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


Directors’ Meeting:  ETS PowerPoint with Questions and Answers

The ETS team presented at the Montana ABLE Directors’ Meeting on April 7.

Click here to access the ETS PowerPoint with questions and answers to participants’ discussion items.

 ETS HiSET Math Standards Summary

The HiSET  math standards setting was completed the second week of April, and Montana was very fortunate to have Melinda Lynnes (Miles City) and Sarah Ghicadus (Bozeman) serve on this multi-state team. This was an intense two-day process that brought  high school, adult, and correctional education teachers together to recommend a passing score for the test. This study was conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Click here  for a brief summary of this process that Melinda and Sarah have written. Please share this summary with your staff, students, and community members. It confirms the validity of HiSET and the ETS commitment to an exemplary high school equivalency test.

On behalf of the entire adult education community, I thank Sarah and Melinda for sharing their time and expertise. I am grateful for the Montana representation.

 Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

 Montana HiSET Guidance:

Click here to access Montana HiSET Guidance.

Writing Test Update:

ETS is reviewing the packaging and delivery mode. In the meantime, Montana will align test administration with other HiSET states. Breaks are not allowed during the paper-based writing test.


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.

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

Share your HiSET success and graduation stories!

Do you have any graduation or celebration information and/or photos you would like to share?  If so, please send them to Margaret Bowles at .  She, in turn, with share these with ETS so that others may learn about Montana success!  Time to share!  Your successes will also be posted at

 2.  PEPTalk Updated:  Save the Date!

May 6 PEPTalk Webinar

11 to 12

Click here to preview updated PEPTalk.  All material is linked from Career Resources Network at .

Registration for PEPTalk

Here is the registration for the ABE webinar on May 6th from 11-12. Please have all Montana ABLE staff who will be using the new PEP Talk with their students register for the webinar! Proper administration of MCIS activity will provide data that confirms your efforts to assist students with their career and postsecondary plans. It also links your students into the statewide career information system! I hope you and your staff have had time to look at the redesigned curriculum. My partners at the Department of Labor and Industry and I are excited! 

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

Note from Pam Boggs:

We will record the webinar, so those that register will be sent a link to the recorded webinar so they can view at any time, but they must register in order to have the link sent to them!!

MT ABE MCIS Site Administration Tools

Join us for a Webinar on May 6

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Learn how to use the site administration tools in MCIS to track your students progress.



MT ABE MCIS Site Administration Tools


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT


After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.


System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

3.  Montana ABLE Programs MABLE Webinar Summary

Click here to access the MABLE Webinar Summary.

 4.  Montana Directors’ Meeting Resources

ETS HiSET PowerPoint Now Posted!

Click here to access the resources.

 5.  Montana ABLE Meetings

Montana ABLE will be hosting a variety of meetings within the next two months.  Click here on the calendar to view dates.

Information from the meetings will be posted on MTLINCS!  Stay tuned!

6.  PIACC Update:  Have you read it yet?  If not, see posting #11  below!


National Information

7.  Critical Thinking:  Teaching Rigorous and Reflective Thinking – More Snippets

Taken fro
m LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Click here  to read the article, Teaching Rigorous and Reflective Thinking.                                           

Derek Turner argues that posing a set of questions on a piece of writing can be an effective way to support the development of critical thinking skills. I think Turner makes an excellent point. The process of writing questions for peers also provides learners with the opportunity to enhance their skills as critical thinkers, so both the writers and the peer reviewers use and refine critical thinking skills in the process.

Susan Finnmiller

Snippet #1:

One aspect of asking questions as feedback that I've found to be important is addressing with students how to incorporate the responses to those questions into their writing. Students I work with often have no problem answering questions that other students or I pose about their writing, but are completely stymied on how to revise their writing to incorporate this information. I've found that addressing this next step in one on one conferences helps, as does modeling how to incorporate changes in a whole group discussion with a student volunteer sample.  


