Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS 

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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 mbowles@mt.govShe, 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.  PEP Talk Updated and MCIS:  Did you miss the webinar?

Attention Montana ABLE Programs!

Were you unable to participate in the PEP Talk/MCIS webinar and have questions about the MCIS?  Contact Pam Boggs at .  She is the expert and can answer any your questions!

Do you have any PEP Talk questions?  Contact Annette Miller, Information Resources Supervisor at .

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

Message from Margaret Bowles

Greetings Everyone,

… Please email or call 1-800-541-3904 to visit with Pam or Donetta to visit about your site administration.  Don’t forget you need this so you can really manage student career exploration and portfolio completion, and it is the only way we can have site level data on MCIS activity and the number of portfolios created.

This new PEP Talk Curriculum is intended to be integrated in classroom instruction, so the PEP Talk default class has been removed from MABLE.

If you are interested in helping Annette with the PEP Talk teachers’ guide, do not hesitate to email her! She wants your input, and remember -- she will be doing all the work!

Thanks to all,


Information about PEP Talk from April 2014 Montana Career Newsletter

We are happy to announce that PEP Talk has been updated. After collecting feedback from PEP Talk power users, we discovered that the majority of our PEP Talk users are working in a classroom or case-management setting. We are thrilled that it is being used this way because career development is more effective when delivered by a counselor or teacher. With that in mind, we have redesigned the PEP Talk workbook with all the necessary instructions on how to use it in conjunction with MCIS. Previously, the instructions in the workbook were minimal because most of the specific MCIS information was included in the training videos. We have found that the training videos aren’t necessary once the instructors are comfortable using MCIS.
We have also added a new component into the workbook, a soft skills checklist. The checklist provides insight into possible areas for additional soft skills training. The Research & Analysis Bureau of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry conducted a survey asking employers about new hires and their skills. The results were published in a series of articles, including this article on short job duration: that shows the data on skills shortages of new hires. The results show that a lack of soft skills is an important issue for employers.
Later this year, our PEP Talk users group will be preparing an instructor’s guide for PEP Talk. We think the additional information provided through this guide will help instructors get the most out of PEP Talk and will incorporate best practices from the field. We will be offer training and webinars on the new PEP Talk in the near future.
Once the updated PEP Talk is approved for release, in the next few weeks, it can be found in the same location as before:

3.  Montana ABLE at National Meeting

At the state directors’ meeting next week, Montana will be in the spot light on two different occasions.

        Below is an  email from Cheryl Keenan, announcing the Handbook for Sustaining Standards-Based Education in Adult Education. Montana and Kentucky are the two states featured in the handbook.

        OCTAE will officially announce the 14 states receiving the Moving Pathways Forward Grants:  Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

4.  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!

5.  PIACC Resources

Check out Posting #10  below to access snapshot PIACC resources.

National Information

6.  Attendance:  Making a Case for Good Attendance

Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

Click here  to read an interesting discussion taking place regarding attendance. 

Snippet #1

A few years ago, PA had a Persistence Institute facilitated by Andy Nash. One of the tools she presented was a graph, where students charted their own attendance and were able to see exactly how many hours of attendance they had each day, week, month, etc. I think sometimes our students don't realize how much they are missing until it is before them in black and white …

Snippet #2

I was beginning to think it was us! Our attendance is terrible. We call students who don't show up, all adults over 21. They talk the big talk, but in the end the don't show. I know I can't force them, but when no one show from the class it's disheartening. I have changed teachers, format, added You tube lessons...

7.  Career Pathways Webinar:  Advancing System Alignment and Career Pathways Innovations

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

June 4, 2014

2:00pm ET (1:00pm/Central, 12:00pm/Mountain, 11:00am/Pacific)

Join us for the second installment of the Eye On the Workforce Innovation Fund Stakeholder Engagement Series. This national webinar examines Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grantees' emerging system alignment and career pathways innovations.

Join ETA Deputy Assistant Secretary Eric Seleznow, other national policy experts, and several featured WIF grantees: City and County of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Boards, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, and Workforce Central of Washington State. 

8.  Career Pathways:  Stackable Credentials

Taken from OCTAE Connection

CLASP Releases Paper on Strategies to Create Stackable Credentials

The Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently released the paper Scaling "Stackable Credentials": Implications for Implementation and Policy by Evelyn Ganzglass. For the purpose of her study, the author uses the Department of Labor’s definition of “stackable credentials as “part of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build up an individual’s qualifications and help them to move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher-paying jobs.” 

In today’s unstable economy, there has been a focus on stackable credits, and their effects on workers’ and students’ economic viability and mobility. Workers with higher levels of education and credentials are generally positioned to rebound more quickly during economic downturns. Ganzglass sees stackable credits as “potentially transferable currency that can help people progress in our multi-layered education, training, and credentialing system without having to start over as their needs and interests change.” She explored reforms in policies and practices to address some of the barriers to attaining educational and occupational credentials. Ganzglass also discusses the strategies being used to create stackable credentials, a principal feature of career pathways, in the states where data was gathered—Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

Career pathways systems, as the report indicates, “connect progressive levels of education, training, and supportive services in specific sectors or cross-sector occupations in a way that optimizes the progress and success of individuals … in securing marketable credentials, family-supporting employment, and further education and employment opportunities.” The report underscores the increased importance that policymakers, such as National Governors Association members, place on stackable credentialing in response to the president’s challenge that all Americans complete some postsecondary schooling as a requisite for entering and staying in the middle class. 

