economically advantaged students and
girls perform better than boys and
disadvantaged students.

Policies are needed to help all students
succeed.

Advantaged
480
Girls
458
407
Disadvantaged
422
Boys

An important driver, and
reflection, of inequity is
the tracking of students
into general education and
vocational programmes

70% of upper secondary students attend a
vocational programme.

Roughly 50% of these students cannot
read proficiently

Selection into upper secondary programmes is
not equitable:

Boys are 2x more likely than girls
to attend vocational training
programmes

Boys Girls
2x

Disadvantaged students are 5x more
likely than advantaged students to
attend vocational training programmes

Advantaged Disadvantaged
5x

Accounting for gender and socio-economic
status in Serbia results in a decline in the
performance gap between educational and
vocational programmes.

This suggests that student background, in
addition to ability, can largely shape whether
they attend general education or vocational
programmes.

91
37
52
33
84
44
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Educational spending in
Serbia is low regionally
and internationally

Serbia performs better than expected given its level of funding.

However, its expenditure on education is far
less than the OECD average. More spending
could contribute to even higher results.

Provision of educational
resources in Serbia is
low and inequitable

Serbian principals reported greater concerns
about resource shortages in:

Schools with more disadvantaged students

Vocational schools

These trends are also seen across Western
Balkans economies and OECD countries.

Difference in index
Advantaged
Disadvantaged

Serbia

-0.36
OECD

Western Balkans

-0.45
General education
Vocational programme
-0.25

Serbia

-0.12
OECD
-0.17
Western Balkans

Teaching practices in
Serbia differ from
international
benchmarks

Compared to the average across OECD
countries:

And less adaptive methods that focus on
meeting students’ individual needs.

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OECD average
Serbia average

The practices commonly
used by teachers in
Serbia are associated
with lower reading
scores

More teacher-directed instruction is associated
with lower reading performance and more
adaptive instruction is associated with higher
reading performance in

Serbia

and throughout Western Balkans 5* and
OECD countries.

Difference in reading
point score

*No data for North Macedonia

Teacher-directed
instruction
Adaptive
instruction

Positive teaching methods are not practiced equitably in Serbia

Traditional practices such as teacher-directed instruction are more frequently used in schools with more disadvantaged students and vocational programmes.

Adaptive instructional approaches associated with higher outcomes more frequently occur in schools with more advantaged students and general education programmes.

Traditional Adaptive Disadvantaged
Schools
Vocational
Programmes
Serbia
-0.25
Serbia
-0.15
Traditional Adaptive Advantaged
Schools
General
Education
Programmes
Serbia
0.11
Serbia
0.04 (Not statistically significant)

This is likely to further exacerbate existing
performance disparities.

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