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

HiSET® eUpdate | June 2014

State-authorized Examination Letter Issued by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education

Acting Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education Brenda Dann-Messier recently issued guidance to higher education institutions on the acceptance of the HiSET® exam for Federal student financial aid purposes. The letter (see link below) explains that the HiSET exam is a new high school equivalency assessment launched in 2014, and outlines how an applicant should respond to the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they have a HiSET credential.

HiSET Test Preparation — Official Computer-Based Test Preparation Curriculum from Aztec Software

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. In conjunction with their release of the computer-based official HiSET Practice Tests, Aztec is now recognized by the ETS HiSET program as an official provider of HiSET test preparation, with lessons targeted to meet individual student needs.

Test Center Reminders

Please make sure you choose the appropriate status (Checked In/Could Not Test/No Show) for test takers by 11:59 p.m. each day.

A few helpful examples on appropriate status:

·        If a test taker shows up with invalid ID and is turned away from testing, they should be considered a "No Show" in the system, as they did not show up prepared.

·        If a test taker is unable to test due to a facilities issue, their status should be "Could Not Test," as the situation was out of the test taker's control and would not impact their eligibility to schedule a new appointment.

Test Administration Services

For CBT Centers:

·        Please double check to make sure you are launching a live exam to a candidate's workstation and not a demo exam.

·        Demo exams cannot be scored, and will result in a test taker needing to reschedule and come back to test again.

For PBT Centers:

·        Remember to return answer sheets promptly, and ensure their completeness prior to sending to ETS. Improperly completed or delayed answer sheets will result in a delay to scoring.

·        Also remember that answer sheets should be completed in pencil.

Save the Date — 2014 HiSET Conference

The first HiSET conference will include valuable information and resources for state administrators, educators, test center staff and corrections staff.



December 1–4, 2014


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

More information will be available soon.

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:

General Information



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.

2.  Montana Career Pathways:  Moving Pathways Forward

Career Pathways was a hot topic at the National LINCS meeting.  More information will be coming regarding Montana’s role as one of the 14 states selected to receive a Moving Pathways Forward “grant”.                           

State Benefits and Outcomes from Participation in Intensive Technical Assistance for Moving Pathways Forward

State teams that participate will receive:

§  Customized technical assistance to enhance and/or expand existing career pathways system activities;

§  Subject matter expertise to assist in addressing state-specific challenges;  

§  Access to resources, tools, and guidance based on their state’s individual needs;

§  Opportunities to share with and learn from other states in similar or more advanced stages of career pathways systems development; and

§  Heightened public awareness of their state’s efforts from participating in a national career pathways initiative.

By the end of the project, states that participate in intensive technical assistance can expect to:

§  Have all essential components of a state career pathways system in place;

§  Align adult education career pathways with at least one other state agency’s career pathways activities,

§  Increase the number of local programs providing career pathways services; and

§  Strengthen the breadth and depth of career pathways services available to students.

3.  Montana PEP Talk:  Skills Cards – The Best Method for Identifying Transferable Skills

Use the Skills Worksheet and Cards in the classroom!

The SKILLS assessment is one of the most used assessments in MCIS, however, many career practitioners put their students or customers in front of the computer to do the online portion of SKILLS and then wonder why the scores are low and the occupational matches are all over the board. To provide the best results, it is important to use two other tools that are included with the assessment, the SKILLS worksheet and cards.  The worksheet asks users to carefully consider multiple activities and accomplishments that use transferable skills. Using the worksheet to identify between 3 to 7 accomplishments, which helps the individual see patterns in skills that are used over and over again. These patterns cannot be discerned by just doing the online portion of the assessment.

The SKILLS cards take the results from the worksheet and make it easier to prioritize the skills that are the most satisfying. It is after using the cards that one should go to the online assessment to finish the process.
We recommend that you test this out yourself. Take the online SKILLS assessment without using the worksheet and cards and save your results to your portfolio. Then, go through the process again, this time using the worksheet and cards. Take the results and go back online and enter your skills into the assessment. Save the results to your portfolio. Compare your two lists. Which one has the highest scores?  Which one has occupations listed that make the most sense? If the results are better with using the worksheet and cards, consider changing the way you use SKILLS in the classroom or with your customers.
The PEP Talk workbook contains the worksheet and cards along with instructions, and makes it very easy to assign homework to be done outside of the classroom or office. By using the SKILLS assessment in this way, your students and customers will get the best results possible and will find it easier to determine which occupations to pursue.

