Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Montana Information

1.     HiSET Blast

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 ____________________________.

 Resources:  New Resources Posted!

1.           Montana Library Information:  Postings on Homework MT

        HiSET practice testsFree practice tests from ETS website

 (Also posted at .  Click on Practice Tests.)

        Content videos:  Videos from Homework MT  

Click here

        Click on Connect Now at the bottom of the screen.

        Then click on Test Prep at the bottom of the screen.

        Select the following from the drop-down menus:

o   Standardized Tests Preparation, Other Tests, and HiSET.

        Then click on See all 6 Videos.

2.          Persuasive Writing Resources

 Click here and click on Writing.

        Persuasive Essay Thesis Practice NEW

       Argumentative (Persuasive) Essay Guidelines

       Sample Persuasive Essay

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.

2.  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!

3.  Montana Technology Community of Practice (COP)                   

MT COP is now wrapping up.  Both Tim Ponder and participants shared a variety of websites with one another.  As of today, MTLINCS has gathered the following stats:

        34 Montana members subscribed

        22 out of 34 posted at least once = 65%

        76 total posts

Margaret Bowles shared the following:

I am very proud of all of you who have participated in our first COP; it was a wonderful way for each of you to receive information on new websites and share  thoughts on how they support your existing practice.  I know that April 5th is your last day to post for our MT Tech in the Classroom, but it does not have to be an end to a MT COP. I envision many creative ways we can use our COP in the future.

Kudos to all of you who have paved the way for sustaining professional dialogue in a new and exciting way!

OPI renewal units will be mailed to those of you met the weekly posting requirement.


Click here and click on the websites to access a list of websites presented.

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

Review Research Postings! 

Click here to access 2013-2014 research postings from Improving Adult Literacy Instruction.  Click here to email questions or comments.  

National Information 

5.  EdReady:  Montana-wide Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Remediation

Taken from LINCS Post-secondary Completion and OCTAE Connection

EdReady–Reducing the Need for Developmental Education 

...... the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation donated $2.4 million to the Montana Digital Academy for a three-year experiment testing the new EdReady remediation system statewide. The foundation made its donation based on a pilot project at the University of Montana, which resulted in 86 percent of participating students improving their remedial mathematics scores so they would qualify for higher-level university courses. EdReady focuses on helping students improve their math and English skills so they are ready for college courses as soon as they enroll. 

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom called the gift “transformative.” “We will be the first state in the nation to offer the EdReady program to all secondary and post-secondary students, while also developing a national model that will guide future implementation across the country,” he said. Denise Juneau, state superintendent of public instruction, calls EdReady “a promising tool” for helping students hit the ground running academically in college. The Montana Digital Academy, part of the state’s k-12 system, helps school districts expand their core and elective educational offerings, including online college-prep courses. 

[Excerpt above from OCTAE Connection - Issue 190]

According to the Missoulian article, the pilot project was carried out at the University of Montana, where 86 percent of participating students improved their remedial math skills to the point they qualified for higher-level university courses.

You can view the sample courses like the Algebra 1 course or the Developmental Math course by registering here (free to review). Do share your comments and feedback as you review these two Math courses. The English courses are not available yet.

Priyanka Sharma

SME, Postsecondary Completion 

 6.  LINCS:  An Overview of National Projects, Resources, and Communities of Practice

Taken from LINCS Notice

LINCS: An Overview of National Projects, Resources, and Communities of Practice – POWERPOINT

The session was presented by Kaye Beall, co-director of the LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center.  The session provided an overview of  new resources, tools, and online courses on the LINCS portal and LINCS Community. Highlights were also provided about new professional development opportunities.   Topics of the presentation included:

        OCTAE priorities and investments

        benefits of using LINCS

        the LINCS website and Resource Collection

        the LINCS Community of Practice

        the LINCS Regional Professional Development Centers (RPDCs)

Below is a link to the COABE repository which includes a PDF of the PowerPoint slides:

LINCS: An Overview of National Projects, Resources, and Communities of Practice (PDF)

Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

7.  PIACC:  A Time to Reskill Webinar Now Posted

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development

The webinar has now been posted at .

 PIACC Discussion

Jackie Taylor shared:

For the first time in a decade we have nationally representative data on adult literacy, numeracy, and even “problem-solving in technology-rich environments”. It’s a unique opportunity to use these data to engage practitioners and communities around the issues that matter to us most. A few facts mentioned include:

        Literacy skills (below Level 1 and Level 1) are more common on average in the U.S. than in participating countries

        Nearly 1 in 3 adults have weak numeracy skills in the U.S. compared to the international average of 1 in 5

        About 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. have low literacy skills compared to 1 in 20 in Japan.

        Minorities are disproportionately represented

        Younger cohorts’ skills are not outpacing older cohorts’ skills

See the PIAAC Gateway for the archive of the Webinar, “Time to Reskill: A Practitioner Engagement Event” -- which presents numerous facts and talking points regarding PIAAC.

Additional recent facts can be found in a new infographic from AIR: Skills to Pay the Bills

— And in two new fact sheets from the National Coalition for Literacy PIAAC website:

Investing in Adult Education PAYS!

