Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Projections of Education Statistics to 2014, published September 2005.

Appendix D: Glossary


Data Terms

A–C  |  D–F  |  G–M  |  P–R  |  S–V

Associate's degree:
A degree granted for the successful completion of a subbaccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 2 years (or the equivalent) of full-time college-level study. This term includes degrees granted in a cooperative or work-study program.
Average daily attendance (ADA):
The aggregate attendance of a school during a reporting period (normally a school year) divided by the number of days school is in session during this period. Only days on which the pupils are under the guidance and direction of teachers should be considered days in session.
Average daily membership (ADM):
The aggregate membership of a school during a reporting period (normally a school year) divided by the number of days school is in session during this period. Only days on which the pupils are under the guidance and direction of teachers should be considered as days in session. The ADM for groups of schools having varying lengths of terms is the average of the ADMs obtained for the individual schools.
Bachelor's degree:
A degree granted for the successful completion of a baccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 4 years (or the equivalent) of full-time college-level study. This term includes degrees granted in a cooperative or work-study program.
Classroom teacher:
A staff member assigned the professional activities of instructing pupils in self-contained classes or courses, or in classroom situations. Usually expressed in full-time-equivalents.
Cohort:
A group of individuals that have a statistical factor in common (e.g., year of birth).
College:
A postsecondary school that offers a general or liberal arts education, usually leading to an associate’s, bachelor's, master's, doctor's, or first-professional degree. Junior colleges and community colleges are included in this term.
Constant dollars:
Dollar amounts that have been adjusted by means of price and cost indexes to eliminate inflationary factors and allow direct comparison across years.
Consumer Price Index (CPI):
This price index measures the average change in the cost of a fixed-market basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.
Current dollars:
Dollar amounts that have not been adjusted to compensate for inflation.
Current expenditures (elementary/secondary):
The expenditures for operating local public schools, excluding capital outlay and interest on school debt. These expenditures include such items as salaries for school personnel, fixed charges, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs.
Current expenditures per pupil in average daily attendance:
Current expenditures for the regular school term divided by the ADA of full-time pupils (or full-time-equivalency of pupils) during the term. See also Current expenditures and Average daily attendance.
Current-fund expenditures (higher education):
Money spent to meet current operating costs, including salaries, wages, utilities, student services, public services, research libraries, scholarships and fellowships, auxiliary enterprises, hospitals, and independent operations. Excludes loans, capital expenditures, and investments.
Current Population Survey:
See appendix C, Data Sources.

