Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


Problems with the links in the email?

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



1.    Montana ABLE ShopTalk Summary


Click here to access ShopTalk Summary: 

·       January Conference 

·       MTLINCS

·       Directors’ Meeting

·       MABLE

·       ESL Conference

·       CollegeNow

·       Taskforce Updates

·       GED Update


2.  Research Snippet:  Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, National Academy of Sciences, 2012


In the November 12 email, MTLINCS cited statistics about literacy and its definition.  However, is that what literacy really is today?  Take a look at the info below.  Based on career information, literacy needs have evolved.


Literacy and the Workplace:  Definition Expanded


If anything, data from the NAAL and other surveys and assessments are likely to underestimate the problem of literacy in the United States. Literacy demands are increasing because of the rapid growth of information and communication technologies, while the literacy assessments to date have focused on the simplest forms of literacy skill. Most traditional employment has required reading directions, keeping records, and answering business communications, but today’s workers have very different roles. Employers stress that employees need higher levels of basic literacy in the workplace than they currently possess (American Manufacturing Association, 2010) and that the global economy calls for increasingly complex forms of literacy skill in this information age (Casner-Lotto and Benner, 2006). In a world in which computers do the routine, human value in the workplace rests increasingly on the ability to gather and integrate information from disparate sources to address novel situations and emergent problems, mediate among different viewpoints of the world (e.g., between an actuary’s and a customer’s view of what should be covered under an insurance policy), and collaborate on tasks that are too complex to be within the scope of one person. To earn a living, people are likely to need forms of literacy skill and to have proficiencies in the use of literacy tools that have not been routinely defined and assessed.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 29

Reading Statistics

A significant portion of the U.S. population is likely to continue, at least in the near term, to experience inadequate literacy and require instruction as adults: the most recent main National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (2009) shows that only 38 percent of twelfth graders performed at or above the proficient level in reading; this achievement was higher than the percentage in 2005 but not significantly different from earlier assessment years. Although 74 percent of twelfth graders were at or above basic, 26 percent were below basic near the end of high school … These numbers include students identified as learning English as a second language: only 22 percent of them were at or above basic reading levels near the end of high school; 78 percent were below basic. Results were similar for twelfth graders with disabilities: 38 percent were at or above basic reading levels; 62 percent were below basic.

SOURCE: Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 Reading Assessment (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 29

Writing Statistics

Similarly, according to the 2007 assessment of writing by the NAEP, only 24 percent of twelfth graders had proficient writing skills, with many fewer of the students who were learning English or with learning disabilities showing proficiency (40 and 44 percent, respectively) compared with those not identified as English learners or as having a learning disability (83 and 85 percent, respectively).

SOURCE: Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 Reading Assessment (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).

Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 30


Hmmmmm … what about those students who dropped out?  (Please note that no math statistics were cited yet because the information was taken from the 2009 Reading Assessment.)

The NAEP is likely to underestimate the proportion of twelfth graders who need to develop their literacy outside the K-12 system because it does not include students who dropped out of school before the assessment, many of whom are likely to have inadequate literacy.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 30

Any surprises in the research?  Is this a snapshot of whom we serve?

Coming next:  Who are being served?

National Information

3.  Career Pathways:  College Readiness and Soft Skills

Taken from LINCS Community:  Evidence-based Professional Development

Click here  to access Education Week article, Soft Skills Pushed as Part of College Readiness.


Although the article is in reference to high school students, implications for nontraditional students exist.


College enrollment is growing, but graduation rates remain flat. Among industrialized nations, the United States ranks ninth in the world in enrollment but last in completion rates, according to an analysis of 18 countriesRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


4.  ESL:  Formative Assessment Course


Taken from LINCS Community:  Adult English Language Learners

ELL-U has a new, no-cost online course on formative assessment, authored by the Center for Applied Linguistics’ Sarah Young. Formative Assessment to Inform Quality Adult ESL Instruction (OC03) is designed to help instructors of adult English language learners:

·        define formative assessment and explain its integral role in systematically planning and delivering adult ESL instruction;

·        select and design a variety of formative assessment activities that engage learners in setting their own goals and monitoring their own progress in English language development; and

·        use appropriate oral and written feedback techniques that inform learners of their progress toward meeting their goals in meaningful and comprehensible ways.

To register for online courses, you must be a member of the ELL-U network. Registration is free. Simply visit to get started. Once you are a registered ELL-U user, go to and click the Register Now button under the online course description.

 5.  Math:   Teaching for Understanding or Learning by Memorizing

Taken from LINCS Community:  Math and Numeracy

Click here  to access Reinventing Math Class article.

Here is a news story about "Reinventing Math Class".  Although it focuses on 3rd through 5th grades. I believe it is relevant to adult education. Are you an instructor that teaches for understanding or that teaches concepts by showing procedures only? Like many of you, I struggle with teaching just what the learner needs to pass the GED Exam, make an educational gain, or move up a math level; but I also want my learners to remember what I am teaching them, too. Teaching for understanding can take a bit more time instructionally because learners need that time to explore, develop, and reflect on what is really going on with the math they are learning. They may even need to be untaught bad habits they learned when they were in school, which takes even more time. Time is something adult educators do not always have an abundance of with learners since some have spotty attendance or dedication to their education. So what do we do …

Brooke Istas, SME


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