General Questions

Is IASSC really the only independent third-party certification in the LSS industry?

Yes – since 2009, no other association within the Lean Six Sigma industry has offered certification without also offering training. Offering training to candidates, particularly on a commercial level, along with self-defined certification criteria creates a potential conflict of interest. This is known as “second-party certification”, see the next frequently asked question for more information.

Additionally, the IASSC Certification exam criteria are dependent only upon the successful completion of an IASSC Certification exam and nothing else. There are no other dependencies or prerequisites whatsoever. Anyone may sit for an IASSC certification exam. For more information about this subject see the frequently asked question about pre-requisites.

IASSC does not provide Lean Six Sigma related training, mentoring and coaching or consulting services in any manner. IASSC exclusively offers Accreditation & Certification services based on established criteria that are in alignment with certification best practices.

Any trainer or organization can apply for IASSC Accreditation, and if they meet the criteria, they will achieve IASSC Accreditation. Furthermore the IASSC accreditation criteria are not dependent upon any specific trainer(s), consultant(s), training content, software or any third-party organization or company offering these or any other services.

Why is an independent third-party certification important?

Third-party certification is the only method of certification that is independently developed and verified thereby removing conflict of interest and providing significant meaning.

The classifications of certification methods are:

First-party certification, which is a self-declaration. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria which I have defined and therefore can say that I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Second-party certification, which is when a company or training provider creates its own verification program for candidate certification. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria defined by the single organization that provided my training.

Third-party certification verifies that a product, process or service meets defined, industry-independent criteria or standards as reviewed by an impartial party. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria defined by the impartial association that maintains the industries standard.

Historically second-party certification has been the norm in the Lean Six Sigma Industry. Due to the problems with second-party certification more and more people, training providers and organizations, are moving to and incorporating IASSC’s third-party certification.

What is an Examination Institute, who is the PeopleCert Group and what do they do for IASSC?

An Exam Institute is an organization that is responsible for certain administrative aspects of delivering high-stakes certification exams. For example, The PeopleCert Group, IASSC’s official Examination Institute handles the coordination of candidate scheduling, exam delivery, security protocols and questions as well as candidate reporting.


Certification Questions

How much do the IASSC exams cost?

The cost for the IASSC Certified Black Belt Exam is $395 USD. The cost for the IASSC Certified Green Belt Exam is $295 USD. The cost for the IASSC Certified Yellow Belt Exam is $195 USD. There are no other charges associated with these certifications. IASSC Accredited Organizations and Exam Administrators receive special pricing and may qualify for volume discounts.

What is the format of the exams?

All exam questions are multiple choice and true/false.

How long are the exams?

IASSC Exam Candidates are allowed up to 4 hours for the IASSC Certified Black Belt Exam, up to 3 hours for the IASSC Certified Green Belt Exam and up to 2 hours for the IASSC Certified Yellow Belt Exam.

Are the exams open book?

No. IASSC provides a Reference Document in either paper or electronic form, subject to which form of exam one is taking. This document contains all formulas and tables one will need during the examination. Scratch paper is also furnished to candidates but must be destroyed prior to leaving the testing facility.

Are there any pre-requisites to sit for the exams?

IASSC™ Certification Exams are professionally developed to assess a person’s knowledge as it relates to the subjects defined in the IASSC Bodies of Knowledge™. While things such as work experience and application experience are helpful in obtaining the knowledge required to successfully complete the exams they are not requirements.

The sole objective of the IASSC Certified Black Belt™ Exam, IASSC Certified Green Belt™ Exam and IASSC Certified Yellow Belt™ Exam is to measure the examinee’s knowledge not their work or project experience. This is in alignment with the best practices of many professional credentialing certification standards.

For more information about IASSC’s position on this topic view the IASSC Position.

How many times can I retake the exams?

IASSC™ Examinations cannot be taken more than once within a 2-week period and cannot be taken more than a total of three times with a 3-month period.

ATA application candidates are allowed only 1 retake attempt. ATA candidates that have failed both their original exam attempt and their retake can reapply for Accreditation 6 months after the original application submittal but not before.

I’m ready to get certified, what next?

We offer a number of methods for certification testing. Review our How to Get Certified page in order to determine the method that best suites you.

I want to get certified but need some training first, what next?

Search the IASSC Accredited Providers, obtain training from the one that best suits your needs and the make arraignments to sit for the IASSC Certification Exam when you are ready. In many cases your training provider will be equipped and authorized to make your arrangements to sit for the IASSC certification exam as well.

