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


Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

New Postings


·       How HiSET Scores Relate to GED Scores:

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

·       Montana Voucher:


HiSET Resources:



HiSET Registration Portal Now Open  


HiSET website:


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


Writing Disabilities


As instructors, many thoughts are whirling through our minds regarding our students taking the new high school equivalency test (HSE).  If a student chooses to take the writing assessment online, will he/she have the necessary keyboarding skills so that focus can be on composing at the computer?  If a student has a writing disability, how will it surface on the writing test if the test is via the computer?  Spelling and syntax problems just don’t disappear once the computer becomes the pen.  Will it be better for the student to take that test via paper/pencil or computer?


According to the research on writing disabilities,


… There is a small body of evidence that difficulties with basic writing skills, such as handwriting and spelling, constrain writing development. Poor writers often have difficulties mastering these skills (Graham, 1999). As a result, these skills demand the writers’ attention, diverting resources away from other important aspects of writing, such as sentence construction and content generation. When struggling writers are explicitly taught handwriting and spelling, not only do these skills improve but so do other writing processes, such as output and sentence construction (Berninger et al., 1997, 1998; Graham, Harris, and Fink, 2000; Graham, Harris, and Fink-Chorzempa, 2002).


Regardless the mode of the HSE testing, research is then indicating that explicit instruction in handwriting and spelling may help improve sentence construction.  Once again, explicit instruction is a key in working with those students with disabilities. First, however, we need to evaluate our students’ writing via more ways that just the TABE.


The term syntax refers to rules in a language for assembling words to form sentences. Syntactic awareness and the ability to produce sentence structures require a writer’s semantic (word usage in context), grammar (e.g., agreement), and mechanical (e.g., application of punctuation and capitalization rules) abilities working in unison. Problems with any one of these features can influence fluency with written syntax. Therefore, during an evaluation, examination of word usage, word agreement, and the mechanics of writing should be conducted and taken into consideration in determining how written syntax is influenced by these features.


We keep hearing about text complexity.  Have you looked at the new HSE test?  Are you seeing that vocabulary is more complex?  Will this be something that may be more difficult for your students with writing challenges?


The association of word meaning to grammatical structure and structure to words provides information pertinent to the understanding of language and to the ability to design instruction in reading and writing (see Biber, Conrad, and Reppen, 1998, for an in-depth discussion).


Students with writing challenges may have underlying word knowledge and retrieval problems which do affect reading comprehension.  Although they may not yet be challenged with the level at which they have to achieve success (only 2 on the HiSET essay – according to HiSET at , total passing scores are set such that approximately 60 percent of a random sample of high school students would pass on the first attempt.), they will be challenged by word meaning and specificity. 


The writing of the college students with learning disabilities (dyslexia) contained significantly fewer of these features, therefore decreasing the linguistic complexity of their writing samples … Another very distinct feature of the discourse of the writers with learning disabilities (dyslexia) was their overuse of hedges (e.g., at about, something like, more or less, almost, maybe, sort of, kind of, etc.). Such grammatical structures provide less specificity and more ambiguity to the meaning of the text. Underlying word knowledge and word access problems might be contributing to this overuse of hedges.


Research notes that adolescents with learning disabilities may have difficulty with organization, a key ingredient in writing, and difficulty assessing a sense of audience.  These students also may have difficulty with writing fluency which is measured by the length and number of words in a composition.


Researchers examining the written text of adolescents with learning disabilities note that these writers often demonstrate difficulty with metacognitive strategies, such as planning, monitoring, evaluating, and revising (Englert, 1990; Graham and Harris, 1999) …


… Studies show that basic writers have little sense of writing as a rhetorical transaction (Rubin and Looney, 1990). That is, such writers seldom view writing as a means of communication or persuasion; rather, they tend to think infrequently of potential readers and fail to use information about their readers even when it is available to them …


… Writer, audience, and context are all involved in the dynamic creation of text, and this leads to choices regarding concepts, vocabulary, style, and text organization …


… In other words, the number of words produced by writers increased their chances for higher quality scores. A critical finding from this study was that vocabulary and fluency proxies—number of words, number of different words, and number of words with more than two syllables—were the best discriminators between college writers with and without learning disabilities (dyslexia) …


Of course, a new test does not mean that students with learning difficulties are going to fail.  However, this is a good time for all of us to assess the skills needed for the new high school equivalency test and match them with our students’ academic needs.  Remember – there are resources available that have been organized by your Montana colleagues.  Check out Module 6, Written Expressions Disabilities, on the Learning to Achieve snippets at .


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 204-209 .  


Coming the first of the year:  Developing Brain Systems in Struggling Readers!


National Information

3.  Adult Education Advocacy TEDx Peachtree Video by Daphne Greenberg

Taken from LINCS


Click here to access Do We Care About Us by adult education advocate, Dr. Daphne Greenberg.

4.  Adult Education Profile:  Tapping the Potential – Profile of Adult Education Target Population

Taken from OVAE Connection


OVAE recently released infographics with the title Tapping the Potential: Profile of Adult Education Target Population. These profiles are available for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as for the country as a whole. Using Census data, the profiles display the percentages of adults without a high school credential or English proficiency by age, gender, race, and ethnicity, and their participation rates in the labor market and in adult education. The graphics also cover both the federal and state investment in adult education by year for 2009 and 2010.


Montana Profile


Click here to access the Montana profile.


National Profile


Click here  to access the national profile.

5.  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.


6.  Digital Badges Discussion


Taken from LINCS Notice


Click here to access the article, The Potential and Value of Using Digital Badges for Adult Learners.

Digital Badges:  Digital badges are an assessment and credentialing mechanism that is housed and managed online. Badges are designed to make visible and validate learning in both formal and informal settings, and hold the potential to help transform where and how learning is valued.

Click here  to follow the discussion.

Badges are different from the credentialing methods used in the past in almost exactly the same way that email is different from letters of the past. Because they're digital and can live on the network, emails and badges can both be created, sent, received, managed, and searched with degrees of convenience and efficiency unthinkable for paper letters or certificates …

David Wiley

Thanks for your comments, Nell, they're very helpful and got me to thinking about how we might *want* digital badges to work differently in adult ed than other competency-based systems have worked in the past.  As David Wiley pointed out, the small granularity and flexibility that's possible with digital badges allows our learners to experience movement in small steps along pathways to learning goals.  Don't we as adult educators have to help design the badging system so it works they way we want it to with our learners, teachers and programs? I wish I had more first hand experience with digital badges. I'd love to hear from others who have some experience using them.  The closest I've come is awarding certificates for successful completion of modules of digital literacy.  That experience certainly showed how motivating it can be for learners to receive such awards along a learning pathway …

Steve Reder

7.  Teaching Strategy:  Stop Light Exit Tickets

Taken from LINCS Assessment


The Teaching Channel shared a technique called "Stop Light Exit Tickets" that can be adapted for student generated questions.  The Teaching Channel features hundreds of short videos from K12 classrooms focused on specific aspects of teaching and learning … 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


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