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Six Sigma and K-12 education

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  • #35346

    Bresslyn
    Participant

    Hello —
    I am interested in learning if anyone knows of Six Sigma being used in the field of K-12 education.  If yes, what has been the experience?  Who can I talk to? How was it implemented, etc.  Any information you can provide me would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!
     
     

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    #100155

    Saucke
    Participant

    ASQ has a program called Koalaty Kids. It’s for K-12. check out their website. I’m sure they have success stories; but if not on line, they will mail them to you.

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    #122592

    Art
    Participant

    Hi,
    In 2003, I used Six Sigma at my wife’s elementary school. I followed the DMAIC approach and received rave reviews. Tim Gurunatha assisted me in this effort.
    The objective was to eliminate “low proficiency” scores. We developed process maps, FMEA, cause and effect diagrams, and DOE.
    I used 10 controlling factors for  DOE: 1) teaching methods, 2) lesson plan, 3) state report card, 4) quizzes, 5) student attendance, 6) parent participation, 7) number of homework assignments, 8) words read in school year, 9) time spent for disciplining, and 10) time spent “one on one” with student.
    I created a main effects plot showing how ethnicity, primary language, teacher, teaching method, % absent, parent participation, homework assignments, and words read each contributed to student learning.
    The teachers were extremely excited about the tools I taught them to used; they felt that they finally had some insight as to the causes of low student performance and the six sigma approach gave them an opportunity to identify solutions.
    Unfortunately, when my wife retired from the school in 2004, I was unable to get the new principal to follow through with what we had started.
    I hope this helps!
    Art Lawrence
     

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    #122594

    eliz
    Participant

    Art,
    Interesting, what was the response(s) (Y) for the DOE?
     
    ps – you should have caned the new principal, is that allowed these days?
    Eliz

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    #122608

    BTDT
    Participant

    Art:
    The single response of “low proficiency scores” will likely generate a lot of resistance from the camp represented by the “don’t teach to the test” people.In a DOE, the factors are deliberately manipulated. I can not believe that %absence, parent participation and ethnicity were truly manipulated.I can believe that you gathered data and constructed a model to determine the relationships within the historical data. But I could easily present a case that your analysis of historical, “happenstance” data will limit the scope of inference to your study.Good job on the analysis. I’m sure there were some people in the back of the room that were worried about the results of some of the factors.BTDT

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    #122613

    Art
    Participant

    BTDT,
    You are correct. I did not expand the objective in my last message. I must tell you that the teachers wanted to test to the state report card and I had difficulties changing their view. The objective was not to look only at state report cards, but quiz scores and other results such as DRA Reading factors.
    We did not explore all the factors – only the ones that seemed to have more of an impact (e.g., teaching method). We started small and only looked at reading and how student learning was affected by the teaching method.
    Art
     

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    #122614

    Art
    Participant

    Eliz,
    Teaching method, words read, teacher, and lesson plan were found to be the biggest contributors to student performance. As an example, teachers who used one of the two prescribed methods had students who  performed 100+ points better on the student report card.
    As far as the new principal, she thought that she had a better plan – in spite of what the teachers requested. I truly believe that one of the problems in our educational system lies with principals who just don’t get it or they just don’t care.
    Art
    Art

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    #122616

    BTDT
    Participant

    Art:For most of us, everything is a process with measurable outcomes. You have given us an excellent answer to the perpetual iSixSigma newbie question of, “Has any one applied Six Sigma outside of manufacturing?”You undoubtedly ploughed new ground. I have had a lot of trouble talking with groups of teachers who fail to see that about half of the students will be below average. These were math teachers too!Perhaps the next step is to introduce DMAIC into the K-12 program of studies. I shudder to think what would happen.Cheers, BTDT

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    #122716

    Robert Butler
    Participant

       A couple of things you might want to check. 
     
