Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

Learn Something New?  Have a concern?


We are all learning as we transition to the new HiSET test.  If, by chance, you have contacted HiSET support and feel that you have information or concerns from which everyone in the state can benefit, please share it with Margaret Bowles at  She communicates with the HiSET staff on a weekly basis and can share our concerns. 


Writing Test Information


*** Please Note:  Even if an individual passes the Writing Part 1 (multiple choice) and fails Writing Part 2 (essay), he/she still must retake both parts of the test.


*** Please Note:  HiSET Essay – persuasive only! 


*** Also did you know that test takers may use pencil on the essay portion?


New Resources:  Time to Share


As Montana begins its new venture with HiSET, ABLE programs are reviewing and searching for possible resources for the HiSET.  If you have any resources you would like to share, please send them to MTLINCS.  The resources will then be posted on the HiSET Resource page at


New Posting

·       Persuasive Writing – How to Improve Your Persuasive Writing:

2013 Postings

·       Writing Rubric:

·       Calculator for HiSET:

·       How HiSET Scores Relate to GED Scores:

·       Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and the HiSET:

·       Montana Voucher:


HiSET Resources:


HiSET Program News:  Directly from HiSET


HiSET Program News- Week of January 9th, 2014


·       We are very excited to announce the HiSET program has already delivered more than 500 tests!  Kudos to the ABE programs in your states working to prepare test takers and all of your testing centers who have worked hard to close out testing in 2013 and implement a brand new HSE program in 2014.  This is something of which everyone should be incredibly proud.

·       Multiple Choice HiSET scores are available in the HiSET portal for test takers who tested on January 2nd or 3rd 2014.

·       There are more than 200 test takers scheduled to test HiSET.

·       We on-boarded more than 500 HiSET testing centers from September to January.

·       We have welcomed another state to the HiSET Program.  Welcome Massachusetts! 

·        Ten of the 11 HiSET states have conducted training for test center staff and adult educators. 


2.  Montana Technology Community of Practice (COP)


COP begins January 13!  If you had expressed interest in joining, you would have received an introductory email.  Please create an account on LINCS by January 6. 

Click here to review information about Montana COP.

On January 13, we are excited to bring you Montana’s very own COP:  Montana Technology in the Classroom. During this six week session, you will be exposed to a variety of technology tools as they relate to Montana ABLE Reading Standards.  Participants will have the opportunity to share implementation ideas with colleagues.

Montana COP will be facilitated by Tim Ponder, Assistant Director of Ohio Literacy Resource Center.  If you are still interested in participating in COP, please contact Margaret Bowles.


3.  Montana ABLE Math Institute


Click here for more information about the Montana ABLE Math Institute.  Contact Carol Flynn if you have any questions. 


4.  Montana Career Information System (MCIS) Survey

Don’t forget to complete the MCIS Survey at !


The Office of Public Instruction and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education Career and Technical Education Divisions are inviting you and your staff members to participate in a very important online survey to provide valuable information and feedback on the Montana Career Information System.


5.     Program Highlights


Great Falls program instructor, Katya Irish Marandino, received a One Class at a Time award.  Click here to read the article.


Has your program been in the news lately?  Let MTLINCS know!  Check out Montana program highlights at


6.  MTLINCS Research 2013-2014:  Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research


The last review of the research that was posted was regarding Learning, Reading, and Writing Disabilities.  You may want to review the information by clicking here to access 2013-2014 research postings from Improving Adult Literacy Instruction.  Click here to email questions or comments.


               Brain Structure and Function


Because the information presented about the brain structure is very technical, MTLINCS is only citing a few interesting items and would encourage you to peruse the document for more specifics.

A number of anatomical neuroimaging studies (research that uses magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, to measure gray and white matter volumes across brain regions) have identified structural differences, such as reduced gray matter volume, in the brains of people with reading disabilities. These differences have been found in several of the left hemisphere (LH) regions that functional brain imaging show to be involved in reading, including the temporoparietal and occipitotemporal areas (Brambati et al., 2004; Brown et al., 2001; Eckert et al., 2003; Kronbichler et al., 2008; Silani et al., 2005).

Now you can see what is meant by technical.  However, we do know that reading difficulties may be caused by multiple issues.

Reading difficulties at any age or in any population are the result of a complex mix of congenital (gene-brain-behavior) and environmental factors. It is well known that genetic factors contribute to reading disabilities (Fletcher et al., 2007). The observation that reading difficulties run in families and are evident across generations was reported almost a century ago (Hinshelwood, 1917).


Throughout the research, the concept of explicit instruction is revisited multiple times as a potential teaching strategy.


… The instruction used with typically developing learners also needs to be adapted for those with disabilities to be more explicit and systematic; provide enhanced supports for the transfer and generalization of skills; provide more opportunities for practice; address maladaptive attributions, which can be particularly important to address for struggling learners; and provide scaffolded and differentiated instruction that targets specific difficulties while continuing to develop all the skills needed for reading and writing development …


… The fact that both structural and functional reorganization of LH brain circuitry for reading can occur after effective remediation for both children and adults with reading disabilities is potentially very important. Similar positive outcomes may occur for adult learners who have lacked the extended experiences needed to develop literacy skills, regardless of whether or not they have latent (undiagnosed) reading disabilities. Knowledge of brain-based developmental trajectories from childhood to adulthood, although still incomplete, suggests the patterns of brain activation that might be achieved with effective instruction and remediation of struggling readers.


Accommodations to Support Literacy Learning


Montana ABLE personnel have had much exposure to providing accommodations for students with reading difficulties via the Learning to Achieve model.  Click here to access strategies provided. 


Accommodations adjust the manner in which instructional or testing situations are presented so that individuals with documented disabilities can learn and demonstrate their learning in a fair and equitable manner (Gregg, 2009).


