The number of high school graduates increased nationally by 27 percent between 1994–95 and 2006–07, the last year of actual data. A further increase of 1 percent is expected between 2006–07 and 2019–20. Public schools are expected to have an increase in high school graduates, and private schools are expected to have a decrease. Increases are expected in the West and South, and decreases are expected in the Northeast and Midwest.
The projections of high school graduates are related to projections of 12th-graders and the historical relationship between the number of 12th-graders and the number of high school graduates. For more details, see appendixes A.0 and A.2.
A high school graduate is defined as an individual who has received formal recognition from school authorities, by the granting of a diploma, for completing a prescribed course of study. This definition does not include other high school completers or high school equivalency recipients. Projected increases in the number of graduates reflect changes in the 18-year-old population over the projection period, rather than projected changes in the graduation rates of 12th-graders. Projections of graduates could be affected by changes in policies influencing graduation requirements.
For NCES projections of public high school graduates produced over the last 18 years, the mean absolute percentage errors (MAPEs) for lead times of 1, 2, 5, and 10 years out were 1.0, 1.0, 1.7, and 3.8, respectively. For NCES projections of private high school graduates produced over the last 8 years, the MAPEs for lead times of 1, 2, and 5 years out were 0.9, 0.9, and 5.9, respectively. For more information, see table A-2 in appendix A.