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Projections of Education Statistics to 2015

About This Report

Guide to This Edition

This edition of Projections of Education Statistics provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools and degree-granting institutions. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2015, as well as state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high school graduates to the year 2015. This is the first edition of Projections to include projections of enrollments in degree-granting institutions by race/ethnicity.

State-level data on enrollment and graduates in private schools are not included. Further research and model development are needed to develop reliable projections of private school enrollment and graduates by state. Projections also exclude the number of students who are homeschooled because national data are available for a limited time period.

Similar methodologies were used to obtain a uniform set of projections for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These projections are further adjusted to agree with the national projections of public elementary and secondary school enrollment and public high school graduates contained in this report.

The summary of projections provides highlights of the national and state data, while the reference tables and figures present more detail. While rounded numbers are presented in the tables, percentages are based on unrounded numbers.

Appendix A Acrobat PDF File (368 KB) describes the methodology and assumptions used to develop the projections, appendix B Acrobat PDF File (80 KB) presents supplementary tables, appendix C Acrobat PDF File (168 KB) describes data sources, and appendix D Acrobat PDF File (112 KB) is a glossary of terms.

Limitations of Projections

Projections of time series usually differ from the final reported data due to errors from many sources, such as the properties of the projection methodologies, which depend on the validity of many assumptions. Therefore, alternative projections are shown for most statistical series to denote the uncertainty involved in making projections. These alternatives are not statistical confidence limits, but instead represent judgments made by the author as to reasonable upper and lower bounds.

The mean absolute percentage error is one way to express the forecast accuracy of past projections. This measure expresses the average value of the absolute value of errors in percentage terms. For example, the mean absolute percentage errors of public school enrollment in grades PK–12 for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years were 0.3, 0.5, 1.2, and 2.5 percent, respectively. In contrast, mean absolute percentage errors for bachelorís degrees for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years were 0.9, 2.0, 5.7, and 9.7 percent, respectively. For more information on mean absolute percentage errors, see table A-2 in appendix A Acrobat PDF File (368 KB).

Alternative projections are presented for enrollment in degree-granting institutions, earned degrees conferred, elementary and secondary teachers, and expenditures of public educational institutions.

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