Montana LIN­­­CS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

  Problems with the links in the email?

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

Montana Information

1.     HiSET Blast

Newest Information from ETS:  Writing

2015 HiSET assessments will include evidenced based essays as writing prompts. 

Update Directly from ETS

HiSET® eUpdate | May 2014

Practice Tests Delivered Whenever and Wherever Your Students Are — Official Computer-Based Practice Tests

For more than 35 years, Aztec Software® has been in the business of improving the lives of adults and young adults through computerized academic skills remediation. With the release of its newest suite of high-tech educational solutions, the ETS/Aztec partnership reinvents the student-teacher relationship by creating the most student-centric learning environment ever. Starting this month, Aztec has made available to the HiSET® student both the FREE and FEE-based versions of the Official Practice Test in computer- and mobile-based delivery. These practice exams create the perfect opportunity for students to experience the test in digital format.

Special Message from ETS

We have seen a recent increase in "HiSET" materials being offered by various publishers. ETS recommends only HiSET Approved or HiSET Official preparation materials. Materials without ETS approval have not been reviewed or endorsed by our HiSET test developers and may not be appropriately aligned to HiSET content. ETS is currently working with a variety of publishers, and once materials are released they will be announced on our informational website at

Save the Date — ETS HiSET First Annual Conference


December 1–4, 2014


The Venetian Las Vegas
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

More information will be available soon.


Check out the 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.  Montana ABLE Meetings

Information from Montana ABLE Spring Meetings

·       ESL Conference Summary

Stay tuned for more information!

3.  PIACC Resources:  Still have not had a chance to read about PIACC?  This link is for you:  a 2:26 minute video!

Click here to watch a brief overview of PIACC.  More resources on Post #11 below!                        

National Information

4.  Career Pathways:  Making Skills Everyone’s Business - A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 National Meeting for Adult Education State Directors this week.  Making Skills Everyone's Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States, a brief guide to OCTAE's national action plan, was shared with participants. The national action plan is based on:

·        a review of the performance and outcomes of state adult education practices

·        an assessment of states' status on various adult education reforms

·        consultations with several nations that have developed national strategies for improving foundation skills of adults

·        a literature review on instructional effectiveness

·        review and analysis of U.S. data as reported in the OEDC report, Time for the U.S. to Reskill, and

·        a nation-wide engagement process conducted by OCTAE leaders that sought input and recommendations from students and stakeholders.  

This guide is a preview to a longer report which will be released by OCTAE in August 2014.  Alex Chisholm, co-founder, President and CEO of Skylab Learning, and a panelist on a plenary session, "Champions of Change - Meeting the Call to Transform Adult Learning" describes the guide on Skylab's blog:

"Posted on May 15, 2014 by apollo


For the past six months, we’ve been participating in a series of engagement sessions organized by the Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) as it develops an action plan to transform adult education in the U.S.  As we’ve noted previously, roughly 36 million adults lack the skills to secure jobs and chase economic opportunities where they can realize a living wage.  Stakeholders from private industry, local, state, and federal agencies, foundations, educational organizations, policy organizations, labor groups, among others, have been contributing to the OCTAE’s efforts as we all try to get our arms around the really big issues that need to be addressed if we are going to address what is essentially a national crisis.

On Tuesday, at the annual meeting of State Adult Education Directors in Washington, Secretary Arne Duncan and the OCTAE team shared a preliminary brief, Making Skills Everyone’s Business, in advance of a larger action plan that will be released later this summer.  OCTAE has identified seven strategies for all to consider as we innovate:

(1) Create joint ownership of solutions (REFER BELOW TO RESOURCES FOR JOINT OWNERSHIP)
(2) Expand opportunities for adults to improve foundation skills
(3) Make career pathways available and accessible in every community
(4) Ensure all students have access to highly effective teachers, leaders, and programs
(5) Align federal policies and programs to integrate services for adults
(6) Increase the return on investment in skills training for business, industry, and labor
(7) Commit to closing the equity gap for vulnerable sub-populations

During a panel presentation moderated by Acting Assistant Secretary of Education Johan Uvin, we shared our thoughts on the role technology can play in increasing access to education and training, as well as the returns on investment individuals, businesses, and society can realize when we develop new programs for a diverse population of adult learners.