Top

Degree-granting institutions:
Postsecondary institutions that are eligible for Title IV federal financial aid programs and that grant an associate’s or higher degree. For an institution to be eligible to participate in Title IV financial aid programs it must offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length, have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, have been in business for at least 2 years, and have signed a participation agreement with the Department.
Disposable income:
Current income received by persons less their contributions for social insurance, personal tax, and nontax payments. It is the income available to persons for spending and saving. Nontax payments include passport fees, fines and penalties, donations, and tuitions and fees paid to schools and hospitals operated mainly by the government. See also Personal income.
Doctor's degree:
An earned degree carrying the title of doctor. The Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) is the highest academic degree and requires mastery within a field of knowledge and demonstrated ability to perform scholarly research. Other doctorates are awarded for fulfilling specialized requirements in professional fields, such as education (Ed.D.), musical arts (D.M.A.), business administration (D.B.A.), and engineering (D.Eng. or D.E.S.). Many doctor's degrees in both academic and professional fields require an earned master's degree as a prerequisite. First-professional degrees, such as M.D. and D.D.S., are not included under this heading.
Educational and general expenditures:
The sum of current funds expenditures on instruction, research, public service, academic support, student services, institutional support, operation and maintenance of plant, and awards from restricted and unrestricted funds.
Elementary school:
A school classified as elementary by state and local practice and composed of any span of grades not above grade 8. A preschool or kindergarten school is included under this heading only if it is an integral part of an elementary school or a regularly established school system.
Elementary and secondary schools:
As used in this publication, includes only regular schools, that is, schools that are part of state and local school systems and also most private elementary and secondary schools, both religiously affiliated and nonsectarian. Schools not included in this term are subcollegiate departments of institutions of higher education, residential schools for exceptional children, federal schools for Indians, and federal schools on military posts and other federal installations.
Enrollment:
The number of students registered in a given school unit at a given time, generally in the fall of a year.
Expenditures:
Charges incurred, whether paid or unpaid, that are presumed to benefit the current fiscal year. For elementary and secondary schools, these include all charges for current outlays plus capital outlays and interest on school debt. For institutions of higher education, these include current outlays plus capital outlays. For government, these include charges net of recoveries and other correcting transactions other than for retirement of debt, investment in securities, or extension of credit. Government expenditures include only external transactions, such as the provision of perquisites or other payments in kind. Aggregates for groups of governments exclude intergovernmental transactions.
Expenditures per pupil:
Charges incurred for a particular period of time divided by a student unit of measure, such as average daily attendance or average daily membership.
First-professional degree:
A degree that signifies both completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that normally required for a bachelor's degree. This degree is based on a program requiring at least 2 academic years of work before entrance and a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete the degree program, including both prior required college work and the professional program itself. By NCES definition, first-professional degrees are awarded in the fields of dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.), medicine (M.D.), optometry (O.D.), osteopathic medicine (D.O.), pharmacy (D.Phar.), podiatry (D.P.M.), veterinary medicine (D.V.M.), chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.), law (LL.B. or J.D.), and theological professions (M.Div. or M.H.L.).
First-professional enrollment:
The number of students enrolled in a professional school or program that requires at least 2 years of academic college work for entrance and a total of at least 6 years for a degree. By NCES definition, first-professional enrollment includes only students in certain programs. (See First-professional degree for a list of programs.)
Full-time enrollment:
Undergraduate—A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits, or 12 or more quarter credits, or 24 or more contact hours a week each term. Graduate—A student enrolled for 9 or more semester credits, or 9 or more quarter credits, or a student involved in thesis or dissertation preparation that is considered full time by the institution. First-professional—As defined by the institution .
Full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment:
For institutions of higher education, enrollment of full-time students, plus the FTE of part-time students as reported by institutions.
Full-time worker:
In educational institutions, an employee whose position requires being on the job on school days throughout the school year at least the number of hours the schools are in session; for higher education, a member of an educational institution's staff who is employed full time.

Top

Graduate:
An individual who has received formal recognition for the successful completion of a prescribed program of studies.
Graduate enrollment:
The number of students who hold the bachelor's or first-professional degree, or the equivalent, and who are working toward a master's or doctor's degree. First-professional students are counted separately. These enrollment data measure those students who are registered at a particular time during the fall. At some institutions, graduate enrollment also includes students who are in postbaccalaureate classes but not in degree programs.
High school:
A secondary school offering the final years of high school work necessary for graduation, usually including grades 10, 11, and 12 (in a 6-3-3 plan) or grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 (in a 6-2-4 plan).
Higher education:
Study beyond secondary school at an institution that offers programs terminating in an associate’s, baccalaureate, or higher degree.
Higher education institutions (traditional classifications):
4-year institution:
An institution legally authorized to offer and offering at least a 4-year program of college-level studies wholly or principally creditable toward a bachelor's degree. A university is a postsecondary institution that typically includes one or more graduate professional schools.
2-year institution:
An institution legally authorized to offer and offering at least a 2-year program of college-level studies that terminates in an associate’s degree or is principally creditable toward a baccalaureate.

See also Degree-granting institutions and Postsecondary education.

Higher Education Price Index:
A price index that measures average changes in the prices of goods and services purchased by colleges and universities through current-fund expenditures and educational and general expenditures (excluding expenditures for sponsored research and auxiliary enterprises).
Instructional staff:
Full-time-equivalent number of positions, not the number of individuals occupying the positions during the school year. In local schools, it includes all public elementary and secondary (junior and senior high) day-school positions that are in the nature of teaching or the improvement of the teaching-learning situation. This includes consultants or supervisors of instruction, principals, teachers, guidance personnel, librarians, psychological personnel, and other instructional staff. This excludes administrative staff, attendance personnel, clerical personnel, and junior college staff.
Master's degree:
A degree awarded for successful completion of a program generally requiring 1 or 2 years of full-time college-level study beyond the bachelor's degree. One type of master's degree, including the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) and the Master of Science degree (M.S.), is awarded in the liberal arts and sciences for advanced scholarship in a subject field or discipline and demonstrated ability to perform scholarly research. A second type of master's degree is awarded for the completion of a professionally oriented program (e.g., an M.Ed. in education, an M.B.A. in business administration, an M.F.A. in fine arts, an M.M. in music, an M.S.W. in social work, or an M.P.A. in public administration). A third type of master's degree is awarded in professional fields for study beyond the first-professional degree (e.g., the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Master of Science in various medical specializations).