The paper reveals that the four states and their local area colleges studied are increasing credential attainment in a variety of ways. The findings are not intended to be representative of all efforts, but rather to serve as a kind of window into the diverse developments and emerging approaches to stacking credentials and their associated implementation challenges. Ganzglass describes five strategies to help students, workers, and job seekers overcome obstacles to attaining stackable credentials: 

1.     “Modularize existing applied associate degree and technical diploma programs;

2.     “Embed existing industry and professional certifications in career and technical programs;

3.     “Streamline and scale processes for awarding credit for learning represented by non-collegiate credentials;

4.     “Create ‘lattice credentials’ that allow students to move both up to a career ladder within an occupational field or across multiple pathways in a career lattice; and

5.     Create dual enrollment options that enable students to work concurrently toward a high school diploma or its equivalency, marketable postsecondary credentials and industry certifications.” 

While stackable credentials as a best practice is still in the early stages of development, it appears to be worth pursuing as potentially “transferable currency” that will allow people to progress in education, training, and gaining credentials without having to always start over.

9.  LINCS Webinar Posted

Taken from LINCS Announcement

Click here  to access the following:  A Road Map to LINCS: Plotting Your Route to Optimal Professional Development.

10.  PIACC Resources

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development

Need a snapshot of PIACC?  AIR and the National Coalition for Literacy have published new resources on PIAAC. 

        PIAAC Overview Brochure

        PIAAC: What the Data Say About the Skills of U.S. Adults

        Adult Education Pays for Safer and Healthier Communities

11.  OER Discussion

Taken from LINCS Notice

You are all invited to participate in and learn from an exciting conversation about Open Educational Resources that will take place from May 12th – May 16th here on LINCS.  The conversation will be facilitated by Dahlia Shaewitz, Delphinia Brown and Amanda Duffy from the American Institutes for Research.  This conversation is a continuation of the work they have been doing on the Open Educational Resources to Increase Teaching and Learning of STEM Subjects in Adult Education Project.  For more information about this project, please visit the project page. 

During this five day discussion we will share important and relevant information about open educational resources (OER) in adult education.  We will begin by defining what an OER is and how it may be valuable to enhance instruction and learning in adult education.  During the week we will discuss incorporating OER in the classroom and how you can search for and select OER for your classroom. Towards the end of the week, you will have opportunities to apply your knowledge of OER in an activity called “Is it an OER or not?”.  We will wrap up the week with a discussion on ways you can begin to move forward with including OER in your instruction.  We welcome all of your questions and comments—please feel free to experiment with OER and bring your thoughts to this discussion.

12.  Reading Discussion:  Which of the five reading components is most closely associated with learners’ reading comprehension?

 Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing 

Click here to read colleagues’ opinions about reading comprehension. 

Snippet #1

Vocabulary is something that I constantly ran into given that most of my experience was from teaching science.  I would usually have to stop readings to give a quick lesson establishing foundation vocabulary during the review of any passage in addition to the new vocabulary that was usually presented in the passage itself...  

Snippet #2

That's an extremely tough call; so much depends on where a student is in their reading experience.  They are, in many ways, building blocks on each other.  But as I pondered them, I decided that the thing I see as causing the most difficulty for my students is decoding.  When that takes them a long time, their fluency slows down, and they don't understand what they've read.  They spend all their effort sounding things out and they lose the forest for the trees, if you will.  Once they know how to decode more effectively (whether through phonetics or a greater number of words recognizable on sight), their fluency should increase.  Once their fluency increases, they will have better options for determining the meaning of unknown vocabulary from context clues.  Strong decoding also offers more clues on vocabulary through root words, prefixes, and suffixes, once they can start to recognize them.

13.  Technology:  Reading On Screen or Hard Copy

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing 


You may find interesting this short Wired magazine article on what research shows are some of the differences between reading on screen and in hard copy.

David Rosen


Paper books also allow for different types of annotation: underlining and dog-earing and margin-scribbling, which for many people is integral to deep reading. Screen-reading software may allow annotations, but the process is far less tactile—and some researchers say tactility may be important. Studies have shown that close links exist between gesture and cognition. These links are little-studied in the context of reading, but are very much a part of writing, which similarly involves constructing mental models of text.

Click here to read Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper

14.  Technology:  Older Adults and Technology

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Click here to access Older Adults and Technology Use.

Nells Eckersley quotes from the article:

"America’s seniors have historically been late adopters to the world of technology compared to their younger compatriots, but their movement into digital life continues to deepen, according to newly released data from the Pew Research Center. In this report, we take advantage of a particularly large survey to conduct a unique exploration not only of technology use between Americans ages 65 or older and the rest of the population, but within the senior population as well.

Two different groups of older Americans emerge. The first group (which leans toward younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors) has relatively substantial technology assets, and also has a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms. The other (which tends to be older and less affluent, often with significant challenges with health or disability) is largely disconnected from the world of digital tools and services, both physically and psychologically.                                                                     

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