How Six Sigma is Improving Education

Six Sigma is a methodology that has spread worldwide due to its high reduction of failures and problems in the products and services for a client. At present, the schools and universities have realized this and have decided to implement six sigma to make education every day better. This will also increase the level of satisfaction of the customers, who are those who pay (in this case students or parents).

The goal of Six Sigma is to reach a maximum of 3, 4 defects per million of opportunities. This is achieved thanks to the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control). This cycle seeks to eliminate unnecessary steps and be aware of everything that happens in the production process before and after being delivered to the customer. It is a cycle because it means that it´s not enough to do it once, but is a methodology that must be applied constantly.

Once this definition applied to education, it must be taken into account that certain variations must be made, since it isn´t a question of managing education systems in the same way as in a business in another sector. In education, Six Sigma methodology seeks that both employees (in this case would be teachers) and principals manage to give everything the student needs to develop his full potential and so they will be ready to the next level.

For this to take place it is necessary to be clear that in order that this methodology can be developed correctly, everyone must be committed. Senior managers must assume a leadership role. They must ensure that everyone works as a team and fulfills the desired goals. There should also be constant training where there is feedback from all, so they know where did they fail and improve it for the next time. This entire process of transformation into six sigma can take from six months to a year.

To ensure a good six sigma development in education, it’s necessary to have in charge the positions that this methodology proposes. Master Black Belts (MBB), Black Belt (BB) and Green Belts (GB) are required. Each of these positions must have a certification and to go up to the next level you must have passed the previous ones. In this case, the Black Belts are those with more experience. For incoming staff, they will be trained and will have White Belts (WB) and Yellow Belts (YB) levels.

Students: the reason to innovate all the time

As for students, they should also be involved in the six sigma and its bases, as they are all part of a system. In this case, the customer is as important as in other businesses, even more. An educational institution must always be in constant adaptation because every year or semester comes a new generation with different ways of communicating, other expectations and needs.

That is why, even if Six Sigma has certain immovable bases, the institution must always seek to innovate to have a satisfied customer. This is only achieved by having a link with the client, in this case, the student, to turn it into an active rather than passive. Some of the proposals that can be developed with Six Sigma are the following:

  • At the present, there are great advances that allow to reach the knowledge in an easier and faster way, nevertheless, it needs an organized system with constant supervision to be able to carry it. The Internet can be both an advantage and a negative factor; it is up to the institution to know how to use it.
Image courtesy of Saint Louis University Madrid Campus at
  • In Six Sigma you need to measure and analyze to be able to base on something. In the case of education isn’t enough to focus on marks because this is not the only factor that guarantees customer satisfaction. Therefore, depending on each generation the needs are different so there must be a constant renewal in the way of teaching.
  • In this methodology, each person has a specific role to develop. This is done so if someone performs various activities and doesn’t have a goal, more easily will make mistakes. In the educational system, it’s often the case that teachers end up doing things completely different from those initially assigned to them. With Six Sigma must seek that this doesn’t happen.
  • For the analysis, measurement and control part, you must use Statistical Process Control (SPC), Data Base Management System (DBMS) and Knowledge Management (KM). All these are proposals of Six Sigma methodology that seek to reduce mistakes to a minimum.
  • For the part of the cycle in which it’s sought to improve, it is absolutely necessary the participation of the students because it is of no use to improve in factors that for the clients aren’t a real problem. In order to reach them, the school or university could give talks that motivate them to participate. It can also be improved by using technology, so that way would be faster and even more interactive with the students.

* Featured Image courtesy of Saint Louis University Madrid Campus at


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