Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

HiSET Program News


·       The Spanish language version of the HiSET informational website is now live. Check it out at . There is a control at the top of the page next to the "Search" box that enables you to switch from Spanish to English on any page. In addition, all of the site content has been translated including the state-specific requirements pages.

·       Remember that the HiSET program is active on Twitter and we're posting information about the program, news and press releases, retweets, education policy links, event announcements, and more. Spread the word and follow us @HiSET_ETS and #HiSET.

·       The HiSET Program has tested 748 high school equivalency candidates in February.

·       There are almost 1300 test takers scheduled to take the HiSET exam.


 HiSET Action Items


·       Some test centers have been having issues if they are located outside of normal UPS areas. ETS is now working with UPS to arrange for ETS paid pick-ups for the test centers located outside of UPS pick-up areas.

·       A message pertaining to metal detector wands was distributed to all test centers in the ETS system.  This information does not apply to HiSET only testing centers.


Questions and Requests for HiSET Team:  Submit by March 4th


The HiSET team will be meeting with participants at the ABLE Directors’ Meeting on the afternoon of April 7th.  Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director, invites you to submit questions about HiSET so that they may be addressed at this meeting. Please submit by March 4th your questions and requests for HiSET operations and procedures you want reviewed to Margaret at



Check out the newly shared resources on the HiSET Resource page at


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


·       Persuasive Writing Topics

·      Practice Test Answer Key for Practice Test #1 (free)

·       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.


HiSET Brand Information


Go to the HiSET Resource page to access the HiSET Brand Guide.


Montana Requirements 


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


2.  Montana Technology Community of Practice (COP)                    


Tim Ponder has just introduced three new numeracy websites to the MT COP participants.  One of them is an offline version of Kahn Academy (KA Lite) which might be something corrections instructors may find usable.  Stay tuned for reaction from participants!


Click here and click on the weekly posts.


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


Only the conclusions and recommendations remain for the wrap-up of this review of Improving Adult Literacy Instruction.  Within the next month, MTLINCS will cite (without editorializing) the nine conclusions and recommendations the research presents.  Enjoy!




Ideally, conclusions and recommendations for adult literacy instruction would be grounded in clear research findings demonstrating the efficacy of the recommended approaches …


… The present situation is more complex. There is a surprising lack of research on the effectiveness of the various instructional practices for adults seeking to improve their literacy skills. The lack of relevant research is especially striking given the long history of both federal funding for adult education programs, albeit stretched thin, and reliance on developmental education courses to remediate college students’ skills. Few studies of adult literacy focus on the development of reading and writing skills. There is also inadequate knowledge about assessment and ongoing monitoring of adult students’ proficiencies, weaknesses, instructional environments, and progress, which might guide instructional planning …


… Given the dearth of relevant research with the target adult population, this report draws on what is available: extensive research on reading and writing processes and difficulties of younger students, emerging research on literacy and learning in adolescents and adults with normal reading capability, and extremely limited research on adult literacy learners …




Adult Learners and Learning Environments


Conclusion 1:


The population of adult learners is heterogeneous. Optimal reading and writing instruction will therefore vary according to goals for literacy development and learning, knowledge and skill, interests, neurocognitive profiles, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The contexts in which adults receive literacy instruction also are highly variable with respect to (1) place and purpose of instruction, (2) literacy development aims and practices, and (3) instructor preparation.


Instructors vary in their knowledge of reading and writing development, assessment, curriculum development, and pedagogy. The training instructors receive is generally limited, and professional development is constrained by lack of funding, inflexible locations, work, and other life demands. To be effective, however, the instructors must reliably assess learners’ skills, plan and differentiate instruction, and select and adapt materials and learning activities to meet the skill development needs of learners who differ greatly in their neurobiological, psychosocial, cultural, and linguistic characteristics, as well as in their level of literacy attainment …


… This training and support must include knowledge and skills for teaching adults with disabilities …


Principles of Effective Literacy Instruction


Conclusion 2:


Effective literacy instruction


·       targets (as needed) word recognition, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, background knowledge, strategies for deeper analysis and understanding of texts, and the component skills of writing;

·       combines explicit teaching and extensive practice with motivating and varied texts, tools, and tasks matched to the learner’s skills, educational and cultural backgrounds, and literacy needs and goals;

·       explicitly targets the automation and integration of component skills and the transfer of skills to tasks valued by society and the learner; and

·       includes formative assessments to monitor progress, provide feedback, and adjust instruction.


