Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Go to the Email Archives in the upper left-hand corner on the home page at


Another five-week month!  =)

However, MTLINCS just could not resist sending you some interesting information.


Coming soon to a MTLINCS near you:

Information from the 2010 Montana Adult ESL Conference!  Stay tuned!


1.   Montana ABLE and STARS


Interested in learning more about STARS, Student Tracking Attendance Reporting System?  Click on the following items:

·       PowerPoint (Recommend saving before opening)

·       PDF of PowerPoint

2.   Economy and Education


Economy Track:  An Interactive look at the U.S. Labor Market


Click here  to access “Economy Track:  An Interactive look at the U.S. Labor Market”.


"Economy Track: An Interactive Look at the U.S. Labor Market"

      Launched in October 2009, Economy Track provides the tools to track the recession and unemployment crisis, with the option of focusing specifically on trends by state, race/ethnic group, gender, occupation, and education level. Bringing together up-to-date and historic data, this site also provides important context by comparing the current economic downturn to past recessions. All of the data and methodology underlying Economy Track’s graphs are downloadable and fully sourced, with some data available exclusively from this new Economic Policy Institute resource.


American Indians and the Great Recession--Economic Disparities Growing Larger


Click here  to access “American Indians and the Great Recession—Economic Disparities Growing Larger.”


The wide gaps in employment and unemployment rates between whites and American Indians have only widened in the past two years. 


3.   Learning Disabilities Resources  

Rochelle Kenyon, NIFL Online Moderator for the Learning Disabilities Discussion List, has recommended the following resources, taken from the LINCS LD Special Collection, addressing the needs of adults with learning disabilities.  Click on the titles to access the resource.

Learning Disabilities

How can you address the needs of adults with learning disabilities?



Title: Accommodations and Compliance Series: Employees with Learning Disabilities

The article gives a general explanation of learning disabilities, states what is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and lists some accommodation ideas for the workplace. It includes several examples of job situations and how the employee was provided with an accommodation to help them succeed.


Title: Adults with Learning Disabilities: A review of the literature

In this literature review, the authors report on the research and current knowledge regarding adults with learning disabilities.


Title: Assessment for Adults with LD and/or ADHD

Testing and diagnosis of a learning disability are important for an adult seeking accommodations in both work and school. This article answers four questions around this topic.


Title: Building the Bridge Between Community College and Work For Students with Learning Disabilities

This article presents information to assist students with LD, counselors and employers to build the bridge between community college and work. Students must learn to articulate how their LD impacts them in a variety of situations, especially those requiring learning and performing work related tasks. Preparing for job interviews, anticipating barriers throughout the employment process, and developing ways to mitigate these barriers are essential skills that must be learned.


Title: ESL Instruction and Adults With Learning Disabilities

This digest reviews what is known about adult ESL learners and learning disabilities, suggests ways to identify and assess ESL adults who may have learning disabilities, and offers practical methods for both instruction and teacher training.


Title: Getting Started with Assistive Technology

This article gives an overview of the most common categories of assistive technology (AT) that support literacy and language development.


Title: Guidance and Career Counselors’ Toolkit: Advising high school students with disabilities on postsecondary options

This toolkit is intended to help guidance and career counselors to better assist high school students with disabilities to transition into postsecondary education and employment. Adults with LD and their supporters will also find the information and resources valuable in planning for entering postsecondary education and for career preparation.


Title: Keys to Effective LD Teaching Practice: The Teaching/Learning Process (Chapter 4)

This chapter from a larger publication describes three key guidelines for LD-appropriate instructional design and includes a discussion of specific teaching strategies for the content areas of reading, spelling, and math.


Title: Learning Disability: Life after High School

In this article, the authors provide guidelines and summarize research on the challenges faced by adults with LD when transitioning to post-secondary schooling and employment. It also highlights issues around disclosure of learning disabilities and requesting appropriate accommodations for a course of study in college or to perform essential functions on the job.


Title: Literature review of ESOL for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities

This literature review aims to provide a background for the development of research on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.


Research Papers/Articles


Title: The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia

This article reviews recent advances in the neurobiology of dyslexia and their implications for adults with dyslexia.


Title: Understanding the Complexities of Offenders’ Special Learning Needs

Missouri and Ohio instituted holistic screenings to obtain specific information on offenders’ underlying learning challenges (including learning disabilities) that could lead to more effective instructional programming.


4.   Student Persistence


Click here to read about Making it Worth the Stay: Findings from the New England Adult Learner Persistence Project.


"The New England Learner Persistence (NELP) Project was a collaboration between the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC)/World Education and its member states. The goal of the project was to improve adult learner persistence and outcomes in order for adult learners to meet their educational and related life goals.

