National enrollment methods have shifted in recent years. They no longer rely on birth data and cohort survival as adequate projection methods, due to several factors.
- Birth numbers do not have the same stable relationship with kindergarten enrollments.
- More school choice across and within communities creates challenges for smaller districts.
- A declining and more transient population has altered year-to-year consistency.
As a result, The Alliance engaged the services of a data and statistical analyst to refresh our enrollment projection program to align with the most up-to-date methodology.
The updated model is different from the previous in a few key ways:
- Kindergarten enrollments will no longer be determined by county birth rates, as the relationship between births and kindergarten enrollments is only relevant in very stable communities, of which there are few. Instead, our updated methodologies rely on recent enrollment trends and a smoothed growth model for kindergarten.
- Using a moving average across years places more consideration on changes as the years progress. This is important for kindergarten because it is often the kick-starter for each subsequent grade.
- An exponential smoothing model for kindergarten enrollments that places more emphasis on recent years is important for declining or growth districts because the most recent years are considered more important for weighting.
- Persistence rates from one year to the next are used to project enrollments in grades over K and adjust depending on the model.
New methodology for the Alliance’s enrollment projections will include consideration of the following:
- An exponential smoothing projection for kindergarten (and Pre-K, if requested) enrollments as the most conservative approach for declining enrollment districts because recent data is weighted higher.
- A five-year moving average kindergarten enrollment level is the more aggressive approach for declining enrollment districts because past data is given equal weight to recent data.
- A grade-by-grade weighted persistency ratio puts more emphasis on the most recent year.
- A two-year average persistency rate for each grade.
- Combined methods using each kindergarten projection and each grade level progression method.
We propose four models for enrollment projection using the methods described above along with a fifth model averaging them all.
The models follow the following formulas:
Model 1 – Exponential smoothing for kindergarten, subsequent grades assume students persist at a 3-year weighted moving average rate with the emphasis on the most recent year.
Model 2 – 5-year moving average kindergarten level, subsequent grades assume students persist at a 2-year moving average rate with equal weight on the two most recent years.
Model 3 – Exponential smoothing for kindergarten, subsequent grades assume students persist at a 2-year moving average rate with equal weight on the two most recent years.
Model 4 – 5-year moving average kindergarten level, subsequent grades assume students persist at a 3-year weighted moving average rate with the emphasis on the most recent year.
Model 5 – Average of Models 1-4.
Enrollment Projection Services Prices
In State: $500
Outside of Michigan: Effective January 2024: $1,000
Expedited Service (within two business days): $250
New Executive Summary: Free for 2023-24 school year!
Complete the request form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reports are completed (in the order they are received) within one to two weeks. However, it’s possible the time frame may need to be extended; you’ll be contacted if that’s the case.
The Michigan Alliance for Student Opportunity (formerly the Middle Cities Education Association) is a group of member school districts that serve students with the greatest educational needs. We advocate on their behalf to build an equitable foundation for education so every student has the opportunities they need to succeed in school and beyond.
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Lansing, MI 48917