Top

Part-time enrollment:
Undergraduate—A student enrolled for either 11 semester credits or less, or 11 quarter credits or less, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term. Graduate—A student enrolled for either 8 semester credits or less, or 8 quarter credits or less. First-professional—As defined by the institution.
Personal income:
Current income received by persons from all sources minus their personal contributions for social insurance. Classified as ''persons'' are individuals (including owners of unincorporated firms), nonprofit institutions serving individuals, private trust funds, and private noninsured welfare funds. Personal income includes transfers (payments not resulting from current production) from government and business such as social security benefits, military pensions, and so forth, but excludes transfers among persons.
Postbaccalaureate enrollment:
The number of graduate and first-professional students working toward advanced degrees and students enrolled in graduate-level classes but not enrolled in degree programs. See also Graduate enrollment and First-professional enrollment.
Postsecondary education
: The provision of formal instructional programs with a curriculum designed primarily for students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or equivalent. This includes programs of an academic, vocational, and continuing professional education purpose, and excludes avocational and adult basic education programs.
Private institution:
A school or institution that is controlled by an individual or agency other than a state, a subdivision of a state, or the federal government (i.e., usually supported primarily by other than public funds) and the operation of whose program rests with other than publicly elected or appointed officials.
Property tax:
The sum of money collected from a tax levied against the value of property.
Public school or institution:
A school or institution controlled and operated by publicly elected or appointed officials, and generally deriving its primary support from public funds.
Pupil/teacher ratio:
The enrollment of pupils at a given period of time, divided by the full-time-equivalent number of classroom teachers serving these pupils during the same period.
Revenues:
All funds received from external sources, net of refunds and correcting transactions. Noncash transactions such as receipt of services, commodities, or other receipts ''in kind'' are excluded, as are funds received from the issuance of debt, liquidation of investments, or nonroutine sale of property.
Revenue receipts:
Additions to assets that do not incur an obligation that must be met at some future date and do not represent exchanges of property for money. Assets must be available for expenditures.

Top

Salary
: The total amount regularly paid or stipulated to be paid to an individual, before deductions, for personal services rendered while on the payroll of a business or organization.
School:
A division of the school system consisting of students in one or more grades or other identifiable groups and organized to give instruction of a defined type. One school may share a building with another school or one school may be housed in several buildings.
Secondary instructional level:
The general level of instruction provided for pupils in secondary schools (generally covering grades 7 through 12 or 9 through 12), and any instruction of a comparable nature and difficulty provided for adults and youth beyond the age of compulsory school attendance.
Secondary school:
A school including any span of grades beginning with the next grade following elementary or middle school (usually 7, 8, or 9) and ending with or below grade 12. Both junior high schools and senior high schools are included.
Senior high school:
A secondary school offering the final years of high school work necessary for graduation.
Student:
An individual for whom instruction is provided in an educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, school system, or other educational institution. No distinction is made between the terms ''student'' and ''pupil,'' although ''student'' may refer to one receiving instruction at any level while ''pupil'' refers only to one attending school at the elementary or secondary level. The term ''student'' is used to include individuals at all instructional levels. A student may receive instruction in a school facility or in another location, such as at home or in a hospital. Instruction may be provided by direct student-teacher interaction or by some other approved medium, such as television, radio, telephone, or correspondence.
Tax base:
The collective value of sales, assets, and income components against which a tax is levied.

Total expenditures per pupil in average daily attendance (ADA):
Includes all expenditures allocable to per pupil costs divided by ADA. These allocable expenditures include current expenditures for regular school programs, interest on school debt, and capital outlay. Beginning in 1980–81, expenditures for administration by state governments were excluded and expenditures for other programs (summer schools, community colleges, and private schools) were included.
Unclassified students:
Students who are not candidates for a degree or other formal award, although they are taking higher education courses for credit in regular classes with other students.
Undergraduate students:
Students registered at an institution of higher education who are working in a program leading to a baccalaureate or other formal award below the baccalaureate, such as an associate’s degree.