Snippet #2:

I, too, have found one-on-one conferencing really important in helping students move forward with revising their writing. You also point out that students often need the teacher to think aloud while revising to help everyone to better understand how to revise. Your method of modeling this for the whole class is a great way to do this. Using student writing can work well, as long as students are comfortable. We can also use our own writing to think aloud and model the revision process. 

I would like to add that I have learned that talking explicitly with students about the value of the revising process is critical. I firmly believe that it is in revising that we develop our skills as writers. Those of us who write a lot, revise a lot. In fact, I've heard it said that there really are only three rules for good writing. Revise. Revise. Revise …


Click here for more comments on the article.

8.  Disabilities Information:  Autism and ADHD

Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education

There are implications for adult educators in both of the following postings by Subject Matter Expert, Rochelle Kenyon.

     Increase in Autism

In the last few months, I have seen and read news multiple times about the incidence of Autism.   According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism rates have climbed nearly 30% between 2008 and 2010.  Rates have more than doubled since 2000.  it was believed that one of every 88 eight-year olds was affected by autism.   The condition is now believed to affect one of every 68 eight-year-olds.  The diagnosis is much more common in boys (one in 42) than girls (one in 189), and much more frequently found in whites than blacks or Hispanics. 

What could be causing this increase?  

The following informational article is from Dr. Gary Feldman of the Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, California. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 68 American children are identified with an autism spectrum disorder – a 30% increase from 1 in 88 two years ago. More than two million Americans currently live with an autism spectrum disorder, but the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by more than 60 percent with early diagnosis and intervention. When it comes to health, autism is a disorder that can’t be ignored or overlooked.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this exactly occurs is not well understood yet. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Symptoms almost always start before a child is 3-years-old and can present themselves as early as 18 months.

The diagnosis of autism has always been based on history obtained from caregivers and teachers, as well as through direct observations. There currently is no blood test that can diagnose an autism spectrum disorder. However, research is underway to evaluate a blood test that will help in making the diagnosis.

There is no known single cause of autism, but autism is treatable. Children do not outgrow autism, but studies show that kids who received early diagnosis and intervention tend to have better brain function, communication skills and overall social behavior. This is why knowing the signs of autism and taking action is so important.

There are several signs and symptoms that are more prevalent than others and that parents should keep an eye out for:

·        Unusual behaviors

o   Hand flapping

o   Lines up toys or other objects

o   Gets upset by minor changes

o   Has obsessive interests

·        Poor social skills

o   Avoids eye contact

o   Doesn’t respond to their name after 12 months

o   Prefers to play alone

o   Avoids or resists physical contact

·        Difficulty with communication skills

o   Doesn’t point or doesn’t respond to pointing

o   Repeats words or phrases over and over

o   Delayed speech and language skills

o   Reverses pronouns (i.e., "you" instead of "I")

There also are potential risk factors that may increase a child's chance of developing autism:

·        Children that have a parent or sibling with autism

·        Children that are born more than 26 weeks premature

·        Children that are born to older parents, especially fathers

·        Children that are born underweight

·        Boys are four to five times more likely to develop autism than a girl

·        Pregnant women who take the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide

It is important to note that one of the most common rumors in autism is based on whether a link exists between autism and certain childhood vaccines, particularly the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. However, extensive studies and research have not found a link between autism and vaccines.

     Children Taking Medications for ADHD

I am always interested in disability incidence and prevalence figures.  As you watch the figures increase, you can get an idea of how that would change the percentage of students with disabilities that could enter our adult education classes.

Maggie Fox from NBC news has reported on a new survey that found 7.5 percent of children aged 6–17 are taking some sort of prescription medicine for emotional or behavioral difficulties.  The National Center for Health Statistics used data from interviews of the parents of 17,000 children in 2011-2012 for the study.  It’s a first look at the problem, and supports evidence that more and more U.S. children are getting drugs for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The good news is that more than half of their parents said the medication helped their children “a lot." The troubling news is that low-income kids were more likely to be given such drugs.