… Students who have not mastered the foundational component skills of reading and writing require instruction targeted to their skill level and practice with reading and writing in amounts substantial enough to produce high levels of competence in the component skills …


1. Interventions that directly target specific learning difficulties in the context of broader reading and writing instruction result in better literacy outcomes for struggling readers and writers.

2. Intervention must include explicit instruction to support generalization and transfer of learning, with abundant and varied opportunities for practice.

3. Struggling learners require more intense instruction, more explicit instruction, and even more opportunities to practice inside and outside the classroom.

4. Attributions, beliefs, and motivational profiles of struggling learners must be understood and targeted during instruction.

5. Intervention should be differentiated to meet the particular needs of adults, including those with disabilities. Research is needed to test whether and when subgroups of adult learners might benefit from different types of instruction.


Conclusion 3:


Although knowledge of effective literacy instruction for adults is lacking, research with younger populations can be used to guide the development of instructional approaches for adults if the instruction is modified to account for two major differences between adults and younger populations: (1) adults may experience age-related neurocognitive declines that affect reading and writing processes and speed of learning and (2) adults have varied and more substantial life experiences and knowledge and different motivations for learning that need attention in instructional design. Research with adult literacy learners is required to validate, identify the boundaries of, and extend current knowledge to identify how best to meet the particular literacy development needs of well-defined subgroups of adults.


… Yet the practices already validated to develop reading and writing skills in younger students should work for older students, provided that the instruction is modified in two ways. First, findings from cognitive science and aging show that the increased knowledge and decreased speed and information processing capacity of cognitive processes that occurs with age may, at the margin, require some tuning of instruction for older learners. Second, although general principles of motivation should apply to learners of all ages, the particular motivations to read or write are often different at different ages. Instruction for adolescents and adults may need to be designed differently to motivate these populations to persist …


Conclusion 4:


Literacy development is a complex skill that requires thousands of hours of practice to reach the levels needed for full opportunity in modern life, yet many adults do not persist long enough in adult education programs or developmental education courses. Many factors—instructional, cognitive, economic, and social—affect persistence. At present, research does not indicate which methods are most effective in supporting adults’ persistence and engagement with instruction. Enough is known, however, from research on motivation, literacy, and learning with other populations to suggest how to design motivating instructional environments, create more time for practice, and ensure that the time is efficiently used. The efficacy of these approaches will need to be tested rigorously.


… Findings show low completion rates for developmental education courses in college, lack of persistence in adult education programs, and high rates of attrition from research studies on instructional effectiveness for adults with low-to intermediate-level skills. Moreover, even if completed, the available programs cannot, by themselves, provide enough practice to build needed facility levels. Future interventions must be designed on the assumption that a main reason for the lack of substantial progress is that significant portions of the needed practice have not occurred for adults with inadequate literacy …


… First, the adult needs to be present for and persist with instruction …


… Time for learning competes with time for work. Transportation from home to a study site and child care responsibilities can be major barriers. Increased access to child care and transportation and other social services, such as counseling, may help with retention of learners in programs and with their persistence in literacy practice. Financial support and incentives may be necessary even for highly motivated learners. Although research on the factors that motivate adults to persist in literacy programs is limited, we encourage the development and testing of approaches that have been used with some success to motivate adherence to health promotion programs (e.g., weight loss, smoking cessation). Reminder systems used in health care may also prove of benefit in encouraging repeated presence for classes. Having some level of choice in the source, location, and form of instruction is likely to increase motivation. For this reason and because effective literacy is built up over thousands of hours, it is extremely worthwhile to include out-of-class practice opportunities in any program. Technology has the potential to expand time for practice beyond what institutions can afford to provide via human instructors.


