Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Go to the Email Archives in the upper left-hand corner on the home page at


Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

Resources:  New!


Montana ABLE teachers continue to share their resources as they transcend to HiSET.  Check out the newly shared resources on the HiSET Resource page at


Remember:  These are teacher-designed resources that may be changed as teachers learn more by experience with HiSET and more vendor HiSET materials become available.


Thanks to Bob Feist of Lewistown and Billings!


·       Persuasive Writing Topics

·       Practice Test Answer Keys

·       Practice Test Answer Sheet

·       Readiness Table

·       Scoring Guides for Reading/Writing Tests


Have you created any resources that you are willing to share?  Please email them to MTLINCS.


Montana Requirements


Questions about Montana requirements for the HiSET?  Click here for more information.


2.  Montana Technology Community of Practice (COP)                    


The Montana Technology COP participants began exploring Read Theory at


As is stated on the website: 


Read Theory is a powerful educational tool that offers online reading activities for all ages and ability levels. Using custom web application software and carefully crafted and tested content created by our team, we provide students with a dynamic reading experience that adapts to their individual ability levels and presents them with a seemingly endless array of skill building exercises. What is more, as students continue to use the site and see their scores gradually improve, the system adapts to match their progress, and the materials presented get incrementally more advanced. Our quizzes span the full range, beginning with elementary school reading and ending with the most demanding SAT and GRE level reading comprehension and verbal reasoning questions.


Tim Ponder shared: 


This site is also adaptive, and will begin with an activity that acts as a placement test for students. The site is designed to aid in learning Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas and Range of Reading and Text Complexity.

This site also allows you as an instructor to create a teacher account, set up classes, add students to your class, set their starting level and track their progress. 

Stay tuned to see what participants have to say about the website!


Click here and click on the weekly posts.


3.  Montana ABLE Math Institute


Math Institute participants met in January in Helena for their first training.  Stay tuned to hear what great things they are learning.


Needing to review Montana’s Math Standards?  Click here to access the standards.


4.  MPAEA Conference:  Transforming Adult Education – Exceeding the Limits


Click here to access information about the MPAEA Conference in Santa Fe on April 28 – 30.


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


Not directly teaching ESOL students?  That does not matter.  As you peruse the research below, you will find that much of the information is applicable to other areas of ABE.  Skim through the information to see for yourself.


Approaches to Second Language Literacy Instruction


The research breaks approaches to instruction into eight categories.  Let’s take a look to see if there is anything new.


Category 1:  Integration of Explicit Instruction and Implicit Learning of Language and Literacy


Across the years, methods for teaching a second language have fluctuated between emphasizing sequenced explicit instruction of grammatical structures and using language to communicate for a purpose (Long, 2009). One promising approach is task-based language teaching …


Task-Based Language Teaching


… the first step is to analyze the learner’s practical literacy needs (e.g., reading technical manuals, communicating with a child’s teacher, navigating bureaucratic mazes, taking lecture notes) and the learner’s developmental levels.


So doesn’t this sound like good practice in ABE also?  We really do not have to compartmentalize our thinking as much as we think we do.  Of course, there are other instructional components to task-base language teaching that are more ESL-based, but we still can use some of the foundation.


Task-based language teaching includes a systematic focus on the grammatical form of language and not only a focus on meaning.


Explicit Teaching


A principle of learning is that most students have trouble discovering important principles on their own, without careful guidance, scaffolding, or well-crafted materials …

… Explicit teaching that included rule explanation as part of the instruction produced stronger effects than implicit teaching that included neither rule presentation nor directions to attend to particular linguistic forms …


This certainly sounds like Best Practice, doesn’t it?  Students do *not* learn by osmosis.  We teachers are valuable!!!


Focus on Both Form and Meaning and Providing Feedback


There is much debate about how to draw the learner’s attention to an error in a linguistic structure without disrupting the communicative interactions that are also needed for learning …

A principle of learning is that students benefit from feedback on their performance in a learning task. Feedback is especially important in language development because, despite some linguistic errors, the meaning of a communication may still be clear …

… learning wrong information can be reduced when feedback is immediate.