Specifically, we highlighted the proliferation of mobile devices among immigrant and minority groups as an installed base of technologies that could be leveraged for training, enabling low-skilled workers to have access to content and resources 24-7 rather than often times limited and expensive location-based training programs that look like “more of the same.”  And, of course, we championed game-based learning experiences, which engage learners differently than traditional instruction and can be customized for different contexts and are adaptive to individual learners.

In terms of ROI, we pointed to the case studies and research we’ve highlighted here in recent months, suggesting that it really is “everyone’s business” to be tackling the challenges of adult education and training.  As they consider their roles in catalyzing transformation, we encouraged State Adult Education Directors to explore opportunities that aren’t part of the old playbook and take risks when exploring new programs at state and local levels.  Unless we attempt something bold and different, we will continue to fail ourselves and those who look to us for leadership, direction, and opportunity."

PDF of Making Skills Everyone's Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States

Posted by Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group


Resources for Joint Ownership

… The LINCS Resource Collection can be a big help in understanding just how to create this "joint ownership." Go to the LINCS page at, then in the right hand box of the three choices choose "career pathways" and add "partnerships" as a key word. and  31 resources  will pop up.  You can read the review of each resource and decide if it looks like something that would be helpful to you. A link to the actual online free resource is included in each review. The basic idea in creating joint ownership is to involve partners to collaborate to solve the problems, community by community, of the  "roughly 36 million adults (who) lack the skills to secure jobs and chase economic opportunities where they can realize a living wage."  I would particularly recommend these resources from the 31 that are currently in the LINCS collection under "partnerships":

Getting Started Toolkit (Part 2): Partnership Development and Planning (review at

Courses to Employment: Partnering to Create Paths to Education and Careers

The Breaking Through Practice Guide

A Guide for Developing Local Interagency Linkage Teams

Donna Brian

5.  Career Pathways:  Statistics for Employment and Education Rates

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The  National Center for Education Statistics for U.S. Department of Education has just released The Condition of Education 2014This report summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 42 indicators on the status and condition of education. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available.  Chapter 1, "Trends in Employment Rates by Educational Attainment,"  will be especially useful to anyone needing up-to-date statistics and tables for public speaking, grant writing, reports, or personal information.

6.  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. 

7.  Career Pathways Webinar:  Informational Webinar Supporting CP Initiative

Taken from OCTAE Connection

Please join OCTAE’s new three-year Career Pathways project for the informational webinar, “Moving Pathways Forward: Supporting Career Pathways Integration,” about the project and OCTAE’s services for the field. The webinar will provide an overview of the Career Pathways initiative, describe the technical assistance available to enable states to build and advance their career pathways systems, and share more about the project’s virtual technical assistance benefits and offerings. State-level adult education staff and interested career pathways stakeholders are invited to join project staff at the webinar for a Q & A session and to participate in a follow-up discussion online to learn more about the project and its services.

Fourteen states have now been selected to participate in the initiative: Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. These states will receive customized, intensive technical assistance through direct coaching, as well as access to the resources, tools, and guidance that will help them identify and address their specific career pathways needs. 

According to Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education, “We are very excited about the launch of this new technical assistance initiative. It will be an integral part of the ongoing interagency effort to expand career pathways state systems development, and support efforts to better align education and workforce development services with job-driven demand principles.” 

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.  To register, please click on or copy and paste this link into your browser: If you are having trouble accessing the link, please try a different browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

8.  Correctional Education:  Tackling Mass Incarceration -- New York Times Editorial

Taken from LINCS Correctional Education

This is an interesting and compelling editorial from the New York Times.  Many articles like this have been appearing in the press recently.  While it doesn't touch explicitly on offering educational programming to the incarcerated, it does address issues directly relating to the population we teach.  I hope you find it interesting and have thoughts to share.

Heather Erwin

9.  ESL:  Webinar - Developing Rubrics and Checklists for Differentiated ESL Instruction

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners 

Register Now: Developing Rubrics and Checklists for Differentiated ESL Instruction created by LINCS_Communications

Dear community members,

On Monday, June 9, 2014 at 4 PM ET, the LINCS Community will host a new webinar, Developing Rubrics and Checklists for Differentiated ESL Instruction. Well-known author Jayme Adelson-Goldstein will demonstrate how practical, classroom-based assessments can support learning in an adult multi-level ESL class.