Over the spring 2008 semester, 18 New England programs implemented one or more new persistence strategies and documented the qualitative and quantitative impact on student persistence. This report synthesizes the results of those investigations." adult education in the context of Career Pathways. 


5.   Transitions:  Contextualization Toolkit - Breaking Through Practice Guide  

Click here  to access a website where you can access a link to download the Breaking Through Practice Guide.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) developed the Breaking Through Practice Guide to help practitioners serve adults who have low literacy and math levels and who want to succeed in postsecondary education … The Practice Guide has four components, each devoted to a “high leverage strategy” that community colleges and other programs can adopt to increase their success with low-skilled younger and older adults.

·       Accelerated learning

·       Comprehensive support services

·       Labor market payoffs

·       Aligning programs for low-skilled adults


6.   Writing Discussion Tidbits

Click here  to access all of the postings from a very interesting Writing Discussion. 


GED Writing Test

Stephanie Moran writes:  I asked GEDTS for an answer to this, and yes, students fail the MC portion far more frequently than they do the essay portion—the hoop is incredibly wide when it comes to what passes for a 2 (minimum score for passing the essay portion) on the essay


Grammar Instruction

Charles MacArthur, guest speaker on Writing Discussion, writes:  In my view, there are two different general sources of grammar problems. First, as Barbara mentioned, students who are not native speakers or who speak a variant of English (e.g., African American vernacular) will make errors in Standard English if they write the way they speak. They need to learn to code-switch -- to write and speak standard English in formal situations. Second, writing is more complex and demanding syntactically than spoken language. The sentences are longer and use more conjunctions and modifiers and word order is more important. We are also less tolerant of errors in written language. Students who speak standard English can rely on their sense of correctness -- usually, so exercises in sentence building and sentence combining can work well if combined with asking students to judge which sentence is clear and sounds right. Students whose home language is not standard English will need more instruction. In some cases, rules will be helpful, but in general, my view is that teaching patterns through discussion and repeated practice is the key. That's true in learning a foreign language, I believe, as well -- learning dialogues, building sentences based on patterns. Rules will help students correct errors after the fact, but only patterns will lead to fluency.


Reference for Writing

Kelly Almond writes:  One of the biggest hurdles with Adult Learners and writing that I have found is getting them to accept that their personal experiences are a genuine reference to their writing. Often they discredit this as a credible source for material. They also have a fear of the writing assignment as a bigger undertaking than it is, they seem to want to see it as a research paper or some much larger entity than the basic essay that we ask for.


Writing Strategies

Charles MacArthur, guest speaker on Writing Discussion, writes:  When I explain strategy instruction, I usually try to separate What strategies to teach and How to teach the strategies.
So, first,
What strategies? Strategies are based on our understanding about how proficient writers think while writing. Every strategy includes (a) some knowledge about text and (b) some thought process or procedure. So for example, in the persuasive writing strategy, the text knowledge was knowledge about how persuasive essays are organized. This sort of knowledge about text organization is common in writing instruction. Sometimes it is taught by using graphic organizers. When we teach revising strategies, the knowledge is about criteria for evaluating writing. The other part is the planning or revising process. For example, writers think about their audience and purpose, brainstorm ideas, use their text organization knowledge to help generate and organize ideas, etc. Often this process knowledge is
captured in steps in the strategy. There are a lot of strategies out there.

The more difficult aspect of strategy  instruction is
How to teach the strategies. There are a number of different approaches that vary in
emphasis, but nearly all of them involve explicit explanation of the strategy, think-aloud modeling to show students how to do it, and guided or scaffolded practice involving lots of interaction between teacher and students and among peers, and gradual development of independence.  A key part of explaining strategies is thinking aloud. Because strategies are cognitive processes, we make them visible by thinking aloud. We talk through the entire process from planning through writing and revising. Then we do it again but collaboratively with the students. When students try it on their own, we listen and talk to them about how they are using the strategy (sort of thinking aloud by the students) and give them feedback on how they are
using the strategy as well as on their writing.

Another important part of strategy instruction is
self-regulation. All approaches to strategy instruction aim for independent self-regulated use, but some like Graham and Harris’s Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) model emphasize it more. Self-regulation includes setting goals, selecting strategies, monitoring use of the strategy, time management, coping with difficulties, self-reinforcement, and self-evaluation. In writing, I think it is especially important to teach students to evaluate their own writing. Without the ability to self-evaluate, it is hard for students to make progress through practice writing. They practice but don’t know whether they are doing it right.



P.S.  Remember -- if you are having trouble with the links in this email, go to the Email Archives at the top of the MTLINCS homepage at .  Also if you no longer wish to receive this mailing, please let me know!  Thanks!


Norene Peterson
Adult Education Center
415 N. 30th
Billings, MT 59101