Taken from June 2014 Career Newsletter

4.  Montana Economy at a Glance

"Predicting Future Employment:  Montana Job Projections and the Science of Better Planning"
by Barb Wagner, Chief Economist

Every year, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry produces employment forecasts for job growth in upcoming years. These employment forecasts are used by educational and workforce training institutions to guide decisions on programs and curricula, and to ensure that Montana's workforce can meet the demands of tomorrow's jobs. These forecasts are also used by workers, parents, and students who are making career decisions.
Click here to view full EAG.

Taken from June 2014 Career Newsletter

5.  National News Impacting Montana:  WIOA (formerly WIA)

Information from Art Ellison

June 25, 2014

Senate Passes WIOA

With a vote of 95 Yea to 3 Nay, the US Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act this afternoon.

The bill now moves to the House. 

6.  Montana on the National Scene Again:  Standards

Check out Posting #15 below to see once again Montana’s Standards work mentioned.

National Information

7.  Career Pathways for Public Housing Residents Webinar

Taken from Career Pathways

The webinar is now available on the LINCS YouTube channel at  I've watched it a couple of times now, and my understanding of the ROSS and FSS programs deepens and I keep getting new information every time I see it.  When we have talked about partnering on the Career Pathways CoP in the past, we have talked about partnering with the same groups that the HUD grantees are reaching out to, so it sure seems like we ought to be partners at least in serving public housing residents …

Donna Brian, SME Career Pathways

8.  Career Pathways Resource - Connection People to Work:  Workforce Intermediaries and Sector Strategies

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

As many of you may know, Bob Giloth with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Maureen Conway with Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative recently published a book on the history of sector strategies over the last 10 years called Connecting People to Work: Workforce Intermediaries and Sector Strategies. The book includes some discussion of potential new directions for the field moving forward and Casey will be using it as a jumping off point for engaging a range of partners and stakeholders in a conversation about the future of workforce development. It feels like a much more timely topic that we knew it might be, given the passage of WIOA in the Senate earlier this week!

In case you are interested, I have pasted a longer description of the book below. You can access the Introductory chapter of Connecting People to Work, as well as a number of short video clips on the content by select authors at:


With many Americans striving to build their skills to get jobs in a rapidly changing economy, the workforce development field has seen a significant increase in sector strategies, which focus on the specific skills that employers need and addressing the real-world challenges facing low-income workers. Maureen Conway and Robert P. Giloth deliver a robust volume featuring perspectives from prominent nonprofit and philanthropy leaders, academics and researchers to capture how sector-based workforce development, in industries ranging from health to construction, has evolved over 30 years — and how it can continue to grow and inform future investments and policy decisions. The book offers lessons for policymakers, philanthropic investors, researchers and local leaders interested in policies and practices that support strong businesses while helping struggling Americans connect to good jobs.

Connecting People to Work features case studies of organizations implementing sector-based workforce development strategies in the health care, construction, manufacturing and restaurant industries, and highlights how policy and economic changes and new practices among education and training institutions are affecting workforce development efforts. It also includes evaluation results and a review of major sector-financing strategies.

The book discusses the need for these workforce strategies at a time when many people are out of work or underemployed and face a labor market that is difficult to navigate. Too many workers today earn too little to make ends meet, and they often lack the time or resources to participate in local education programs that may or may not help them find work. Many low-wage workers often need additional support as they go through training, an approach generally adopted by sector strategies.

The results chronicled in the book make clear that such strategies can help create viable opportunities for more Americans to gain the skills they need to achieve greater financial stability.

9.  Career Pathways Resource:  STEM and students with disabilities

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

From College to Careers: Fostering Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in STEM is the product of a collaborative project initiated to examine current issues and explore future directions for improving the academic success and career entry rate of postsecondary students with disabilities (SWDs) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This publication contains chapters prepared by four groups of invited authors who shared their pertinent research findings, expert knowledge and views on key topics pertinent to this topic.

Click here to access the From College to Careers:  Fostering Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in STEM.

 10.  CSAL Reading Resources

Taken from CSAL

Last week MTLINCS shared information from CSAL about web-based texts for adult learners.  More information has been given about the readability of those texts:

Our Center focuses on adults who read between the 3rd and 8th grade levels. Based on the texts we could find, and our Coh-Metrix analyses, the texts were placed into the categories, keeping in mind the grade levels we are focusing on. In terms of your second question, Coh-Metrix is the most complete readability tool that is currently out there. As you mention, it takes into consideration many factors-something that other readability measures do not do. However, readability measures still have a VERY long way to go, especially for our adult learners and therefore should be taken as ONLY one source of information when trying to figure out suitability for a specific adult. Adults come with all kinds of background knowledge, disabilities, and strengths. Therefore, an adult may read at a certain level on a standardized test, but find a text easier or harder to read than would be expected based on their background knowledge about the topic, their motivation/persistence to tackle different types of materials, etc.