        For Educational Attainment

        For Fully Integrated Communities

David Rosen shared:

If Americans are concerned about our level of basic skills and our competitiveness among our peer nations, the PIAAC results should wake-up our country. The PIAAC results should mean for preK-12 and adult basic education what the Russians' launch of the Sputnik satellite in the 1950's meant to K-12 and university science education -- an infusion of public resources to address how Americans learn science and math so we could catch up to the Russians in space exploration …

As I interpret the PIAAC results, with new resources to make this possible, here's what we need for professional development,:

1. In every state a significant expansion of professional development is needed to help teachers teach digital literacy and problem solving skills using technology. This implies that every adult education teacher will have regular daily access at home and work to a computer, a smart phone and an electronic tablet. Every teacher needs to be comfortable and competent in using these devices. In addition, in every classroom there must be broadband wireless access, and every student needs to have (his her own, or a program-provided) computer, and/or other Internet accessible device. Most teachers will also need an electronic whiteboard and a multimedia projector. With ready access to tools such as these for adult education teachers and students, in-depth and ongoing professional development will be needed to help teachers learn -- and practice -- how to use these tools well, and how to help students be comfortable and competent in using these tools. This would result in digital literacy for teachers as well as students …

Digital literacy skills are the foundation of more advanced skills like problem solving using technology. To address this kind of problem solving, teachers and their students will need to learn how to take information and frame a problem, in this case a problem in a "technology-rich environment" that has arisen because of the availability of technology and that must be solved using electronic tools. Teachers and students will need to know to how to develop a plan for solving the problem, how to select the right digital tools to solve the problem, how then to solve the problem, and how to evaluate their solution. This is new. Before PIAAC we have not tested adults for these kinds of skills in the United States. We also have not taught teachers how to help students learn these skills. This is a very important new area for adult education professional development.

2. For literacy and numeracy, fortunately, we do have some well-designed national and state professional development efforts, but these reach a small fraction of teachers who need these skills. We especially need an infusion of resources to support sustained professional development in numeracy. We also need more full-time, qualified teachers of numeracy. This problem is not unique to adult basic education, of course. We also need improvement in how we teach math in K-12.

3. If we significantly improve professional development, and as a result, the overall quality of adult basic education teaching we have the even greater problem that our current publicly-funded adult education system in the United States reaches such a small percentage (somewhere between 3% and 10%) of the adults who need basic skills. This problem, of course, is much larger than what can be addressed through professional development, but if this problem is addressed, then we will also need more qualified (and especially more full-time qualified) adult education teachers, and the role of professional development will need to be scaled up too.

Click here to read more.

8.  Science Discussion

Taken from LINCS Notice

The LINCS Community is pleased to host a special online discussion in the Science group in April: Using Polar Sciences in Adult Basic Education Programs. From April 7 – 17, join guest polar scientists and educators in an online discussion on how science, particularly polar science, can be used as the context for teaching adult basic skills.

Guests will share their work and advances in the polar sciences along with science educational materials, many which have been developed by science educators at the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Our guests will discuss the current state of research in polar regions and how these resources can be integrated in adult education programs to teach critical reading, writing, and math skills.

Instructors and program administrators interested in incorporating science into their adult basic education classrooms are encouraged to participate in this special online discussion by asking questions and sharing their experiences and lessons learned when integrating science in the classroom.

Please join the Science group to participate in this special online discussion.

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

9.  Stackable Credentials:  Implementation Strategies and Policy Issues

 Taken from LINCS Postsecondary Completion

CLASP Senior Fellow Evelyn Ganzglass recently authored a paper on emerging innovations in postsecondary education.  The paper identifies five strategies several states and community colleges and their partners are using to create "stackable credentials." The four states featured-Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin-are members of the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a state-led, CLASP-facilitated initiative to develop and implement a framework of criteria and participant metrics for quality career pathway systems. Students can accumulate stackable credentials over time to build up their qualifications and help them move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher-paying jobs.

The paper discusses policy and institutional barriers these states and colleges have been working to overcome as they create a transferable currency of credentials that has value in both the labor market and postsecondary educational credit and credentialing systems. LINK

This study provides a window into developments in a number of diverse states, as well as emerging approaches to stacking credentials and associated implementation challenges. I find this excerpt defines the issue at hand quite well...

"...While the dynamism in educational options and credentials creates many new options, it also results in too many dead ends for people as they try—and often fail—to navigate through this complex system. People have trouble moving from noncredit occupational training, which makes up more than half of postsecondary enrollments,ix to credit-bearing programs and from short-term certificate programs that may help them gain a foothold in the labor market to longer-term degree programs that generally have a higher economic payoff. When experienced workers return to the education system to learn new skills, either to advance in their current field or switch to another field, they have trouble earning credit within the educational system for knowledge and skills they have gained at work through formal training and/or informally through work experience. Students, who have to stop out of postsecondary education because of life circumstances, are often forced to start over when they return to continue their studies."

The paper lays some implementation strategies as well as major policy issues, if you are interested in creating stackable credential pathways in your program. Have you heard about "lattice credentials"? Read this paper to find out more about them. 

 Priyanka Sharma 

10.  Teaching Discussion:  Watching Teaching in Action

Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

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

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.

11.  Workskills:  Preparing Workers for the 21st Century

 Taken from LINCS

A colleague shared a curriculum with me that I’m now using to teach adults basic skills in the context of work - others may find it useful as well. Please see:

Preparing Workers for 21st Century Employment: Making the Most of a Job, Making Sense of Math at Work, and Written Communication in the Workplace (a project of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth Office of Adult Education)

While I am still working my way through this treasure trove, what I enjoy about it most are the real-life scenarios and examples of reading, writing, and math situations in which adult students could likely find themselves.

The underlying premise of the curriculum seems captured with this statement by the developers:

“Over and over again we were told that despite SCANS, despite inclusion of “employability skills” in training programs and many other efforts the main complaint continues to be that new hires often don’t have the work ethic that employers expect.”

Jackie Taylor

 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