The survey did not ask parents which drugs, precisely, the children had been prescribed and it did not ask for which specific condition.   More than 80 percent of the parents also said their children had at some point been diagnosed with ADHD.

More children insured by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Programs used prescribed medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties than children with private health insurance or no health insurance.

And, unsurprisingly, more boys than girls were being medicated — 9.7 percent compared to 5.2 percent of girls.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 5 percent of U.S. children have ADHD. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted that 11 percent and more of children have been diagnosed with ADHD, up from 7.8 percent in 2003. Other reports show diagnoses have jumped more than 24 percent in the last decade.

9.  ESL:  Professional Development Opportunity from AIR – Still time to apply!

Taken from LINCS Notice

There is still time to apply to be a part of this exciting professional opportunity.  If you are interested in applying to be a part of the LINCS ESL Professional project’s teacher User Group, please complete the application by May 15th.  For more information about the User Group, click here. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions: or 202-403-6117. 


The American Institutes for Research (AIR) requests your help in recruiting experienced ESL teachers for an exciting new professional opportunity.  Through a contract from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), AIR is working to increase awareness and use of high quality ESL Open Educational Resources (OER) in Adult Education through the LINCS ESL Professional project. We are currently recruiting two rounds of teacher user group members who will identify, use, and evaluate adult ESL appropriate OER. Accepted participants will be provided with free professional development and an honorarium for completion of responsibilities.

The LINCS ESL Professional project will support up to 20 ELL educators to identify, use and review ESL OER through a 6-month online user group.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital teaching and learning materials of all types, including text, video, games and assessments that are freely available and adaptable for use in any educational setting for all types of learners. 

The abundance of open educational resources presents opportunities for educators and learners.  By participating in this effort, you will make a positive contribution to instructional practices for ELL teachers and adult learners. 

Please click here to see our flyer for more details and a link to the User Group application. 

For more information about this opportunity and access to the application please contact Amanda Duffy at or 202-403-6117.

10.  LINCS New Feature:  Quick Links

Taken from LINCS Notice

The LINCS Community continues to highlight several new technical features as part of our recent upgrade.


What’s the scoop?

Our Groups page now has quick link icons to take you directly to the section of each group that you would like to visit. Get there quick—with fewer clicks.

Tell me more!

Click on any of the mini icons on the Groups page to take you directly to the different sections of the group—Discussions, Bulletins, Polls or Events.

I still have questions.

We have a great Help section to assist you as you participate in the LINCS Community. If you still have questions or would like to submit feedback, please contact us!

11.  LINCS Webinar:  Students & Families Living in Rural Poverty: Research and Strategies for Educators

Taken from LINCS Notice

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., ET

Overview and registration link:

Description:  How can educators better support students and families living in rural poverty? At this Bridge Webinar, Professor Thomas Hirschl at the Department of Developmental Sociology at Cornell University will present research on poverty in rural areas and on the diversity of rural communities and their attitudes toward poverty. Dr. Hirschl will address the landscape of poverty and the difficulties that families face navigating a society where middle-class values predominate. He will also present a set of strategies to assist rural educators in their work with low-income families, including approaches to minimizing stigmatization. Members of the Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance from Maine and New York will reflect on Dr. Hirschl’s presentation and share strategies they have instituted within their own schools and districts.

Who Should Attend?
Rural and urban educators and researchers as well as state-level education agencies and organizations across New England and New York are encouraged to attend.

Sign Up Today!

Register now for this webinar. Login instructions will be emailed to you 24 hours prior to the event. For more information, contact

12.  PIACC:  A Time to Reskill Webinar Now Posted

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development

The webinar has now been posted at .

 PIACC Discussion

The discussion has continued.  Check out the following comments.

Federico Salas-Isnardi shared:

Each of us will focus on a different concern arising from the PIAAC report. To me, these are three big challenges:

·        First, while, according to the report, our adults are below average in terms of basic skills (numeracy, literacy and problem solving using technology) at the same time we have the second highest percentage of available jobs requiring post-secondary education or higher. That is, the skill gap is bigger for adults in the USA than in most other countries in the sample. So, unless we do something urgently, we cannot hope to come out of the recession any time soon and cannot hope to recover our competitive edge in the global economy.

