Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mack C. Shelley
Forecasting comprises a variety of methods of longitudinal, or time series, data analysis that can be used to determine, within a reasonable margin of error, future values of key variables used in education administration, such as budgetary expenditures or receipts, or enrollments, using previous data values and other relevant information. Forecasting methods produce forecasts, or predictions, of future events and circumstances to inform decision making. The process of forecasting involves two major steps, revolving around analyzing past data and basing the forecast on the results of that analysis: (a) Identify and describe a pattern in the previous data, and then (b) extrapolate this pattern by extending it into the future. This process of building forecasts is predicated on the assumption that history repeats itself—that is, that patterns identified in previous data will continue into the future—and even the most complex system for forecasting will do little good unless that assumption ...