Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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1.    Montana High School Equivalency Test – HiSET


Click here to access information about HiSET Montana.


Interesting read, Testy Battle Over Tests, at


2.    Program Highlights:  Graduation in Billings


Click here to read and view information about the Billings Graduation Ceremony.


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




We know that there is a lack of research about the adult learner; therefore, much of the information that is presented in Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Options for Practice and Research has been an extension from the research on K-12 populations.  We also know that we all learn better when we have input into the learning process and choice.  Just because we “build it”, does not mean our students will come and stay.  There are still lingering factors that affect persistence.


Motivation, especially in adolescence, comes in part from personal perceptions of having a choice in one’s activities. Researchers have argued that the structures of rules, assignment of classes, and grading in secondaryschools match poorly with adolescent needs for more space in which to make and take responsibility for decisions about actions and self-regulation (Eccles and Midgley, 1989; Eccles, Lord, and Midgley, 1991; Eccles et al., 1993a, 1993b; MacIver and Epstein, 1993). Supporting this view, Connell and Wellborn (1991) found that young people’s beliefs—particularly those who are at risk (see Connell, Spencer, and Aber, 1994)—about their ability to control, and thus self-regulate, academic and social outcomes depended on the availability of contexts and experiences that allowed them some autonomy while also guiding and facilitating their decision making.


So we “build it” and offer choices, but still guide and facilitate learning.  Ours is not an easy task.  Do we individualize instruction or provide group instruction?


Research also suggests that ability grouping and other related practices may have negative side effects on resilience and self-regulation (Blumenfeld, Mergendoller, and Swarthout, 1987; Guthrie et al., 1996; Urdan, Midgley, and Anderman, 1998; Wilkinson and Fung, 2002).


Ah, yes, there must be a happy medium.  Mix it up!  However, make sure that instruction has purpose and meaning.  Make sure that it is answering the students’ whys.


Social Relationships and Interactions


According to sociocultural theories of literacy, reading and writing are activities that participants perceive to have  meaning in specific social and cultural contexts, which impart their own motivations (see Heath, 1983;

Scribner and Cole, 1981). Classroom collaboration is one such activity because it fosters discourse practices in the community, from which the participants derive motivation. Research from varied disciplines points to several ways in which interpersonal or group activity—variously termed “cooperation,” “collaboration,” and “collective.


OK, while filling in the learning gaps some individuals have, we engage our learners in meaningful instruction and have them collaborate in order to achieve some community support.  Yet we still must be aware that our students will many times have to prioritize their actions.


Effective functioning in adulthood requires selectively allocating effort toward the most important and pressing goals in accord with the opportunities available (Heckhausen, Wrosch, and Schulz, 2010), and well-being appears to be enhanced in adulthood among those who engage in such “selective optimization” (Baltes and Baltes, 1990; Freund and Baltes, 1998, 2002; Riediger, Li, and Lindenberger, 2006; Wrosch, Heckhausen, and Lachman, 2000). In this light, lack of persistence in adult literacy instruction, while appearing to be a poor choice, actually may be a self-regulated, adaptive response …

… it is unlikely that adolescents and adults with pressing social, familial, and economic demands on their lives will make the time and effort necessary to persist unless strategies are in place to help them cope in significant and sustained ways with these demands. Adult literacy programs can offer significant and sustained means of supporting persistence …


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 168-178


To quote a recent GED graduate, Christina Tsosie:  You can do it; anybody can do it.  It just takes hard work and determination to succeed in furthering your education. .


So what do we do to help our adult learners.  We do exactly what Christina suggests:  work hard and stay determined to succeed – even in times of adversity.  We even do what the research suggests and implement strategies to help students persist.


We are not yet finished exploring what the research says, for Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Options for Practice and Research is an in-depth study.  We still have the following items left to cover:  technology; learning, reading, and writing disabilities; and language and literacy development of English language learners.  Those items will be covered during the next program year. 


In the meantime, you may want to review everything that has been posted so far.  Just because MTLINCS built this “monologue” does not mean you have read it. Go to  In fact, review it and decide if you agree or disagree!   Learning takes place when a learning community exists; dialogue is much better than a monologue.  Be willing to share your thoughts.  What a better way to enjoy your summer than to formulate your opinion of what you do and why! 

National Information

4.  Career Pathways:  Crossing the Bridging

Taken from LINCS Community:  Postsecondary Completion

Crossing the Bridge research on 2004 GED passers found that 43% of GED passers went on to postsecondary education (Zhang, et al., 2011). However, from 2004 through 2010 very few who enrolled actually graduated. Research Allies for Lifelong Learning conducted follow-up analyses using the same dataset and learned that the number of semesters the GED passer enrolls relates positively to postsecondary completion. Click on Crossing the Bridge at for more information. For those who are curious about how GED passers did in their home states, this website also offers state-by-state data on college enrollment and graduation for GED passers. If 8 semesters really is a tipping point, how can adult educators use this information to prepare ASE learners to persist in college?