The one strategy that is continually being presented in the research is that of extended time.


As difficulties with phonological, orthographic, morphologic, and syntactic awareness slow down the process of decoding, extra time becomes a critical accommodation for adolescents or adults with learning disabilities (dyslexia). There is a significant amount of research to support the need for this accommodation for adolescents and adults with learning disabilities (Gregg, 2009; Gregg and Nelson, in press; Shaywitz, 2003) …


… As with handwriting disorders, extra time is an appropriate accommodation for college students with significant spelling deficits, since they require more time to recall the motor and orthographic patterns necessary to spell words…


… For writers struggling to produce written sentences, extra time and word processing are appropriate accommodations …


Did the research present anything new?  Not really!  We know that many of our clients are students with learning difficulties who will encounter many challenges in their lifetime due to their learning difficulties.  As the research states, Lack of access to accommodations for individuals with learning disabilities can have major negative effects on career development and adult income. Accommodations for learning need to be used in conjunction with effective instruction to support the development and assessment of literacy.


Coming Next:  Language and Literacy Development of English Language Learners!


National Information

7.  Career Pathways Webinar:  Best Practices for Career Pathways and Credentials

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways


Best Practices for Career Pathways and Credentials


January 10, 2014

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

States and local areas across Region 5 are developing Career Pathways models to better align education and training programs with employer needs. This webinar will highlight two of those models to provide specific “how-to” information for others interested in developing Career Pathways initiatives. Presentations will cover:

·        The “Six Key Elements” critical to successful Career Pathways models

·        The ideal state/local governmental structure to support Career Pathways models

·        Key partnerships needed to fully implement Career Pathways

·        Strategies for effectively engaging employers to inform training design & delivery

·        How Career Pathways can integrate with and positively impact local workforce development systems

This webinar will include an interactive question and answer period. Attendees who are new to Career Pathways or those seeking more in-depth information are encouraged to review the Career Pathways Toolkit prior to the webinar:


Registration for this Webinar is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register today!


Instructions for registering

1.     Click here.

2.     Click the "Login Now" button and type in your email and password.  Then click the “Reserve Seat Now” button.  If you haven't updated your password within the past 90 days, you will be prompted to do so.  If you do not have a Workforce3 One account yet, you must create and activate an account before you can register for the webinar.  Click here to create your free account. Once you’ve created and subsequently activated your Workforce3 One account, please refer back to this email so that you may register for the free webinar.

3.     Once you have registered for the webinar event, you will receive an email with detailed instructions for accessing the webinar.  We ask that you listen to the audio portion of the live webinar via Internet Telephony (through your computer speakers). You will also be supplied with a teleconference number and access code if you must join using a telephone. If possible, we encourage you to use Internet Telephony, as we are limited in the number of teleconference lines and the more people that use Internet Telephony, the more capacity we have for those that must join using a telephone.  If anything changes and you no longer wish to attend, please go to your dashboard on and remove your registration.

PLEASE NOTE: If multiple participants from the same location are joining the live event, we encourage you to join at one location. This will allow for a larger number of participants to attend. 

8.  Career Pathways Webinar:  Ohio Toolkit

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

"Ohio Takes First Step Towards Sector Strategies with the Release of Toolkit
In December, Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT) took a first step towards implementing a statewide industry sector partnership strategy with the release of its
Sector Partnership Online Toolkit . The toolkit provides an overview of industry sector partnerships, a sample invitation to employers, a sample agenda, industry sector partnerships suggested qualifications, and data on jobs, supply and performance metrics."

9.  College Access:  Financial Aid Toolkit

Taken from OVAE Connection:  Issue 178


New Financial Aid Toolkit to Improve College Access and Affordability

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced the launch of an online "one-stop shop" financial aid tool kit for guidance counselors and other advisers who help students select postsecondary institutions and finance their higher educations. The Financial Aid Toolkit consolidates financial aid resources and content into a searchable online database, making it easy for individuals to quickly access the information they need to support their students. The searchable online database provides access to resources covering the entire financial aid life cycle from applying for financial assistance to repaying student loans. It includes documents such as materials for financial aid nights at institutions publications, presentations, brochures, videos, and sample tweets and Facebook posts. The tool kit also offers professional development information, such as training opportunities and resources for self-instruction. More information about the administration’s ongoing efforts to improve college access and affordability can be found at

10.  High School Equivalency in 2014

Taken from LINCS Assessment


The Assessment Discussion has a few postings about HiSET.  Click here to read through the information and see what your colleagues throughout the nation are saying.



Massachusetts was the last state to choose HiSET as the HighSchool Equivalency provider.  I spent last week taking the practice tests.  The advertising implied that this test would be very similar to the former GED, but there are differences.  For example there seems to be much more emphasis on algebrra than in the old GED.  I also noticed a greater emphasis on scientific experimentation.  Although HiSET is offered in only 11 states, is there enough interest to organize a sub group on instruction and curriculum development for this test …


Proportional Reasoning

I took a quick look at your "Scope and sequence" (i-Pathways) link which seems to be appropriate and comprehensive, however, I think that proportional reasoning deserves a unit on its own.  It is an important phase in developing mathematical reasoning that is not emphasized enough.  I was a little bit upset with the answer options in some HiSET practice test percent answer choices.  The correct answers were shown as some number multiplied by a decimal.  This puts my students at a disadvantage.  Since I teach that percents are ratios, my students solve percent problems using proportion equations

Alan Tubman

11.  Reading:  Online Dictionary

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners


I like to use the Longman English Dictionary Online ( for both STAR and ESOL students.  I find the definitions are usually clear and in the simplest terms possible.  Also, there are many examples which are helpful for perceiving the nuances of usage.



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