·        Second, in 1993, the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) drew attention to the fact that over 20% of the adult population was functionally illiterate and fully 90 million adults in America performed at the lowest two literacy levels in the survey. It is worth considering the PIAAC results indicate, twenty years later, that the situation has not improved and may have actually worsened slightly.

·        In addition, we are, as a nation, not doing as well as other countries educating our young. A separate OECD report on the skills of in-school 15 year olds (3) shows that our youth score below their international counterparts in literacy and numeracy. When coupled with our national drop-out problem, the outlook for the future is not good unless adult education is prepared to help these young adults who learn in a manner very different than what most of us are used to

The fact that we haven’t improved the skill situation for our adults in the last 20 or 30 years shows that adult education is woefully underfunded (as we know) but it also may indicate that we need to change what we have been doing and how. On the other front, in 1983 A Nation at Risk raised the alarm in terms of the shape of public education and, in spite of a public education system that is much better funded than adult education, 30 years later many of the concerns raised by that report are still haunting our schools. Perhaps our attempts to fix the problem have been consistently focused on the wrong solutions. I believe whether it is in the K-12 system or in adult education, our challenge is addressing the underlying causes of the problem and not just the presenting symptoms.

Click here to read more.

13.  Teaching Discussion:  Watching Teaching in Action (Continued)

 Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

 Special Online Discussion: Watching Teaching in Action on April 9-25

                                             Snippet #1 from Week 3:


April 21 – 25 is the start of week 3 of our activity in the College and Career Standards Group. The video for this week focuses on informational texts.  The short video begins with students expressing their difficulties reading and using complex texts.  You will see how the instructor, Ms. Wessling, uses a strategy to overcome their challenges.  I think that viewing this video can provide you with insight that is transferable to adult education classes.

Joining us in our discussion will be Amy Matthews from Kentucky. 

Comic Book Templates: An Entry Point into Nonfiction

Common Core Standards: ELA.RI.9-10.1, ELA.RI.11-12.1, ELA.RI.11-12.5

Reading Informational Texts

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.

(Source: and

Meryl Becker-Prezocki, SME

Snippet #2 from Week 3:

Graphic Organizers

I just love graphic organizers and have found that most, if not all, of my students love them too after they have made use of them once or twice.  I've found this to be particularly so when a reading assignment turns into a writing assignment.  It is then when the student realizes their use of active reading with a graphic organizer was not just a "busy work" activity.

One thing that I have found that my students were having a bit of trouble with, however, was that when it was time to start making those meta-cognitive associations without the scaffolding an organizer provided, they had a little trouble beginning that task on their own.  I found one way of dealing with this problem was to talk students through this new process before they actually had to give the "printed" graphic organizer up.  Then, I walked them through the process of making their own organizers based on the purpose of the text.  Before long, they were employing the same active reading strategies that the organizers allowed them to use, but they were doing it on their own …  


Snippet #1 from Week 3:

Graphic Organizers for Math

I wanted to add that graphic organizers are great in math, too.  They help learners organize new information and scaffold it with information they already know.  In my math course, I use something like this (click here) is a great way to introduce new and abstract ideas and build understanding …

Brooke Istas

This month, the LINCS Community College and Career Standards group will host a special two and a half week online discussion, Watching Teaching in Action. The discussion will guide group members through a series of selected short videos produced by the Teaching Channel at that demonstrate a variety of instructional practices and strategies in incorporating standards in the classroom. We invite you to participate in this activity from April 9-25 and take a look inside schools to watch how teachers are implementing standards in the classroom. Guest adult educators from Kentucky will also join the discussion to share their experiences and ideas for adapting these instructional practices into the adult education classroom.

Please join the College and Career Standards group to participate in this special online discussion.

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