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Projections of Education Statistics to 2016
NCES 2008-060
December 2007

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. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2016, as well as state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high school graduates to the year 2016.

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 more data are required to develop reliable projections.

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. Although rounded numbers are presented in the tables, percentages are based on unrounded numbers.

Appendix A describes the methodology and assumptions used to develop the projections, appendix B presents supplementary tables, appendix C describes data sources, appendix D is a list of abbreviations, and appendix E 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, 0.6, 1.2, and 2.4 percent, respectively. In contrast, mean absolute percentage errors for bachelor's degrees for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years were 0.9, 2.0, 6.0, and 11.2 percent, respectively. For more information on mean absolute percentage errors, see table A-2 in appendix A.

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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