Can I certify from another country?

Yes. The IASSC Certification Exams are offered by IASSC’s Official Examination Institute, The PeopleCert Group and PearsonVue, an examination administrator, and are available in 165 countries within a network of more than 8,000 Testing Centers worldwide. Click here to search for a locations. You may also choose to conduct your certification exam via our On-Demand Web-Based testing method.

Why has IASSC elected to not have project experience a part of their Certification requirements?

IASSC™ has made multiple and sincere efforts to create a viable “application ability assessment”; or, what is commonly referred to in the industry as a “project requirement”. However, to date, it has been determined that there are no viable means of including this form of assessment in the IASSC Certification requirements.

The issues for project acceptability are: defining “minimum qualifying tools application,” minimum key metric improvement, minimum standards for improvement sustenance as well as a number of other metrics applicable to a Lean Six Sigma project. A method of validating compliance with each key metric could not be established. Therefore, as is foundational to Six Sigma, if the Measurement System cannot be established to an acceptable degree of accuracy and precision, then nothing of value can be said about the issue.

In addition to these concerns, there were the potential, and likely, proprietary nature of the information contained in the LSS projects and the sponsoring organization’s reluctance to allow such projects to be submitted in a format whereby their substance could be assessed. While acceptance of a Project Summary or a Project Affidavit (as is accepted by the American Society for Quality) were considered, it was concluded there is no viable means of assuring the validity of such a submittal therefore IASSC could make no definitive statement as to the candidate’s competency based on such a submittal.

With all these issues considered extensively and exhaustively it is IASSC’s official position that it is capable of commenting solely on one’s knowledge relative to the IASSC Bodies of Knowledge™ and not on an evaluation of their ability to apply such knowledge to a project. That will have to be assessed through other mechanisms. For detailed information on our position as it pertains to projects please see the IASSC Position.


Body of Knowledge Questions

What is the IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge?

The IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge™ is an assembly of a comprehensive set of topics and subject matters that are intended to be representations of the universally and commonly accepted, minimum competencies and core proficiencies requisite of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. For more information see the IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge.


What is the difference between the ASQ and IASSC Body of Knowledge?

By various measures, the IASSC and ASQ Lean Six Sigma Standards and Certifications are both widely respected, recognized and utilized across the Lean Six Sigma Industry. The differences in the Bodies of Knowledge becomes apparent when comparing the two standards. The ASQ Body of Knowledge defines areas outside of what IASSC believes the industry considers standard knowledge requirements for a designated practitioner.  For example, these areas include, Enterprise Wide Deployment and DFSS, among others. However the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) components of the IASSC & ASQ Bodies of Knowledge are almost identical. Additionally, in terms of certification criteria, ASQ requires an affidavit of project completion be submitted for consideration of Black Belt and Green Belt Certification. IASSC provides knowledge based certification exams and does not have a project requirement, nor does it recognize the legitimacy of an affidavit to satisfy a project requirement. Additional information relative to IASSC’s position on project requirements for certification can be found here and here.

How can I get a copy of the Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge document?

These can be downloaded from the Black Belt Body of Knowledge page, the Green Belt Body of Knowledge page and the Yellow Belt Body of Knowledge page.


Accreditation Questions

How long does the accreditation process take to complete?

Once you submit a request for an application we will typically be in contact within 48 to 72 hours. Once you submit your application along with any required supplemental documentation you can expect, on average, anywhere from two to three weeks for us to review your submittal.

What is The PeopleCert Groups role in IASSC accreditations?

The PeopleCert Group is the exclusive and official Examination Institute of IASSC since 2010. The PeopleCert Group assists in various activities associated with IASSC Certifications and Accreditation’s. During the IASSC Accreditation process applicants may be in direct contact with qualified representative from the PeopleCert Group who may help facilitate certain aspects of your IASSC accreditation.


Miscellaneous Questions

What is Psychometrics?

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational and psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits. The field is primarily concerned with the study of measurement instruments such as questionnaires and tests. It involves two major research tasks: (i) the construction of instruments and procedures for measurement; and (ii) the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to measurement.

What is Blooms Taxonomy?

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom found that over 95% of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level…the recall of information.

Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain from the simple recall or recognition of facts, at the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order that is classified as evaluation.

These levels are from “Levels of Cognition” (from Bloom’s Taxonomy – Revised, 2001). They are listed in order from the least complex to the most complex.