In multi-level ESL classes, the spectrum of learners' language proficiency creates an impetus for adult educators to seek out assessment strategies that take learners' differences into account and give them a clearer picture of their progress.  Enter the humble checklist and the somewhat-less-humble analytic and holistic rubrics! In addition to their role in differentiated and formative assessment, checklists and rubrics can also provide necessary support for small groups working on complex learning tasks in the multi-level class. During this webinar, we'll take a close look at these versatile tools and explore their role in supporting differentiated instruction. By the end of this event, participants will be able to:

·        Distinguish between a checklist and a rubric;

·        Distinguish between different types of rubrics (holistic and analytic); 

·        Develop a rubric or checklist, as appropriate, for a classroom task or project; and

·        Identify ways to use rubrics and checklists to differentiate instruction in the multi-level adult class

Hosted by subject matter experts Miriam Burt and Susan Finn-Miller of the Adult English Language Learners and Assessment groups, the follow-up discussion to this webinar will occur in their groups as well as Reading and Writing and Disabilities in Adult Education.

Register today!

10.  Math:  Challenge Problem

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy

Click here  for the solution to the last math problem and discussion.

New Problem

Add one number to each column of the table so that it shows a function.  Do not repeat an ordered pair that is in the table.  Here are the numbers you may choose from:  2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 18













Brooke Istas

11.  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

·    Video     

PIACC Education GPS 

Have you checked out the PIAAC Education GPS?  This tool can be found at:

Education GPS is the OECD source for internationally comparable data on education policies and practices, opportunities and outcomes. Accessible any time, in real time, the Education GPS provides you with the latest information on how countries are working to develop high-quality and equitable education systems.

You can draw from a wide variety of education indicators and data to construct your own, customized country reports, highlighting the facts, developments and outcomes of your choice.  You are also able to search for specific education indicators by country, theme or level of education and compare the results using interactive charts and tables.  With this site you are able to examine the OECD's extensive research and analysis of education policy around the world. Get a quick overview of key insights and policy options for a wide range of topics in education. Or delve deeper into the OECD knowledge base through quick and easy access to related websites and publications.  The OECD Education GPS is under constant development and the available information is continually growing.

Check out this site and let us know how you might use this in your work!

Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

12.  Teaching:  Engaging Learners

Taken from LINCS Career and College Standards 

Adult Educators are looking for more effective and creative ways to engage their learners in the classroom.  I have a suggestion for a resource that may help instructors to plan and initiate inquiry-based teaching and learning.  The resource consists of a book and DVD by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.  Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding is the book and the DVD is Essential Questions.

The book demonstrates how to use key questions to enhance the students’ understanding of concepts in all grades and subject areas.  It shows how students can be engaged in ways to promote deeper thinking and knowledge.  The video demonstrates putting the process into place and showcases actual classrooms using the essential question procedure.  If you are looking for some professional growth this summer, you might want to check it out.

Meryl Becker-Prezocki

13.  Technology:  Tech Tip –

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning 

This week’s tool is  I was looking for a way to make a virtual business card and I came across is not exactly a digital business card but it is a personal landing page, a one page website, that can be used like a business card or a very basic website.  This can be used by teacher or student as an online space to share information about classes, homework, or as a personal information page. has space for a background photo, a biography, links to various types of social media profiles (display as icons), and links to any other websites (display as URL's). You can edit the background color, font style, font size, and font color. You can choose an email address to be used as your contact email.  You can create "collections" of other people on based on their interests and you can compliment other peoples' pages.

The URL for your page will look something like, depending on the username you choose.  Your students can add this URL to their email signatures or include on it on their resumes. 

As a teacher you could share your URL with your students so they would only need to know that one link, but then you could change the content of the biography section to include that night's homework assignment. pages are mobile friendly and free.  If you have used, tell us about your experience--and share you URL!

Nell Eckersly 

14.  Technology:  Tweets

Taken from Twitter

·        Mobile Learning for Adult Education is out! Stories via @kuajas @komukai003

·        Here's the overview of Making Skills Everyone's Business that was shared at the #adulted state directors mtg: #PIAAC

·        Check out the latest in the Resource Collection: Handbook for Sustaining Standards-Based Education in Adult Education

·        Interested in #careerpathways system building? Follow OCTAE's new initiative on Twitter @Career_Pathways & Facebook!

·        World Ed - USA @WorldEdUS  ·  May 16 Adults without a high school diploma are > 3X more likely to be unemployed than adults with college degrees. via @usdol

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