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 High School Equivalency Test


Did you miss MTLINCS email last week?  If so, then you missed important information about the Montana High School Equivalency Test.


Click here to access the 3/18/13 email in the Email Archives.


Please contact Margaret Bowles, if you have any immediate questions.


2.    MT ABLE ShopTalk


Click here to access ShopTalk Summary and topics.

·       High School Equivalency Assessment

·       Directors’ Meeting

·       ESL Meeting


3.    MT ABLE Program Directors’ Only Meeting


WHEN:         April 9 – 10

WHERE:       Holiday Inn Downtown in Helena




Don’t forget the following:

·       A copy of the TABE Norms Book Complete Battery and Survey All Levels for Form 9 and 10

·       Laptop

·       MABLE flash drive with the following downloaded

o   Cohort report (be prepared to discuss how many potential students in each cohort)

o   The classroom report

o   Table 4 (very recent)

·       A copy of your last extension application 2011

4.  MPAEA Conference 2013:  Winds of Change

LINCS Strand

Looking for some interesting breakouts at the MPAEA 2013 Conference?  How lucky for those of you attending MPAEA!  Click here to access the LINCS strand at MPAEA.

Click here for more information about the MPAEA Conference 2013. 

April 10 – 12

Cheyenne, WY

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


State of the Research


Based upon the last snippet of information from the research, we know that in the area of reading and writing, the knowledge and skills of the instructors are highly uneven. A few years ago, Montana ABLE provided reading training for programs based upon the most current research by Dr. Rosalind Davison and Dr. John Kruidenier.  However, as the research points out and has been documented throughout this review, there is very little research. 


There is a severe shortage of research on effective reading and writing instruction for adults, despite the large population of U.S. adults needing to develop their literacy skills (Baer, Kutner, and Sabatini, 2009; Kutner et al., 2007) and the fact that adult literacy instruction has been offered for many years (Sticht, 1988).


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 116


Why does this shortage exist?  This will certainly not come as any surprise to those of you in the field.  Students do not stay long enough in a program for research to be completed.  Persistence, persistence, persistence!  Are you tired of hearing that?  It is our reality, isn’t it?  Is it becoming a reality for younger students who find themselves dropping out of school?  Why?


1. Progress in adult literacy research has been hampered by the high attrition of research participants.

2. The research has lacked systematic focus on the development of reading and writing skills.

3. The research, whether quantitative or qualitative, does not include methods for systematically identifying associations or cause-effect relations between an instructional practice and outcomes.

4. Research funders and thus researchers of literacy have chosen to focus mainly on preschool and K-12 populations, a situation that has constrained the amount of research on how to further develop the literacy of adults outside school.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 103


Does the research indicate what intervention strategies are working?  Again limited information exists.


To elaborate on these priorities, only a handful of interventions have been tested to develop the skills of low-literate adults in adult basic education, adult secondary education, or colleges. Although gains have been reported, they are not substantial for this population either in terms of the size of intervention effects or gains observed against the amount of gain needed to be functionally literate. More needs to be known about the features of instruction and the intensity and duration required to maximize gains for adults who vary widely in their literacy skills. 


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 102


Although research is showing that interventions … did not differ from “business as usual” in adult education programs, despite being more systematic and structured in their approach…, one exception did occur in a study done by Judy Alamprese.


One exception was a structured decoding curriculum that included an emphasis on spelling and showed gains on some decoding and word recognition measures (Alamprese et al., 2011).


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 87


The research also states:


For some adults in these studies, shorter term deliberate instruction on fluency and phonological processing helped reading comprehension (Abadzi, 2003; Burton et al., 2010; Durgunoğlu, Oney, and Kuscul, 2003). Other adults showed little or no  improvement, however, consistent with findings from the large-scale interventions for low-literate adults discussed earlier. These results point to the need to study in detail why progress in developing these skills is slow for many adults and why certain interventions are effective for some adults but not others.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 91


Consistent with K-12 research, it is likely that multiple approaches, if designed following principles of learning and instruction reviewed in this volume, may prove to be effective. Regardless of the approach, it can be assumed that the instruction should create a positive climate for adults that draws on their knowledge and life experiences, uses materials and learning activities that develop valued knowledge and skills, and supports adults as much as possible in regulating their own learning. It is also important to ensure that instructional activities to develop such skills as word recognition and decoding are provided.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 101


What might be a priority for research?


