Canadian Journal of Statistics

Bayesian break‐point forecasting in parallel time series, with application to university admissions

Journal Article


A regular supply of applicants to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario is provided by 65 high schools. Each high school can be characterized by a series of grading standards which change from year to year. To aid admissions decisions, it is desirable to forecast the current year's grading standards for all 65 high schools using grading standards estimated from past year's data. We develop and apply a Bayesian break‐point time‐series model that generates forecasts which involve smoothing across time for each school and smoothing across schools. “Break point” refers to a point in time which divides the past into the “old past” and the “recent past” where the yearly observations in the recent past are exchangeable with the observations in the year to be forecast. We show that this model works fairly well when applied to 11 years of Queen's University data. The model can be applied to other data sets with the parallel time‐series structure and short history, and can be extended in several ways to more complicated structures.

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