Indium Blog

Using a Math PreTest Before Giving a Lean Six Sigma Workshop

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  • Folks,

    Patty, Pete, Rob and the Professor were having their weekly book club meeting. As they were wrapping up, Patty said, “Remember about a month ago we talked about using an SMT Pretest before giving a workshop to determine the skill level of the people in the workshop.”

    “Sure, how did everyone do?” Pete asked.

    “Well the average was 20%,” Patty answered, “hardly anyone knew what SAC meant."

    Even The Professor said “Yikes!”

    “But it really helped me to focus on what I needed to cover in the workshop. When I discussed SAC solder, I knew I had to tell the students what each letter stood for,” Patty explained.

    “I’m giving a Lean Six Sigma workshop next week and I’ve decided to develop a Pretest for this workshop too,” Patty went on.

    “I assume you brought it with you?” Pete teased.

    “Of course. Here it is, and don’t say it’s too easy,” Patty teased back.

    Patty’s Pretest

    1. 2x-7 = 14x+5, solve for x
    2. 1/x = 9x, solve for x
    3. pi = ?
    4. y = 10x, solve for x (hint: use logarithms)
    5. Bill can paint a house in 40 hours, Mary takes only 30 hours, how long do they take working together?
    6. The perimeter of a square is 1 meter, what is its area? (Hint: the answer is not 1).
    7. F = C(9/5) + 32. F = -40, what is C?
    8. X4=1, x=?
    9. 4! (i.e.  4 factorial) =?
    10. A fair coin is flipped 4 times. What are the chances of 4 heads?

    Pete and Rob both said in unison, “It’s too easy.” Then Rob added, “There are no statistics questions!”

    “Well, that’s what I will be teaching, I don’t expect them to know much about statistics; however, we do use some algebra and even logarithms, so I wanted to see how slowly I need to go over the parts of the workshop that use those math techniques,” Patty responded.

    Is it too easy? The first person to submit a test with no errors gets an autographed copy of the book, The Adventures of Patty and the Professor. Send your answers to  Please do the test by yourself without looking anything up. Hint: for question 8, there are four answers.

    Epilogue: The average grade on Patty’s pretest at her workshop was about 30%. However, after the two-day workshop all of the students passed the challenging take-home exam. Additionally, a number of the students sent her an email thanking her for covering the math parts of the workshop slowly. It wasn’t that the students couldn’t do the math, it was just that they were very “rusty.”


    Dr. Ron