Statistical Terms

A–F  |  I–V
Autocorrelation:
Correlation of the error terms from different observations of the same variable. Also called serial correlation.
Degrees of freedom:
The number of free or linearly independent sample observations used in the calculation of a statistic. In a time series regression with t time periods and k independent variables including a constant term, there would be t minus k degrees of freedom.
Dependent variable:
A mathematical variable whose value is determined by that of one or more other variables in a function. In regression analysis, when a random variable, y, is expressed as a function of variables x1, x2,..., plus a stochastic term, then y is known as the ''dependent variable.''
Double exponential smoothing:
A method that takes a single smoothed average component of demand and smoothes it a second time to allow for estimation of a trend effect.
Durbin-Watson statistic:
A statistic testing the independence of errors in least squares regression against the alternative of first-order serial correlation. The statistic is a simple linear transformation of the first-order serial correlation of residuals and, although its distribution is unknown, it is tested by bounding statistics that follow R. L. Anderson's distribution.
Econometrics:
The quantitative examination of economic trends and relationships using statistical techniques, and the development, examination, and refinement of those techniques.
Estimate:
A numerical value obtained from a statistical sample and assigned to a population parameter. The particular value yielded by an estimator in a given set of circumstances or the rule by which such particular values are calculated.
Estimating equation:
An equation involving observed quantities and an unknown that serves to estimate the latter.
Estimation:
Estimation is concerned with inference about the numerical value of unknown population values from incomplete data, such as a sample. If a single figure is calculated for each unknown parameter, the process is called point estimation. If an interval is calculated within which the parameter is likely, in some sense, to lie, the process is called interval estimation.
Exogenous variable:
Variable for which the values are determined outside the model but that influence the model.
Exponential smoothing:
A method used in time series to smooth or to predict a series. There are various forms, but all are based on the supposition that more remote history has less importance than more recent history.
First-order serial correlation:
When errors in one time period are correlated directly with errors in the ensuing time period. Also called autocorrelation.
Forecast:
An estimate of the future based on rational study and analysis of available pertinent data, as opposed to subjective prediction.
Forecast horizon:
The number of time periods into the future that are forecasted. Forecasts for next year are said to have a 1-year forecast horizon.
Forecasting:
Assessing the magnitude that a quantity will assume at some future point in time, as distinct from ''estimation,'' which attempts to assess the magnitude of an already existent quantity.
Function:
A mathematical correspondence that assigns exactly one element of one set to each element of the same or another set. A variable that depends on and varies with another.
Functional form:
A mathematical statement of the relationship among the variables in a model.
Independent variable:
In regression analysis, a random variable, y, is expressed as a function of variables x1, x2,..., plus a stochastic term, the x's are known as "independent variables."

Top

Interpolation:
See Linear interpolation.
Linear interpolation:
A method that allows the prediction of an unknown value if any two particular values on the same scale are known and the rate of change is assumed constant.
Lag:
An event occurring at time t + k (k > 0) is said to lag behind an event occurring at time t, the extent of the lag being k. An event occurring k time periods before another may be regarded as having a negative lag.
Mean absolute percentage error (MAPE):
The average value of the absolute value of errors expressed in percentage terms.
Model:
A system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical description of a phenomenon, such as an actual system or process. The actual phenomenon is represented by the model in order to explain, predict, and control it.
Ordinary least squares (OLS):
The estimator that minimizes the sum of squared residuals.
Parameter:
A quantity that describes a statistical population.
Projection:
In relation to a time series, an estimate of future values based on a current trend.
R2:
The coefficient of determination; the square of the correlation coefficient between the dependent variable and its OLS estimate.
R2 (also called the adjusted R2):
The coefficient of determination adjusted for the degrees of freedom.
Regression analysis:
A statistical technique for investigating and modeling the relationship between variables.
Rho:
A measure of the correlation coefficient between errors in time period t and time period t minus 1.
Serial correlation:
Correlation of the error terms from different observations of the same variable. Also called autocorrelation.
Standard error of estimate:
An expression for the standard deviation of the observed values about a regression line. An estimate of the variation likely to be encountered in making predictions from the regression equation.
Time series:
A set of ordered observations on a quantitative characteristic of an individual or collective phenomenon taken at different points in time. Usually the observations are successive and equally spaced in time.
Time series analysis:
The branch of quantitative forecasting in which data for one variable are examined for patterns of trend, seasonality, and cycle.
Variable:
A quantity that may assume any one of a set of values.

Top


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.