Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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1.    MT ABLE Shoptalk Summary


Click here  to access ShopTalk Summary and topics.

·       Program Monitoring

·       January Trainings Report

·       MABLE:  Check on posttests and meeting targets

·       National Training Institute Initiative for Teaching to New Assessment

·       High School Equivalency Update

·       Program Policy

·       Directors Meeting

·       CollegeNow!

·       LINCS Regional Training

·       ESL Conference

·       National Scene


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 need 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.    MT ABLE SIA Update


Click here for Standards in Action Resources.


Have you checked out the ABLE Toolbox for new classroom resources?  Click here.


5. Research Snippet: Adult College Completion Toolkit, U.S. Department of Education OVAE


Last time MTLINCS presented information about what state administrators can do to encourage completion of postsecondary education.  The Adult College Completion Toolkit also takes a look at what local practitioners can do.


Adult learners often can be discouraged by adult education and developmental education course work because they do not see a clear link to their college and career goals.

Adult College Completion Toolkit, p.27 at


1.     The Toolkit suggests that local practitioners can do several things to promote completion.  One such thing would be to “create several basic skills programs leading to industry certification or college credit.”  


Many of these programs use the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) model developed by Washington state, which pairs two teachers—an adult education instructor and a vocational instructor—to provide basic skills instruction and workforce training.

Adult College Completion Toolkit, p.27 at


One Montana program (Billings) has been offering the Career Advanced Program which works toward providing industry certification based upon students achieving success on the ACT WorkKeys test in the areas of Reading Information, Locating Information, Applied Mathematics, and Business Writing along with successfully completing a variety of curriculum specific classes. 


How has your program helped students see the link to college and career goals?


2.     The Toolkit also suggests that local practitioners offer services that include education and career counseling and learning communities.”

Adult College Completion Toolkit, p.27 at


Most Montana programs offer career counseling via PEPTalk.  However, have Montana programs created learning communities?  If so, what are they?  One such community certainly exists in the Great Falls ESL program.  The ESL state “community” hosted by Bozeman, Great Falls, and Missoula reaches out to one another via the professional ESL Wiki at and the student wiki at .


3.  The third suggestion the Toolkit makes “to partner with postsecondary education institutions and business and industry.”

Adult College Completion Toolkit, p.28 at


Partnering with others takes a commitment to communication.  CollegeNow! grant recipients – Miles City Community College, Highlands College, Great Falls College – maintain solid communication.  The Anaconda and Deer Lodge programs have developed “appropriate curriculum aligned with college course work” through collaborative work with Highlands College.  Other Montana programs do the same.


4.  The final strategy the Toolkit suggests is “to use technology to enhance services.” Montana programs have been using technology on a regular basis.  However, have the programs been using Open Educational Resources (OER)?  The Toolkit reminds readers that OERs


… allow local programs to freely use, distribute, and, in some cases, adapt digital instructional materials and other learning technologies. OER tools save time and resources by allowing programs to build on each other’s work instead of starting from scratch.

Adult College Completion Toolkit, p.28 at

One such suggestion is using NASA’s educational portal.  Take a look at the Science postings in the last and current issue of MTLINCS and peruse some of the suggested OER links.


Montana programs are adapting to moving students forward to postsecondary and career goals.  Want to look at the other side of the coin?  An interesting exchange is now occurring about the return on higher education investment on the LINCS Career Pathways Discussion.  Take a look at the snippets below under Certificates.


Coming Next: Call to Action and Wrap-up

National Information

6.  Adult Literacy Research Center Webinar

Taken from LINCS Community

Introduction to the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy

Free Webinar Event: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 2:30 - 3:30 PM EST

In September of 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded funding for a five-year research center for adult literacy. This center is dedicated to study adults who read between the third and eighth grade levels. Three major research projects will occur over the next 5 years focusing on exploring underlying cognitive and motivational processes that contribute to or impede reading development, testing the adequacy of commonly used reading related assessments with adult learners, and developing and evaluating a multi-component instructional program to help learners improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Learn more about the activities, goals and timelines in a national webinar to be held on Thursday, March 7th from 2:30-3:30 Eastern Time. The Principal Investigators of the Center will discuss their assessment battery and their approach toward developing and piloting a reading intervention for ABE Learners.

Please register at: Registration is limited!

(If clicking on the above link does not work, copy/paste the URL into your browser)

7.  Certificates

Taken from LINCS CommunityCareer Pathways

According to a recent report (Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees) “The postsecondary certificate has become a cost-effective tool for increasing postsecondary educational attainment and gainful employment. Certificates are a homegrown American invention and are expanding rapidly in response to a wide range of educational and labor market demands. ” The full report can be downloaded here at

The report also suggests that two out of three workers who have a certificate and a college degree, earned the certificate first and so certificates can serve as a stepping stone to a college degree. There is enough evidence of economic returns of certificates although the payoff is understandably dependent on the focus and the local labor market. More than half of the certificates are granted by public institutions while the rest are by private colleges …

Do you have a career planning focus in your program? Are your students interested in certificates that are being offered at your local public or private institution?