Daphne Greenberg

Have you used Coh-Metrix to assess readability on the texts you are using with your students?  Click here to access the tool.

Click here and then click on Adult Learners to check out the web-based reading resources for your students.

11.  ESL:  Adult Citizenship Education Discussion

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Dear LINCS Community members,

We hope you will join us in two weeks, starting July 7, 2014, for a conversation on adult citizenship education with the Office of Citizenship within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. The agency’s Office of Citizenship is mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to promote instruction and training on citizenship rights and responsibilities, including the development of educational materials.

During this week-long event, the Office of Citizenship will share information and resources designed to help adult learners prepare for the naturalization interview and test. Promising practices from the field will also be highlighted.

This conversation will take place in the Adult English Language Learners group, but is open to members of all community groups.

The LINCS Community Team

12.  Health Literacy:  PIACC Health Data Webinar on July 16 from 12 to 1 (EST)

Taken from LINCS Health Literacy

As you may know, there were a series of health background questions in the PIAAC survey. The data from these may be able to give us some insight into health behaviors as they relate to adult competencies in literacy, numeracy or problem solving in technology-rich environments.

Click here for Exploring the importance of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in health-related issues

July 16th from 12:00-1:00 PM (EST)

13.  LINCS User Training:  July 10 at 5 p.m. EDT

Taken from LINCS Notice

Back by popular demand, the LINCS Community team and Diversity and Literacy group moderator, Ryan Hall, will co-present A Roadmap to LINCS: Plotting Your Route to Optimal Professional Development on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 5 p.m. EDT. After rave reviews of the April 3rd presentation we’re running this informative webinar again! The evening timing of this event is a direct result of the recent community poll we conducted to learn the times that work best for you, our members. We hope those of you who can’t attend daytime professional development webinars will take advantage of this evening PD opportunity!

You may have heard the LINCS Community has several new features, but did you know the Community was only one facet of all things LINCS? Join us to learn how you can plot your customized route to optimal professional development through all the various resources and opportunities LINCS has to offer. We take you through the new community features, and show you how you can elevate your professional development by aligning your participation in the Community with other aspects of LINCS including the Resource Collection, Learning Portal, LINCS social media, and trainings offered by the Regional Professional Development Centers.

The event will be streamed via live webcast; if you cannot attend we encourage you to view the archived video of the original webinar on the LINCS YouTube channel.

Make sure you register today!

Space is limited. RSVP is required.

14.  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     

Video Review: 

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

15.  Standards - Sustaining an Initiative:  Standards-Based Education

Taken from LINCS Assessment

A few months ago RTI International released the Handbook for Sustaining Standards-Based Education in Adult Education.  It was part of the Promoting College and Career Readiness Standards in Adult Education project under contract to OCTAE.  On page 2, of the handbook the purpose of the book is described.  The handbook was written to help state leaders with the development of reforms that are spread on a large scale and sustained over time.

Susan Pimentel authors the handbook.  She is the Co-Founder of StandardsWork.  Susan has been a lead consultant, content developer, coach, and trainer for the Office of Career and Technical Education initiatives that include Standards-in-Action and Promoting College and Career-Ready Standards in Adult Basic Education.  Ms. Pimentel served as lead writer of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy.

The manual is divided into four sections.  Those sections include:

1.     Preparing for a new initiative and focusing on the climate necessary for success

2.     Developing a clear vision for gathering the necessary support for those that will advocate for the initiative

3.     Determining how the new initiative fits into and connects with the other major policies, programs or professional development

4.     Focusing on replication of the initiative and maintaining that it survives over the long term

Each section of the handbook is organized, in the same way, providing guidance in setting the purpose, timeframe, directions and questions to help assist you in the process. Resource materials are also included which consist of blank templates and the completed models from Kentucky and Montana.

As states continue to move forward in their work with standards the Handbook for Sustaining Standards-Based Education in Adult Education will be an extremely valuable guide and support.  You will be wise to check it out at

Meryl Becker-Prezocki

16.  Teaching Reading:  Strategies for Reading Comprehension for Students with LD

Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education

I am including information from Robert Head and Raymond Leblanc on reading comprehension that might give you some additional techniques to try.  For more ideas, go to

Vocabulary is one of the five core components of reading instruction, along with phonemic awareness, phonics and word study, fluency, and comprehension.  Vocabulary holds communication and comprehension together.  For many LD students, vocabulary acquisition and instruction are most challenging.  Educational research suggests that vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly, using multiple strategies simultaneously and/or consecutively.  Unfortunately, one teacher can't teach students all the words they need to learn.  Teachers can expose students to new words by requiring a lot of reading, and including new vocabulary into instruction and everyday usage.