    1.      The correlation between the effects you treated as independent. Given that it wasn’t a design there is a very good chance that ” Teaching method, words read, teacher, and lesson plan” are confounded. The only way to check this would be to check the condition indices and the VIF’s of the matrix.  If there is significant collinearity present then any conclusions you drew with respect to these variables will be in doubt.
    2.      What was the variation around those +100 point changes? 
    3.      Your post gives the impression you ran this with only a single year’s worth of data.  If this was the case what happens when you run the analysis on a second year?
     
      Given the vagaries of state tests I’m sure there will be almost as many different findings concerning proficiency data as there are investigators to look at it.  Since we are talking about data analysis of K-12 education measurements I thought I’d offer the following:
     
      Several years ago I analyzed the 4th grade proficiency scores for the state mandated tests for my son’s school district.  I had extensive demographic information and test scores for the years 1996 – 2001.  In addition, my son’s school district tested all of the 3rd grade students using the Stanford math and reading tests.  The Stanford tests are not administered in the same way as the state exams so it was interesting to use 3rd and 4th grade scores in the analysis.
     
      In my case, the external variation to the education process was the single biggest factor impacting student test scores and teacher performance (as measured by test scores associated with the students of a given teacher).  Boxplots of data from multiple years, by teacher, gave a clear illustration of this effect. External variation included yearly changes in the questions on the state exam and swings in the ethnic, religious, and political makeup of the incoming student populations and their parents. An analysis of teacher variability within a given year showed no significant differences as did an analysis of mean scores.  There were some teachers who, over the time period of interest, exhibited a combination of year-to-year numerically lower variation and numerically higher mean scores. I did recommend to the district that if it could be shown that their classroom compositions were “typical” then it might be worth contrasting their approaches to teaching with those teachers with the numerically highest variation and numerically lowest mean scores.
     
      The most interesting finding was the relationship between reading scores and student scores with respect passing the state tests on reading, math, science, social studies, and writing.  A plot of the Stanford reading scores against the Stanford math scores, while not a shotgun blast, did indicate that the Stanford test had managed to minimize the effect of reading as far as math testing was concerned.  A similar plot of the state test showed a very high correlation between the state reading and math scores (as well as between all of the other tests except writing).  When Stanford and state math scores were plotted against one another and the plots were stratified by either Stanford or the state reading score we found that if a student did poorly on the Stanford math test but did well on either of the reading tests, it was highly likely that the student would pass the state math test.  The reverse was also true – high score on Stanford math and a poor reading score usually resulted in a failure on the state math test (granted, the state targets were entirely arbitrary but the connection between low and high scores remained true regardless of the cut point).  My final conclusion was that the state tests were testing reading first and math, science, and social studies second. In short, the state was giving 4 reading tests and a writing test.  Subsequent reading about other checks of the tests administered by my state reflected this.  In particular, it was the considered opinion of a number of investigators that the reading comprehension of the state test was in excess of what could be expected of a typical 4th grader.

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    #126697

    Abdelkader
    Participant

    Art and all those interested,
    I will be doing a six sigma experiment in my kids school. If possible, can you share your contact infor (email and phone) for information colection on your experience. Suggestions from all are welcome
    [email protected]
    Abdelkader

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    #130731

    Schuette
    Participant

    Art,I’m trying to research Six Sigma for implementation in New York schools. Do you know of any Six Sigma education consultants near New York City? I was wondering if you could contact me at [email protected] with your contact info?Best,
    Jim

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    #130733

    Art
    Participant

    No, I do not know of anyone in the New York area who has used Six Sigma in K-12 schools. If you know of a need for Six Sigma consultants in the New York area, let me know because I have a business partner who lives in Penfield, NY and we would be interested in providing Lean Six Sigma consulting.
    Thanks,
    Art

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    #137933

    Mayo
    Participant

    hi guys
    I’m new to six sigma, today was my first day in six sigma green belt course. I’m a school director and intending to implement the six sigma in my school.
    I would appreciate any body want to contact me to share information or try projects.
    happy to find people talking about six sigma in education

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