We all need feedback regardless of our status:  student or teacher.  Better to learn that information is wrong early on than to keep reinforcing a negative.




A common tool used in classrooms is to provide language feedback:  “recasting” or responding to a learner’s error by restating what the learner has said while modeling the correct form (e.g., Learner: She go to school.  Teacher: She goes to school? with stress on “goes.”). Recasts are useful because they can occur as part of the conversation and do not disrupt the flow of communication. They temporarily focus the learner’s attention on language itself.


Category 2:  Development of Language and Knowledge for Learning and Reading Comprehension


The following information can be readily applied to ABE in general.  Once again the focus is on explicit contextualized vocabulary instruction.


Effective vocabulary instruction for adolescent newcomers is explicit, systematic, extensive, and intensive (Francis et al., 2006). Explicit instruction involves not only direct instruction of the meanings of specific key words but also direct instruction in effective word learning strategies, such as breaking words down into parts, using contextual clues, and using dictionaries as references. Systematic instruction requires teachers to thoughtfully choose the key words that they teach and create multiple opportunities for meaningful exposure to the words and their meanings. Extensive vocabulary instruction is incorporated into every lesson, integrated across the curriculum. Finally, intensive vocabulary instruction provides depth of knowledge, such as an understanding of multiple meanings of words, their different forms, and different contexts of use and situated in larger conceptual frameworks.


… knowledge is a continuum that ranges from not knowing a word, to recognizing it, to knowing it roughly, to describing it very accurately and knowing its uses in different contexts (Schoonen and Verhallen, 2008; Vermeer, 2001).


If you still have not yet tried , check it out.  This is a great tool for students to use to build their vocabulary.  They can create their own personalized vocabulary lists and take ownership of their words.  You may also want to check out some vocabulary strategies at


This week the MT Tech in the Classroom COP is exploring Read Theory at , a free online reading activity site which incorporates vocabulary and critically thinking.  Check it out!


Category 3:  Access to Language and Literacy Practice Outside Classrooms


Learning continues outside the classroom where adult language learners can experience continued interactions in both spoken and written English (Reder, 2008) … Exposure to rich language patterns is also helpful, because learners are quite sensitive and readily notice the common patterns in a language (Vouloumanos,2008). Thus, it is important not to isolate language learners from native speakers and to maximize exposure to the second language using many different venues.


What are you doing in your program to integrate language learners with others? 


Category 4:  Leveraging Knowledge in the First Language, When Available


Given the possibilities of transfer discussed earlier, more needs to be known about how best to use the first language to support development of English literacy … Systematic use of the first language may not be feasible in many languages other than Spanish because of lack of qualified teachers and materials.


Category 5:  Integrated Multimodal Instruction


Research with monolinguals indicates that higher order comprehension skills necessary for reading can also be developed through discussions of material presented in different modalities, such as visual or auditory (Kendeou et al., 2008). Using technology to present information in a variety of modalities shows particular promise for language instruction, since language and content presented in a variety of modalities (visual, auditory, text-based) reinforce each other.


Teaching by using all modalities is again just best practice.  By doing this, we are subscribing to the concept of Universal Design.  If you can’t get in via the front door, try the back door, window, chimney … whatever works for the learner.


Category 6:  Writing


As for native speakers, writing is an essential part of instruction for adult language learners …


But those with weak second language skills tend to devote more attention to form (e.g., finding the right word or syntactic structure in the second language by translating  rom the first language) and thus devote less attention to the macro processes of generating ideas, planning, revising, and editing (Sasaki, 2000).


The same may be said about those native students with weak language skills and the reading/writing process.  The more time they have to devote to decoding and trying to “find the right word”, the less time they can spend on generating ideas, etc.


