Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast:  November Update

Montana Press Release:


Materials for Test Preparation

·       HiSET Prep Crosswalk 

·       McGraw-Hill Contemporary:  HiSET Exercise Books and Learn Smart Achieve HiSET books coming in April

·       HiSET Practice Tests:



Montana HiSET Requirements:


HiSET website:  

2.    MT ABLE Shoptalk

Click here  to access ShopTalk Summary and topics.


·       College!Now Grant Evaluation

·       Legislative Update

·       Board of Regents Presentation

·       2014 Professional Development:  State Level

·       2014 Professional Development:  Federal Level

·       MCIS PEPTalk Trainings

·       Distance Learning

·       ESOL TABE Clas-E Pilot

·       HiSET Updates

·       MABLE Persistence Work Plan

·       Upcoming Events


3.     Bitterroot Program Helps Grad


Click here to read the article, Completing the Program:  Literacy Bitterroot Helps Local Man Earn GED

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

Learning, Reading, and Writing Disabilities


In 2012, a group of MT ABLE educators who had participated in the Learning to Achieve project provided snippets of practical, intervention strategies to be used with students with learning disabilities.  Universal Design, though, indicates that these strategies may be used with any learner who may be encountering learning differences.  After reviewing some of the information below from Improving Adult Literacy Instruction, you may want to review some of the strategies presented by the L2A team.  Click here to review the L2A snippets.


The chapter on “Learning, Reading, and Writing Disabilities” begins by reminding us that research on adult learners is limited.


… We focus mainly on research with college students because the empirical research base is more comprehensive for them than for other adult learners with learning disabilities …


The findings presented here are relevant to instructors of colleges or adult basic and secondary education programs. Yet it is important to recognize that learning disabilities also are a condition defined by legal criteria in the United States, criteria to which secondary and postsecondary institutions must adhere in providing services for students with learning disabilities.  The college students identified with learning disabilities who have participated in research have met this legal criterion …


Many of MT ABLE students have learning challenges in one form or another.  Some of our older adult students have never been officially diagnosed with a learning disability; the younger ABLE population may enter MT ABLE services with a specific diagnosis.  Regardless of a diagnosis, these students need strategies as a part of their literacy instruction.


Learning disabilities in adulthood by definition describe individuals as developmentally disordered in learning in comparison to age-expected performance and appropriate instructional opportunities. A diagnosis requires evidence that an individual is substantially limited in major life activities (e.g., reading or writing). If learning disabilities are not diagnosed before adulthood, however, it may be difficult to establish that the individual had access to sufficient high-quality instruction.


So how many students may have a learning disability?


Although better information is needed about the number of adults in literacy programs with learning disabilities, over one-quarter of adults who attend adult education programs report having a learning disability (Tamassia et al., 2007). The prevalence of learning disabilities for the college-bound population is reported to be approximately 3 to 5 percent of student enrollment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2009; Wagner et al., 2005).


OK, ABE has its challenges.  If one-quarter of the student population may have reported a learning disability and ABE is to prepare students for college, direct instruction in using learning strategies is important.  So what are the statistics for college students with learning disabilities?


A total of 14 million undergraduates are enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges in the United States, and the number is expected to reach 16 million by 2015. Among the U.S. population with learning disabilities, approximately 17 percent will take college entrance exams, but only 4 percent of students who had received special education services in high school were found to be enrolled in a 4-year college or university 3 to 5 years after high school (Wagner et al., 2005, 2007) …


The greatest growth in postsecondary attendance by students with learning disabilities is experienced at 2-year colleges (Wagner et al., 2005).


Of the ABE students who go on to college, more of them are attending 2-year colleges.  That seems to correlate to the information above.


Reading Disabilities


MT ABLE has provided training in the area of reading:  Route to Reading and Reading is the Bridge.  Most recently, Susan Pimentel provided training in the College and Career Readiness for ELA Literacy.  Where does all this fit in with learning disabilities?