Priyanka Sharma, National College Transition Network

Response Snippet #1 by Tom Sticht

Underemployed and Overinvested: Should We Be Trying to Increase College Degree Attainment?


… For now the question is how wise is the general policy of college for all. In their January 2013 policy paper entitled Why Are Recent College Graduates Underemployed? University Enrollments and Labor-Market Realities, Richard Vedder, Christopher Denhart, and Jonathan Robe of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity examine the wisdom of the college for everyone movement being spurred by the federal government. Here are some extensive quotes from the policy paper: 


Quote:  ”The mismatch between the educational requirements for various occupations and the amount of education obtained by workers is large and growing significantly over time. The problem can be viewed two ways. In one sense, we have an “underemployment” problem; College graduates are underemployed, performing jobs which require vastly less educational tools than they possess. The flip side of that, though, is that we have an “overinvestment” problem: We are churning out far more college graduates than required by labor-market imperatives. The supply of jobs requiring college degrees is growing more slowly than the supply of those holding such degrees. Hence, more and more college graduates are crowding out high-school graduates in such blue-collar, low-skilled jobs as taxi driver, firefighter, and retail sales clerks.59 Credential inflation is pervasive. And, as Hernstein and Murray noted nearly two decades ago, one by-product of this phenomenon is a dumbing down of the college curriculum; as they put it “credentialism… is part of the problem, not the solution.”60

Response Snippet #2 by David Rosen

The Return on a Higher Education Investment


… Based on the quotes you have provided, Tom, I am not sure that the January 2013 policy paper entitled Why Are Recent College Graduates Underemployed? is asking the right question. The answer to a broad brushstroke question such as "Should we be trying to increase college degree attainment?" has to be "It depends." It depends on why someone wants higher education, and what s/he wants the outcome(s) to be. The problem is that "going to college" isn't necessarily a good economic investment. It depends on what you study and what kind of degree you (do or don't) get …

This is some great “devil’s advocate” dialogue going on.  To read more, register for the Career Pathways discussion at LINCS, .  What do you think?

8.  College Webinar:  Transforming Adult Education to Better Prepare Adult Learners to Successfully Transition to Postsecondary Education and Training

Taken from LINCS Community

The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) of the U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), is hosting a series of community college webinars in 2013 to highlight the important work of these institutions and the many contributions they make to the communities they serve. Each webinar will bring together experts from the field and local practitioners to discuss some of the key challenges these institutions face and highlight promising institutional practices and policy changes from around the country that aim to increase postsecondary student success.

The first webinar, which will be held on Thursday, March 7 from 1:00 to 2:30pm EST, will focus on transforming adult education to better prepare adult learners to successfully transition to postsecondary education and training. Barbara Endel from Jobs for the Future will be present to discuss the work of the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in scaling up its adult education reform model that integrates ABE and postsecondary occupational training. Judy Alamprese from Abt Associates will also share key findings from her recent study on transforming reading instruction in adult education programs to better prepare adult learners for the demands of college-level coursework. The webinar will also highlight the work of LaGuardia Community College to build bridge programs that ease the transition of students from ABE and GED programs to postsecondary education and training.

You can register for this event at the following link:

The webinar series will continue this spring, focusing on topics such as promising community college correctional and reentry education work, the strengths and challenges of the U.S. postsecondary CTE system, and the role of community colleges in career pathways systems, among others. More information is forthcoming. We look forward to your engagement on these important issues affecting the adult education, career and technical education, and community college communities.

If you have any questions regarding the webinar series, please contact:

Matthew Valerius, Education Program Specialist, Community College Initiatives, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education

9.  Science Open Education Resources

Taken from LINCS Community:  Science

Open Education Resources: NASA Earth Observatory:

This website is an old favorite for use in adult basic education. Through satellite images, one can learn a lot about Earth science/space science, geography, technology, the uses of mathematics, and current events (meteor fragments over the Urals, for example). Here is a brief sample of the riches of this resource:

Image of the Day:

The image for February 27th shows ocean sediment swirling around Cape Cod, Massachusetts as a result of “the erosive power of a recent New England storm”. You can sign up to receive a daily satellite image, complete with connections to science and its practical applications.

Earth at Night 2012:

What are the major population centers of the world?

City Lights of the United States 2012:

Can you identify the major cities on this map of the United States, based upon the night-time lighted areas of the country?

Korea and the Yellow Sea:

What does this night-time satellite image say about population as well as use of resources?

Great Graph Match:

In this activity, you analyze some temperature and precipitation graphs from different cities and trying to match them up to the correct biome where they would be located.


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