Category 7:  Affective Aspects of Learning and Instruction


Field observations show that beginning learners are reluctant to use English inside and outside the classroom because they may feel insecure about their linguistic skills. English learners can become demotivated, frustrated with the slow pace of literacy instruction; repetitive instruction (e.g., as teachers try to catch up students who have missed a class); a focus on topics that are not well matched to the learner’s education level, interests, or familiarity with U.S. culture (e.g., a focus on holidays when content related to science and technology and topical discussions is preferred). Those whose goal it is to transition to training or postsecondary education mention the lack of focus on academic vocabulary in high beginning or intermediate classes …


Currently, teachers report that it is a challenge to provide instruction that is sufficiently common to all in a classroom while differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners (Wrigley, 2009).


Montana ESL teachers will tell you that teaching multi-level classes is a challenge.  In order for it to be done effectively, they are using a variety of tools.


Category 8:  Assessment


Adequate assessments are lacking for English language learners. The need to develop more valid and comprehensive approaches to the assessment of adults’ reading and writing skills also applies to this population.


Montana ESL teachers may agree with the above statement.  In fact, they are now reviewing some other assessment options which include more than just speaking.  Something new may be on the horizon.


So did you find anything new from the research?  More than likely, you may find that the research just affirms what you believe and/or are doing in the classroom.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 237-252


Coming next:  Research Conclusions and Recommendations

6.  Big Sky Pathways and Dual Enrollment Workshop

Day-long workshops will be offered in two options April 29th, 2014 and April 30th, 2014 (your choice of day) at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman.  Carl D. Perkins grant funds will be available to schools who would like to apply for a grant to cover/offset staff’s attendance costs.  The deadline to apply for a grant is March 17, 2014. 


Click here for more information.


National Information

7.  Correlation of Student Hours and Success Discussion

Taken from LINCS Program Management


An interesting discussion at is taking place regarding hours and student success. Here is a snippet.


I found several citations and resources which identify the number of instructional hours needed to make a level gain.  Included below are several reports and publications with links to work done in this area.  Like Paul Kim mentioned, factors other than instructional hours would impact progress. 


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Options for Practice and Research (2012)

“In fact, 44 percent advanced only one literacy level, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Reporting System for adult literacy programs. Persistence was also an issue.  Half of the learners who did not advance attended fewer than 50 hours of instruction. Most of those who advanced received 50 or more hours of instruction, taking on average 50 to 149 hours of attendance (usually referred to as “100 instruction hours”) to advance one level.” (p. 207)


Beyond Basic Skills:  State Strategies to Connect Low-Skilled Students to an Employer-Valued Postsecondary Education (2011)

These barriers can influence persistence: many students drop out before they progress even one level. A recent national study found that most adult education students stay in a program for 30 to 80 hours of instruction, yet research generally finds that 100-150 hours are required for students to advance even one grade level.15 According to analyses of enrollment and completion, one-third of developmental education students never enroll in a remedial course and only one-third of students referred to math courses ever complete their sequence of recommended developmental courses.16 By supporting innovative instructional models that accelerate learning, integrate basic skills content with college-level work, and support student success, states can help more basic skills students’ progress to postsecondary education.  (p. 4-5)


Adult Education Literacy Instruction (2010)

“Three studies, two experimental and one non-experi­mental, suggest that those staying longer in a literacy program make significantly greater gains, and that around 50 to 60 hours of instruction are needed to sig­nificantly boost reading comprehension achievement. One experimental study found that 51 or more hours of attendance were needed to produce significantly greater gains on a combined comprehension and vo­cabulary score (Philliber et al., 1996); GE gain scores were used in the analysis. (p. 103)


Persistence: Helping Adult Education Students Reach Their Goals (2007)

“These studies point to 100 hours of instruction as the point at which a majority of adult education students are likely to show measurable progress, and, therefore, it serves as a benchmark that identifies an effective program. That is, if a majority of students are persisting for 100 hours or more, the program is probably having a measurable impact on at least half of its students.” (p. 3)


Adult Learner Persistence

Research tells us that adult learners need on the average 100 -150 hours in order to make one level learning gain:

100 hours (Fitzgerald & Young, 1997)

110 hours (Rose & Wright, 2005)

150 hours (Comings, Sum and Uvin, 2000 for Mass Inc.)


Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

8.  LINCS User Video

Taken from LINCS Notice


In honor of DLD, we’re pleased to announce that the archived video of December’s LINCS Community User Training webinar is available on the LINCS YouTube Channel (LincsEd).


This webinar presents the vision of the LINCS Community and highlights the benefits of engaging in the community through a live walk-through of the technical features as well as a discussion with guest presenter Jackie Taylor (Subject Matter Expert for the Evidence-based Professional Development group).


The presenters also share several valuable tips and tricks for maximizing your time in our community. We invite you to view the video to get the inside scoop on our community platform, or share the video with colleagues who may wish to learn more about the LINCS Community before signing up.


After viewing the video, visit the follow-up discussion to share your thoughts and any questions you may have that were not addressed in the webinar.

If you have any questions about this announcement, please contact us.

The LINCS Community Team

9.  PIACC Webinar:  February 13

Taken from Notices


Join the U.S. Department of Education, American Institutes for Research, and adult education advocates for a webinar on February 13, from 1:00pm-3:00pm ET. With the recent release of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, (PIAAC) demonstrating the direct relationship between skills and economic security, health, and educational advancement, there is even more urgency to address the needs of low-skilled learners and equip the teaching workforce to help such students achieve their academic and economic goals.


The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) launched a national engagement effort on November 20 (see archived announcement) to explore ways to increase our national capacity to improve the foundation skills of adults in the United States. OVAE is particularly interested in engaging with adult educators to solicit their input into a forthcoming national action plan.


This webinar will be an opportunity to receive a briefing on the PIAAC data, the OECD’s special report on America’s low-skilled population, Time for the U.S. to Reskill?, and engage in a focused discussion about the issues facing adult education.


To prepare for the webinar, see the Consultation Paper, which provides background on the skills issue and the framework for the national action plan. The discussion will continue online in various groups within the LINCS Community of Practice. Bookmark the registration link for February 13, 1:00pm ET and stay tuned to LINCS for updates.


10.  Teaching Strategies Discussion:  Easing the Pathway for All Adult Learners to Develop Competence in the Classroom and Beyond


Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education


February 13 - 21: Teaching Strategies: Easing the Pathway for All Adult Learners to Develop Competence in the Classroom and Beyond 

Join the LINCS Community Disabilities in Adult Education Group at

This event will be moderated during February 13-21, 2014 by Rochelle Kenyon, Ed.D. and subject matter expert (SME) of the Disabilities group, and guest SME Laura DiGalbo, M.Ed, CRC, LPC.

With the goal of sharing strategies and best practices to use when teaching adults with disabilities, this event will be particularly relevant to adult basic educators, correctional educators, and literacy providers in the Disabilities, Correctional Education, and Reading and Writing discussion groups.

This event will be divided into two separate discussions, introduced on February 13 and February 14, each covering different topics. The discussions will be facilitated by Laura DiGalbo on these days and will continue to be facilitated through February 21 and beyond by Rochelle Kenyon. Topics will include:

·        Effective Utilization of Assessment to Craft Instruction

·        Reading a Collaboration of Your Eyes, Ears and Brain

·        Slow Processing…Delayed Learning: How We Can Help

·        Feedback Strategies, Instructor and Student Behavior as Mediators for Learning

·        Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom

·        Creating Social and Emotional Comfort to Expedite Learning

·        Universal Design in Adult Ed, Substance or Hype

11.  Technology:  Digital Learning Day


Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


Celebrate Digital Learning Day on February 5, 2014 by pledging to acquire new knowledge about current technology tools used to advance education!