A priority for research is to experiment with a variety of ways to more fully engage learners for longer periods of time to determine how to maximize literacy gains depending on the particular skills to be developed, the characteristics of the learner, and the features and intensity of the instruction. An additional priority is to develop more valid ways of measuring adults’ literacy gains than grade level equivalents with assessments normed for the population and designed to show progress in the specific component skills targeted and related improvements in valued literacy capabilities.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 89


Take a look at the posting below about the new Center for Adult Literacy and its focus.  Research is on the horizon!  You may also want to look at the discussion regarding learning gains being held in the Evidence-based Professional Development community.


Does this mean that we stop trying various intervention strategies?  Of course not!  Remember the quote last time by S. J. Perelman:  “Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.”  As Montana ABLE professionals, we continue on our own path of learning.  And the music continues:


… Ain’t no mountain high enough,

Ain’t no valley low enough,

Ain’t no river wide enough,

To get “Montana ABLE” from getting to you …


 Stay tuned: Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

National Information

6.  Center for Adult Literacy:  Webinar about Reading Project

Taken from LINCS Community:  Program Management

Since there has been such little research in the adult literacy arena, having the Center for Adult Literacy focus their research in the reading area may be a boon to adult literacy.

Click here to access the Center for Adult Literacy. 

The focus of our center is to address these areas by conducting research that will: (1) explore individual differences in reading-related abilities and motivations for learning so that we can better tailor instruction to adult learners, (2) design a reading program and an interactive online reading tutor that, can more effectively meet adult learners’ needs, and (3) conduct pilot studies to assess the potential of our instructional programs in helping adults improve their literacy skills.

Click here to access the introductory webinar.

Highlights from the Webinar

CSAL researchers described one of their main projects: 

·        Explore the reading skills as well as the underlying motivational and cognitive attributes of adult learners

·        Refinement and development of a multiple-component reading intervention that includes a web-based, animated e-tutor

CSAL project extends the original NIFL reading components research by looking at more aspects that are related to reading, e.g. morphological awareness, reasoning, memory, general knowledge, background information, self-esteem, motivation, etc.

CSAL will be building a repository of text materials by using the text analyzer at .

7.  Dyslexia:  A Landmark Case – A Video

Taken from LINCS Community:  Disabilities in Adult Education

The National Center on Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is an excellent source of LD news, information, and resources.

They have posted a resource that you may find interesting. Dr. Marilyn Bartlett is a successful professor of law and education. She is also a person with dyslexia. Her request to use appropriate accommodations while taking her bar exam was denied. She filed a lawsuit to fight for her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990—and won!

Her story is informative and inspiring. You can view the video at

Rochelle Kenyon, SME

8.  Learning Gains

Taken from LINCS Community:  Evidence-based Professional Development

Interested in a discussion about learning gain?  Click here

Snippets from the discussion:

Most states use the TABE to measure progress. You can "teach to the test" - that is, practice only those skills that appear on the tests. The California and Massachusetts tests may be testing for concepts and the application of concepts in new situations …

Another thing to consider is the difference between the TABE full battery and the TABE survey forms of the test. On the survey, guessing right on one or two questions can bump the score up quite a bit …


Another thought -

The Federal reports use the TABE because it is an easy test to measure. People can pass the TABE (all procedural, computation questions) and not be able to pass the GED (all application, "word problem" questions) …


I also wonder how many ABE students in the country as a whole are ESL students who have improved their language skills to the point that they are tested on the TABE? …

9.  OVAE Blog

Taken from LINCS Community Notice

The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) has new blog that will provide you with up-to-date information about OVAE events, presentations, highlights from our visits to the field, and more. Visit the blog online here. Or, sign up for the RSS feed to get updates via your favorite RSS reader.

10.  Technology:  Google Hangouts

Taken from LINCS Community:  Technology and Learning

Google Hangouts:  a form of video chatting.

This may be a way for Montana ABLE professionals to communicate in a virtual meeting.


Click here  for more information.


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