Some 80-90 percent of students with learning disabilities are reported to exhibit significant difficulty with reading (Kavale and Reese, 1992; Lerner, 1989; Lyon et al., 2001) …


… Adults with reading disabilities experience lower reading achievement than what is expected given their age, intelligence, and education …


… Longitudinal research has shown the persistence of a diagnosed reading disability into adulthood and behavioral and biological validation of the lack of reading fluency in adults with dyslexia across the life span (Bruck, 1990, 1992, 1993; Shaywitz, 2003; Swanson and Hsieh, 2009) …


… there is no consensus on the estimated numbers of adult learners who may have such a reading disability. The estimates range from one-tenth to more than half (Patterson, 2008) …


… Bruck’s research also documented that among this adult population, phonological awareness continued to be an area of deficit in comparison to their peers. The decoding errors demonstrated by individuals with phonological awareness deficits often represent “phonetically implausible” letter and word choices.


Besides difficulty in reading fluency, ABE students may also experience difficulty in reading comprehension.  


Research with college students with learning disabilities points to several sources of difficulty with reading comprehension. These sources of difficulty include verbal working memory, language disorders, executive function, long-term memory, and metacognition (particularly self-regulation and comprehension monitoring) …


… Some students experience difficulty with comprehension because of poor decoding, but for other adolescents and adults with learning disabilities, the core of their reading problem is a receptive language disorder (Cain and Oakhill, 2007; Catts, Adlof, and Ellis, 2006) …


… Prior knowledge helps with inference making and comprehension monitoring across the life span (Kintsch, 1998; Perfetti, Marron, and Foltz, 1996) …


… Long-term memory is important to interpreting text. Readers construct a situational model during the process of listening or reading comprehension (Kintsch, 1998) …


… Many individuals with learning disabilities have difficulty with self-regulation and strategy use, which prevents them from using contextual information fully for comprehending text (Cain, Oakhill, and Elbro, 2002; Cain, Oakhill, and Lemmon, 2004) …


… Some readers with learning disabilities have significant difficulty detecting inconsistencies in what they read …


… Therefore, simply providing such an individual extra time on a reading task might not be very effective unless the reader is also taught specific cognitive strategies to enhance comprehension monitoring …


… Thus, effective instruction in reading comprehension must target not only the acquisition of effective reading strategies but also their flexible application and monitoring. …


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 196-203 


ABE students have many challenges, especially if they have learning differences.  Most of them see education as the tool that will help them advance in life.  They want it, and when they come to ABE-Landia, they want it now, in three months or less while they are working and raising a family.  However, if these students have reading challenges, achieving success in a short time and getting ready for college will be a challenge.  Before ABE students enter into postsecondary training, they must be able to do the following:  engage with complex text (and its academic knowledge), extract and employ evidence, and build knowledge.  Susan Pimentel, College and Career Ready Standards in Action,  Not only are high school equivalency exams becoming more challenging but also are career and college readiness skills.  MT ABLE educators have their work cut out for them.   


Writing Disabilities coming next!


National Information

5.  Bridge Programs Online Course

Taken from LINCS Notice


Don’t forget about the good things Montana is already doing.  Remember the Transitions presentations at EQ 2013?  Recently, Erin Niedge presented information about the Miles Community College program to the Board of Regents.  Good job, Erin!


Click here and scroll to Transitions to access the information presented at EQ 2013.  


Developing Effective Bridge Programs, an online course, can help you develop and implement effective Adult Career Pathways bridge programs designed to help your adult learners master the basic skills they need to advance to the next level of education, training, or entry-level employment in career fields that are in local or regional demand. The course is self-paced and features three modules: (1) Understanding Bridge Programs; (2) Laying the Foundation; and (3) Developing the Curriculum. The course should take about 2 hours and 30 mins to complete.

As you take this course, you will become familiar with the key elements of a Bridge program, review some case studies about Bridge program design and implementation with reflection questions to deepen learning. You will have a chance to consider potential institutional and community partners to strengthen the program that you will be designing or improving, and examine regional factors that might influence and impact your program and your target student population etc.  The course then progresses into curriculum design, and contextualization.

Please share your comments if you have already taken this course.

You can access this course and other career pathway related-courses at the LINCS Learning Portal at If this is your first time taking a course on the Portal then the system will ask you to register with a new userid and password. You could choose your existing LINCS userid and password for simplicity purposes.