In January, LINCS announced the launch of the free, self-paced online course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom, available now on the LINCS Learning Portal. As a follow-up to this professional development opportunity, LINCS is partnering with the Literacy Assistance Center in New York City (LACNYC) to bring you a series of 30-minute webinars on how to use technology tools in education. These webinars will be held every Thursday in February, starting on February 13, from 3:00-3:30 PM ET.

Space for these webinars is very limited. Register via the links below for one or more webinars today! If you are unable to attend or if the webinar(s) closes before you are able to sign up, you will be able to access the archived webinars at a later date on the LACNYC website.

A month-long discussion connected to the Digital Learning Day: Four-Part Technology Tools Webinar Series will also occur in the Technology and Learning Group.

For more information about Digital Learning Day, visit:


All webinars will be archived!


Title: Social Media Webinar Series: Twitter

Facilitator: Nell Eckersley

Audience: ESOL, ABE & HSE instructors; program managers

This 30-minute webinar explores the basics of Twitter and why it is a valuable education tool. You will learn what hashtags and mentions are, as well as how to shorten links to fit inside the 140-character limit of a tweet. We will talk about how to find people to follow and how to help people find you on Twitter.

Date: February 13, 2014

Time: 3 – 3:30 PM ET



Title: Social Media Webinar Series: QR Codes

Facilitator: Nell Eckersley

Audience: ESOL, ABE & HSE instructors; program managers

This 30-minute webinar explains QR codes: what they are and how to create them. We will explore lesson ideas including how to use QR codes to make reading a multimodal experience and using QR codes to access content via mobile devices both inside and outside the classroom.

Date: February 20, 2014

Time: 3 – 3:30 PM ET



Title: Social Media Webinar Series: Pinterest

Facilitator: Nell Eckersley

Audience: ESOL, ABE & HSE instructors; program managers

A 30-minute webinar on Pinterest, the fast-growing social network site that focuses on images. Learn how to use this tool as a visual bookmarking system that you can use for your own professional development as well as a collaborative learning space with students and colleagues.

Date: February 27, 2014

Time: 3 – 3:30 PM ET



Title: Social Media Webinar Series: Advanced Twitter

Facilitator: Nell Eckersley

Audience: ESOL, ABE & HSE instructors; program managers

This 30-minute webinar takes us to the next level of Twitter use. We will look at how to participate in Twitter chats and attend conferences virtually by following hashtags using TweetChat, how to turn your Tweets into an online magazine using PaperLi, and how to manage your various social media accounts using a single platform.

Date: March 6, 2014

Time: 3 – 3:30 PM ET



12.  Technology:  Online LINCS Course – Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom


Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


Greetings, LINCS Community!


We are excited to announce the launch of the latest LINCS online course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom. This course is designed for instructors who are at the beginner/intermediate level of technology integration in the classroom. It is available on the LINCS Learning Portal, along with additional online courses from several other OVAE initiatives, in topics including English as a second language, adult career pathways, Learning to Achieve, science, and more.


Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom discusses why technology is important for teaching and learning, how instructors approach integrating technology, and what tools instructors can use to integrate technology. Throughout the course, you will learn about examples of adult education instructors’ personal experiences in integrating technology. In a culminating activity, you will create a Technology Integration Action Plan for a unit or lesson that you select for use with your own adult learners. You also will have the opportunity to interact with the LINCS Community throughout this online course. The course takes an estimated four hours to complete.


To join the LINCS Learning Portal and access its online courses, follow the following steps:

1. Go to the log in page at

2. Click the Create User / Sign up button in the Need to register? box. You will need to create a new account (separate from your LINCS Community account).

3. Complete the requested information to create your account. Check the box to accept the terms and conditions; and click Create an Account.

4. An email will be sent to you to confirm your email address. Click the link in your email to verify your email address and complete your account set up.

5. Within that email, click the Continue to LINCS Learning Online link and log in by entering your username (email address) and password. 


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