This is part three of our series about a collaboration between Lean Learning Center, Oakland University, and the Clintondale Community School District offering students in two elective classes at Clintondale High School a six-week (30 lessons) course on Lean methods that included an extensive project-based learning simulation. If you’d like to catch up on Part One – click here and/or Part Two – click here.

Now that we’ve reviewed 21st century high school curriculum and the important aspects of Lean, let’s review the case study.

Lean CurriculumCase Study

Clintondale High School is a public school located in Clinton Township, Michigan. Clinton Township is a large suburban area near Detroit. In 2012/2013 the school had 526 students enrolled and a 15:1 student/teacher ratio. Its ethnic demographics reflected a fairly diverse student population and the population included 55% male students and 45% female students. Students eligible for free or reduced lunch rates represented 81% of the student body.

In 2010 the school had implemented a blended or “flipped” classroom approach that was very effective in improving student performance. Since implementing the flipped model, graduation rates improved from 80% to 90% from 2010-2013. College enrollment rates increased by 17%. Course-specific failure rates also dropped significantly.

Generally, the research team sought to find out how the Lean Fundamentals program would work in a high school setting. Specifically, the team wanted to answer the following research questions:

  1. Will high school students effectively learn Lean content through a flipped pedagogy?
  2. Will high school students effectively apply Lean methods and/or strategies in a team-based simulation?
  3. What are high school students’ perceptions about this Lean course?
  4. What are teachers’ perceptions about this Lean course?

Data and Results

Research methods and data collection were aligned to the research questions and incorporated a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative data were collected via a pre- and post-test to determine changes in knowledge from the beginning of the course to the conclusion of the course. On the first day of class students were given a five-question multiple choice test on Lean rules and principles. The same test was given at the conclusion of the course to measure immediate student learning from the class.


The advantages to students exposed to the Lean Fundamentals program include important outcomes, such as a Lean credential that is valued in the workplace following high school or postsecondary training/education, a rational problem solving system with broad applications enhancing deeper learning and 21st century competencies, a team-based discovery learning simulation replicating real world dynamics, exposure to lifelong learning through the continuous learning cycle and socio-behavioral development through Lean principles of respect.

Findings from a pilot of the Lean Fundamentals program indicated that students and teachers alike enjoyed the Lean Fundamentals experience and obtained impressive outcomes.

Research questions about student outcomes were explored, including, “Will high school students effectively apply Lean methods and/or strategies in a team-based simulation?” and “What are high school students’ perceptions about this Lean course?” Also, a question was asked of faculty, “What are teachers’ perceptions about this Lean course?” The findings were very impressive, indicating both formative improvement from pre-test to post-test on all points and summative achievement on all points. Faculty were eager to teach the Lean Fundamentals program again and students enjoyed it.

As schools, programs and courses seek better ways to deliver instruction, it is believed that the Lean Fundamentals package adds value to educational delivery and student outcomes.

The Lean Learning Center uniquely offers you the well-developed Lean Fundamentals curriculum and hands-on simulations conveniently available on a learning management system. The package includes:

  • Your outcomes-based curriculum is mapped to critical learning objectives.
  • Your problem-based teaching is guided through clear instructions and suggestions.
  • Your discovery lessons are designed by expert Lean trainers.
  • Your students’ achievement includes learning outcomes relevant to college and career readiness.

Any questions about our research on Lean in high school curriculum? Reach out to Lean Learn Center, we’d love to hear from you.

Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.

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