Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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1.    MT ABLE Program Directors’ Only Meeting


WHEN:         April 9 – 10

WHERE:       Holiday Inn Downtown in Helena




Click here for an overview of AGENDA items and a list of “assignments”.  Please note that TABE training this year will be geared toward directors.


2.    MT ABLE Assessment Standards and Guidelines Update


Click here  to access the Assessment Standards and Guidelines Update.


The old Student Profile has been removed from the appendices of the document, and the new 2013 Student Profile form has been inserted into the appendices.


3.    MABLE Update


Classroom Report


Check out the new Classroom Report in MABLE!  Do you need to find out which of your students needs an Instructional Year Retest or need to be post tested?  MABLE’s new Classroom Report can help you out.


Click here for step-by-step instructions.


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




The information from the last summary of the report included some data and perceptions regarding persistence.  Have you had a chance to look at the info yet?  Did you know that the research states the following?


On average, learners participated in adult education programs for less than 100 hours over the course of a program year, according to the Adult Education Program Survey. Only about one-third of adults made reading gains equivalent to a grade level during the program year.   


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 94


So, yes, making an EFL gain is difficult.  How is your program doing?  Do you see something similar happening?  Are there any magic wands out there?  If you know of a strategy that is working, now is the time to share it with other programs.


Literacy Instructors


Montana ABLE will begin taking a look at Teacher Effectiveness in the near future.  In the meantime, here is what the research is saying about Literacy Instructors.


Adult basic education teachers


• work mostly part time.

• may leave the field more often than K-12 teachers.

• are often required to teach in multiple subject areas.

• have scant formal education related to teaching adults, although many are qualified and have taught in K-12.

• have in-service preparation as their primary form of professional development.

• are not consistently funded to participate in in-service professional development.

• have access mostly to short-term training and conferences.

• are hindered by systemic constraints from participating in professional development.


SOURCE: Adapted from Smith and Gillespie (2007).


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 96


For those of you who have attended national or regional conferences, you have found the information above to be true.  Most providers wear many hats.  The research continues to state the following about the teaching of reading and writing.


Although some part-time and full-time adult literacy instructors have K-12 teaching certifications and have taught in K-12 schools, evidence suggests that many teachers of grades 1 through 12 do not feel confident in teaching reading and writing and are likely to lack the requisite knowledge and skills … Teachers with limited knowledge of language structure will be less able to teach effectively to learners at any age …


With respect to writing, one-third of primary grade teachers have reported that they were poorly prepared to teach writing by their college teacher preparation program (Cutler and Graham, 2008). The number increased to 66 percent in grades 4 to 6 (Gilbert and Graham, 2010), dropped to 47 percent in middle school (Graham et al., 2010) but appears most problematic among high school teachers (Cutler and Graham, 2008; Graham and Gilbert, 2010), with 71 percent reporting that they were inadequately prepared (Kiuhara, Graham, and Hawken, 2009). Although no data were identified on the preparation of instructors of adults specific to reading and writing, it is reasonable to assume from the information available that the knowledge and skills of the instructors are highly uneven. Many instructors also are likely to have a view of the trajectory for adult literacy instruction that fits better with the world of formal K-12 schooling developed prior to the information age than to adult learners and the levels and forms of literacy needed today.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 97


Teaching in ABLE programs provides many opportunities and challenges.  Montana ABLE instructors need to continue to find ways to communicate.  Reading the information provided by these research snippets is a start.  Participating in the ESL wiki at and locating and sharing resources on the ABLE Toolbox at other ways. 


Many challenges do exist in a large, rural state; however, recognizing the strength and direction the Montana ABLE system can provide and the commitment Montana program professionals have continues to help Montana ABLE advance.  As S. J. Perelman states, “Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.” 


Every day is a new day – filled with opportunities for learning and growth!  Enjoy the ride!


Stay tuned: State of the Research


5.  MPAEA Conference 2013:  Winds of Change

Click here for information about the MPAEA Conference 2013.  Registration and Scholarships are also available on this website.

April 10 – 12

Cheyenne, WY

National Information

6.  Lurkers

Taken from LINCS Community:  Technology and Learning

Are you a lurker?  Don’t worry!  That is still participation!  Time is precious for everyone, and gleaning anything from a snippet is good.  Hopefully, some snippets will encourage you to find time to investigate the information in more depth – just to make sure the snippet has not been taken out of context.

… I wanted to add that lurkers are important participants in a CoP. I believe Wenger calls this legitimate peripheral participation. We may not be posting and commenting, but defining us as lurkers means we are on the "edge" reading what you wrote. Lurking (peripheral participation) is a natural and necessary part of a CoP.  These discussion threads are often comprised of subject matter experts (or so it seems to me); lurkers are gleaning valuable information despite our invisible presence …

Susan W in Virginia


Time is precious!  MTLINCS is trying to be your guide!


Sure, we have a lot of sites and publications to turn to for perspective on adult ed, but it's too fragmented for most adult educators to access what they need when they need it. Kind of like telling your GED student to go to a couple free sites to study and they'll be fine come test day. (Computer-literacy may be a factor in both cases.) There needs to be glue to hold it together or a guide, basically, a personal learning network that acts like your own personal PD specialist who keeps you informed and up to speed. A tall order, maybe, but it's time that our field started reaping the benefits of the progress that's been made with information technology.

Jason Guard

7.  Science:  Integrating Science into ABE

Taken from LINCS Community:  Science

How does one integrate science into ABE?

I like this question. I like to teach students how to read and think about science in everyday areas. Here are two ways I do that.


We take an assumption and put it to test. For example, they surveyed the class about water drinking habits (bottle or tap), but then they conducted a taste test of bottle vs. tap water and found that they may have no clear preference. They learned the scientific method, created tables and graphs, and wrote about results.


I believe in addition to health science, students should be able to understand the latest scientific news, be it Mars exploration or advances in understanding how the brain works. Discover magazine or Popular Science are great current resources. Pre-teaching vocabulary may be necessary.


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