The following best practices have been reported to improve vocabulary acquisition for those learners with LD that have reading comprehension deficits:

1.     explicit instruction

2.     increasing practices

3.     engaging in intervention frameworks such as the Tiered Approach

4.     utilizing multi-modal processes

5.     conducting semantic mapping and summarization

6.     adopting cooperative learning strategies

7.     answering questions and question generation

8.     learner self-questioning

9.     teacher (non-assessment) feedback

10.  repeated exposure to new vocabulary

By using visual organizational strategies, asking questions, elaborating on meanings, and engaging in cooperative dialogues, student outcomes will improve.      

For vocabulary acquisition, research has shown that multiple strategies including those below will be successful:

1.     explicit instruction

2.     increasing the practice

3.     engaging in intervention frameworks

4.     utilizing multi-modal processes

5.     conducting semantic mapping and summarization

6.     adopting cooperative learning strategies

7.     answering questions and question generation

8.     learner self-questioning

9.     teacher (non-assessment) feedback

10.  repeated exposure to new vocabulary

11.  computer-assisted instruction

12.  fluency-building vocabulary activities

13.  mnemonic instructional strategies

14.  concept enhancement instruction

15.  reading aloud

16.  including figurative information such as definitions and context information about word meaning

17.  involving children actively in word learning

18.  promoting reading widely

19.  providing multiple exposures to meaningful information about words

20.  exposing students to high quality targeted oral language

21.  encouraging word consciousness

22.  directly teaching word meaning

23.  teaching word-learning strategies, and more.

Research-based components for effective vocabulary instruction include:

1.     reading widely (a variety of types and genres of reading selections)

2.     teacher-modeled high quality targeted oral language (set the bar ever-higher)

3.     being word conscious (speak well)

4.     teaching word meaning (stop and explain)

5.     teaching word-learning strategies (suggest strategies as they may be applied)

Keeping word diaries or to keep charts check-listing new words is a technique that can be especially useful in adult education.

For teachers using direct vocabulary, the following steps are suggested:

1.     Preview the text, even when using text that has pre-selected vocabulary words.

2.     Read the passage and identify vocabulary words students may find unfamiliar.

3.     Select words that are key/important to understanding the text.

4.     List words that may be challenging for students. Do not worry about teaching all of them – a few before reading are sufficient.

5.     Determine which words are defined in the text by direct definition or through context, and expand on these post-reading.

6.     Identify words students may know based on their prefixes, suffixes and base or root words.

7.     Consider students’ prior knowledge.

8.     Determine the importance of the word. Will word knowledge be helpful in other content areas?”

9.     Teach words before students read that may include words that will be encountered in other texts and content areas; words important to understanding main ideas; words that are not a part of student’ prior knowledge; words unlikely to be learned independently.

Rochelle Kenyon

17.  Teaching Technology:  How Do Teachers Problem Solve in their Technology-rich Learning Environments

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

I hope you have heard of the international assessment of adult basic skills, known as PIAAC, that along with literacy and numeracy assesses something called "Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments (PST-RE)." You may wonder, as I did, what that means, and how it differs from computer literacy or digital literacy skills that adult education teachers and librarians have been teaching for some time. It's a little more complicated, but basically PST-RE skills means problem-solving that happens to be situated in an environment where digital technology is available and where one is expected to use digital tools in solving work, family and/or community problems.

Today I read one of my favorite tech bloggers, Jacqui Murray, and thought about a new context for PST-RE skills, the problem of how teachers can efficiently learn how to use new software applications, the "yet another new tool to learn, but no time to learn it" problem teachers know so well.  Jacquie Murray offers her own solutions to this problem in the blog article, "How do I teach a program I don't know how to use?" at

David Rosen

18.  WIOA:  Unpacking WIOA

Taken from LINCS Program Management

The recording and PowerPoint for the Unpacking WIOA webinar are now available via the following links:

To learn more, click here to view the PowerPoint presentation and click here to check out NSC's analysis of WIOA.

Unpacking WIOA

On this webinar, national experts from four leading organizations recently came together to unpack the recently introduced Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and what it means for the nation. Panelists included:

·        Rachel Gragg, Federal Policy Director, National Skills Coalition 

·        Neil Ridley, Senior Policy Analyst and Interim Workforce Development Co-Director, Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

·        James Huettig, Policy Analyst, National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC)

·        Jennifer Wang, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Young Invincibles 

·        Rachel Zinn, Director, Workforce Data Quality Campaign

Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

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