5.  College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education

Taken from LINCS Community:  Evidence-based Professional Development

Snippet from Discussion on CCR

In the newly released College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education report, the author, Susan Pimentel, states on page 6 that the standards will benefit all states in these ways:

·        Consistent expectations so that all students will be prepared for college without remediation;

·        Partnerships between programs and states to combine resources to create materials and tools that will aid with implementation of the standards;

·        Student preparation for the new assessments using the skills identified by the standards for earning a high school diploma or its equivalent.

How will this impact you?

Critical Reading Skills


I read this report with interest. Based on the supporting research, one of the most important predictors of success is the students ability to read and understand a variety of complex texts throughout the content areas. I think this is a huge statement when combined with reports that indicates students are reading at least 4 academic grade levels below where they should be (ACT 2006)


I don't look at is as a disconnect from reality. I look at it as an opportunity for us to step up and get our students ready to be successful in their lives – to give our students opportunities that they may not have had before.

CCR Link

Click here to access the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education

6.  College Readiness Resource

Taken from National Family Literacy List

Resource taken from eSchool News

Access free college readiness resources from, a Website that provides 33,000 free academic tutorials on a variety of subjects.

SOPHIA has launched a new program called “Operation College Success,” offering free tools to help address the issue of college readiness and affordability.

Go to:

Check out the tutorials at include such things as note-taking skills, active listening, content areas such as English, Sciences, Mathematics, Learning Strategies, etc.

7.  Financial Webinar: Financial Literacy Materials for Adults with Limited English Reading Proficiency

Taken from LINCS Community

Updated Info

Save the date for a free LINCS Community webinar on Thursday, May 30, 2013 from 2-3PM EDT.  Please RSVP by emailing Dorjan Chaney at Log in info will be emailed directly to you as we approach the webinar date.

Deborah Kennedy and Miriam Burt of the Center for Applied Linguistics, as well as Jennifer Leach of the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection will host a 60-minute webinar. The purpose of this event is to share free, downloadable instructional and informational materials for practitioners working with adult learners with low literacy in English – both native and non-native English speakers. These materials can be used in classrooms, in one-on-one tutoring, or even by students themselves working online.

8.  Health Literacy:  Practitioner's Guides on Health Literacy and Interactive Literacy Parent Interventions

Taken from LINCS Community:  Diversity and Literacy

The Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy has published two new practitioner’s guides:

Parent Interventions and Interactive Literacy Activities (Elisabeth L. Grinder and Blaire Willson Toso)

The purpose of this guide is to inform family literacy practitioners and other educators who work with families about the benefits of targeted skill training for parents that move beyond encouraging parents to be involved with their child and to provide examples of such initiatives. This guide outlines the research literature on parent intervention studies, offers cultural and literacy considerations for working with diverse populations, and concludes with suggestions for types of trainings and activities that have proven successful.

Addressing the Health Literacy Needs of Adult Education Students (Angela Mooney and Esther Prins)

The purpose of this guide is to inform practitioners about the current descriptions of health literacy, the relevance of the topic to adult education and family literacy practice, and ways to incorporate health literacy into the classroom.

9.  Interviews with Adult Learners:  Research Finding

Taken from LINCS Community:  Program Management

In 2011 the Perceptions and Pathways research project interviewed 85 adult learners in 7 states on their educational experiences from secondary education through GED testing and college. Research Allies for Lifelong Learning presents new research findings from these interviews. Adult learners share their perceptions of their experiences in adult education - and make some surprising recommendations for adult educators on what benefited them, how to improve services, and ideas to enhance recruitment. Click on Interviews with Adult Learners at for more information.

10.  Reading:  Digital Public Library

Taken from LINCS Community:  OVAE Connection

Digital Public Library Opens to the Public

Following two-and-a-half years of planning, the beta version of the discovery portal of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is now available. It contains some 2.4 million records of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions for use by students, teachers, scholars, and the public.

What is DPLA? It is the first public online-only library in the United States—a free, open-source resource that makes digital collections and archives from American institutions available in one place and freely available to the world. DPLA has received support for its first three years of operation from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Arcadia Fund, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has also partnered with state and regional digital libraries and large cultural heritage institutions— including the Smithsonian, the National Archives, New York Public Library, the University of Virginia Library, Harvard Library, Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, and the Mountain West Digital Library—to provide access to millions of unique digital objects. All of the text, photos, videos, and audio contained in the DPLA can be searched, or browsed by place or time.

How does it work? DPLA operates on a network model, with its platform serving as the central nexus for a group of hubs. Each hub features state or regional services and information about digital content constituting a geographically and historically diverse slice of our nation’s archives. Through the hubs, DPLA works with hundreds of libraries, archives, museums, and knowledge institutions across the nation and abroad to increase access to our shared cultural heritage. Each hub will collect content from its region, which DPLA will assist in aggregating and making available digitally to users in a manner similar to finding a book through an interlibrary loan system. The result will be that readers will have access to works that might otherwise be unavailable or inaccessible to them.

DPLA has the potential to enrich the experience and digital literacy of students at every level of the educational system, including that of adult learners, their teachers, and the programs that serve them. These programs include not only those in geographic locations with limited resources, but also those in institutional settings. For example, as John Linton, director of correctional education in OVAE’s Division of Adult Education and Literacy recognized, the DPLA has the potential to provide access to learning materials for individuals in correctional education.

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