Improving Adult Literacy Instruction – Options for Practice and Research, Page 253-261


Coming next:  More Research Conclusions and Recommendations


4.  National Webinar:  Time to Reskill


Check out the information below in Posting #9.


National Information


5.  Alternative Certificates


Taken from OCTEA Connections

Many U.S. Adults Hold Educational Credentials That Are Valuable Alternatives to Degrees

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012, which reports that, as of fall 2012, more than 50 million U.S. adults (about 25 percent of the adult population) had received a professional certification, license, or educational certificate that was not a degree awarded by a college or university. Of the awardees, some 34 million had a professional certification or license, 7 million had an educational certificate, and 12 million had received both a professional certification or license and an educational certificate.

These alternative credentials covered a wide variety of content areas, including business, cosmetology, culinary arts, education, finance, management, and nursing. According to this first Census Bureau report ever about alternative educational credentials, they generally led to higher median monthly earnings for people with less than a bachelor’s degree, ranging from $4,167 for those with only a professional certification or license to $3,433 for those with only an educational certificate, and $3,920 for some­one with both types of creden­tials.  People without an alternative credential earned only $3,110, by comparison. There was little difference reported for people who had earned at least a bachelor’s degree, whether they added an alternative certificate or not.

The bureau also reported that professional certifications and licenses were more common at the level of an associate degree or higher, and especially so for people with master's and professional degrees.

The study found 11.2 million adults who had at most a high school diploma and also held a professional certification or license. If such an alternative credential were the hallmark of a revised measure of educational levels, almost 5 percent of the adult population would move into a higher (i.e., more than high school) education category.

The study also determined that almost three-quarters of recent or current jobs required professional certifications and licenses. Further, some 30 percent of adults who worked during the previous four months held an alternative credential, compared to 16 percent of unemployed adults and 13 percent of adults not in the labor force.

The data included in the report were collected between September and December 2012 using the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

6.  Corrections:  Traumatic Brain Injuries


Taken from LINCS Corrections


Click here  to access the webinar.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center recently hosted a webinar on traumatic brain injuries in the criminal justice population.

While they are certainly not the only population with traumatic brain injuries, veterans returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan make up a large percentage of those involved with the criminal justice system.  There has definitely been an increase in the number of specialty courts -- Veterans Courts, Mental Health Courts and Substance Abuse Courts -- but their reach and availability are limited and often fairly random.  This webinar does a great job of addressing some of the whys and wherefores of overrepresentation of veterans and others suffering from traumatic brain injury in the criminal justice system, and begins the discussion of how we can better serve the veteran community both before and after they end up in our corrections classrooms.

-- Heather Erwin

7. Helping Students at Risk: Free Webinar March 5

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


Click here  to register for webinar.


I wanted to share a free webinar I came across in Education Week's Digital Directions newsletter.  It includes the Universal Design for Learning that is so exciting and so applicable in a corrections classroom.  


FREE WEBINAR - Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2 p.m. ET

Helping At-Risk Students Develop Literacy Skills

Join two experts in literacy instruction for a discussion of instructional methods for struggling readers, including universal design for learning, assistive technology, and differentiated instruction. Click to attend this event.

-- Heather Erwin

8.  LINCS Community Unavailable February 28 to March 2 due to Updates

Taken from LINCS Notice

9.  PIACC Webinar Rescheduled - March 13 - Time to Reskill

Taken from Notices


NOTE: new date! The original February date was postponed due to weather. Please use this link to register for the rescheduled webinar.


Join the U.S. Department of Education, American Institutes for Research, and adult education advocates for a webinar on March 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.  Reading Resource

Taken from LINCS Assessment


The Assessment group has been discussing discussion the transformation of KWL charts. Click here to access a copy of the new KWL/KWHLAQ chart for student use. 


11.  Technology:  Twitter Resource – Finding Meaning in Twitter


Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning


Click here to access the Slideshare information presented during the Twitter webinar.  Archived webinar coming soon!


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



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