Priyanka Sharma  


6.  Digital Badges Discussion


Taken from LINCS Notice


On December 3–9, 2013, LINCS will provide an online public discussion through the Technology and Learning Community of the newly released report: The Potential and Value of Using Digital Badges for Adult Learners. This report examines the nature, value, and potential impact of digital badges, an emerging electronic system designed to certify an individual’s knowledge and skills. Badges can represent different levels of work and engagement, including more granular skills or achievements, marking in some cases small and/or very specific abilities. For this reason badges hold particular promise for adult learners in basic education programs, many of whom have few, if any, formal credentials (such as diplomas), but who are obtaining functional skills that would be valued in hiring situations if a mechanism for certifying those skills and knowledge was available.

Please join us for an exciting discussion about digital badges facilitated by Steve Reder ( and David Wiley (, two researchers who bring combined knowledge of adult education, technology, and digital badges to our forum. The Potential and Value of Using Digital Badges for Adult Learners was co-authored by Jonathan Finkelstein at Credly, Erin Knight at Mozilla Foundation, and Susan Manning at the University of Wisconsin, under contract to the American Institutes of Research and with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

7.  LINCS Community User Training

Taken from LINCS Notices


Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM ET. 


This webinar will be a great opportunity to talk directly to the LINCS Community team and ask any questions you may have about the community’s purpose and features!


Members of the leadership team will present the purpose of the LINCS Community, and highlight the benefits of engaging in the community through a live walk-through of the features as well as a discussion with guest presenter Jackie Taylor (Subject Matter Expert for the Professional Development group). The webinar will culminate in a Q&A session and an overview of next steps that attendees can take in the community’s discussion groups. Attendees also will be able to post their questions for the presenters in a pre-webinar discussion thread.


Register for free at: Upon registering, you will receive instructions on how to access the webinar.


If you cannot attend this event, you will be able to view an archived version online soon after the event.

8.  Math:  Problem of the Week and Standards

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy


Click here to access the Problem of the Week.



John returned some bottles to the store.  He received $1.60 in quarters, dimes, and nickels.  Use these clues to determine the number of each kind of coin.  There are more dimes than nickels.  There is an even number of quarters.  There are as many quarters and nickels together as there are dimes.



Standards used and the Mathematical Practices from the College and Career Readiness Standards.  

One standard that this problem addresses is - Understand and Apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction, page 52 Level A.  One mathematical practice that this problem utilizes - MP. 6 - Attend to precision.

Brooke Istas, Subject Matter Expert Math and Numeracy

9.  Teaching Strategy:  Exit Slip

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


The Teaching Channel features hundreds of short videos from K12 classrooms focused on specific aspects of teaching and learning. One video recently demonstrated the use of “exit slips” as a means of assessment. This high school English teacher uses a stop light graphic posted on the wall and sticky notes distributed to each student. Before leaving class, students can choose to write something they learned and post their sticky on the green light, post questions they considered or new ideas that were generated for them on the yellow light, or post something that stopped their learning on the red light.

You can watch this one-minute video at this link

10.  PIACC:  Kick-Off Session of the National Engagement Process to Improve the Skills of Low-Skilled Adults

Taken from LINCS Notice


Click here to access the archived webinar.


OVAE launched an engagement process to develop a national action plan to improve the skills of low-skilled adults. The event focused on the recently-released data collected by the OECD as part of the PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills which indicates significant areas of weakness in the U.S. adult workforce.  The event was moderated by OVAE’s Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier, guest presenters at the event include Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; National Center for Educational Statistics Commissioner Jack Buckley; and key partners.

11.  Technology Course:  Coming Soon

Taken from LINCS Notice


Coming Soon to the LINCS Learning Portal --- The LINCS Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom Online Course

LINCS provides the opportunity for professional development for its members in the form of a series of optional online courses developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection initiative. These online courses are self-paced, freely available, and accessible 24 hours a day through the LINCS Learning Portal. (Please note: Individuals will need to create a separate login and password to access the online courses housed in the LINCS Learning Portal.) The courses will enable users to work at their own pace, at a time that is most convenient to them.


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