Remember (Lowest)
Recalling memorized information. May involve remembering a wide range of material from specific facts to complete theories, but all that is required is the bringing to mind of the appropriate information. Represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain.
Learning objectives at this level: know common terms, know specific facts, know methods and procedures, know basic concepts, know principles.
Question verbs: Define, list, state, identify, label, name, who? when? where? what?

The ability to grasp the meaning of material. Translating material from one form to another (words to numbers), interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), estimating future trends (predicting consequences or effects). Goes one step beyond the simple remembering of material, and represent the lowest level of understanding.
Learning objectives at this level: understand facts and principles, interpret verbal material, interpret charts and graphs, translate verbal material to mathematical formulae, estimate the future consequences implied in data, justify methods and procedures.
Question verbs: Explain, predict, interpret, infer, summarize, convert, translate, give example, account for, paraphrase x?

The ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations. Applying rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those under comprehension.
Learning objectives at this level: apply concepts and principles to new situations, apply laws and theories to practical situations, solve mathematical problems, construct graphs and charts, demonstrate the correct usage of a method or procedure.
Question verbs: How could x be used to y? How would you show, make use of, modify, demonstrate, solve, or apply x to conditions y?

The ability to break down material into its component parts. Identifying parts, analysis of relationships between parts, recognition of the organizational principles involved. Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than comprehension and application because they require an understanding of both the content and the structural form of the material.
Learning objectives at this level: recognize unstated assumptions, recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning, distinguish between facts and inferences, evaluate the relevancy of data, analyze the organizational structure of a work (art, music, writing).
Question verbs: Differentiate, compare / contrast, distinguish x from y, how does x affect or relate to y? why? how? What piece of x is missing / needed?

The ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve the production of a unique communication (theme or speech), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information). Learning outcomes in this area stress creative behaviors, with major emphasis on the formulation of new patterns or structure.
Learning objectives at this level: write a well organized paper, give a well organized speech, write a creative short story (or poem or music), propose a plan for an experiment, integrate learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem, formulate a new scheme for classifying objects (or events, or ideas).
Question verbs: Design, construct, develop, formulate, imagine, create, change, write a short story and label the following elements:

Create (Highest)
The ability to judge the value of material (statement, novel, poem, research report) for a given purpose. The judgments are to be based on definite criteria, which may be internal (organization) or external (relevance to the purpose). The student may determine the criteria or be given them. Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy because they contain elements of all the other categories, plus conscious value judgments based on clearly defined criteria.
Learning objectives at this level: judge the logical consistency of written material, judge the adequacy with which conclusions are supported by data, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by the use of internal criteria, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of external standards of excellence.
Question verbs: Justify, appraise, evaluate, judge x according to given criteria. Which option would be better/preferable to party y?

Is IASSC accredited by ICE or ANSI?

Currently, IASSC is a “Member” of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) and a “Full Member” of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). IASSC relies on these organizations as a trusted source of valuable information pertaining to how IASSC manages and sets policies. Both ICE & ANSI also offer Accreditation; however, IASSC has not yet applied for accreditation from either organization and is currently evaluating when it will do so.

Who owns IASSC?

Robert Shank and Scot Shank are the founders of IASSC. Scot Shank has a track record of establishing innovative, popular offerings into the Lean Six Sigma industry and market. For more about Scot Shank visit LinkedIn. Robert Shank is an executive with a history in the Lean Six Sigma Industry. For more about Robert Shank visit LinkedIn.

IASSC’s parent company is Red Stake, Inc., which is privately owned by Scot Shank.  Red Stake, Inc. owns a portfolio of companies, two of which are in some manner affiliated within the Lean Six Sigma Market — Open Source Six Sigma LLC (“OSSS”) and SixGrid LLC (“SixGrid”). OSSS publishes and licenses courseware. However, like IASSC, OSSS does not provide Lean Six Sigma related training, mentoring and coaching, or consulting services in any manner whatsoever. Additionally, use of the OSSS courseware is not required or encouraged in order to achieve IASSC Accreditation or Certification. SixGrid is a project management software application that is used by practitioners to track and manage Lean Six Sigma projects and programs. Additionally, use of SixGrid software is not required or encouraged in order to achieve IASSC Accreditation or Certification. The IASSC Accreditation and Certification criteria are entirely independent. IASSC is the only independent third-party certification association within the Lean Six Sigma Industry and prides itself on the mission it has established to bring certification best practices to the Lean Six Sigma industry and market.