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

Most Current Information from ETS about Raw Score Change:  7/10/14

Conversion Charts for Practice Tests: 

The conversion charts for the HiSET practice tests are in the process of being adjusted.  Stay tuned!

1.   Effective date on the score conversion is July 14th, for all tests scheduled to take place on or after July 14th.  If PBT answer sheets are received on or after July 14th, they would be held to the original score tables.

2.   Test Centers cannot complete the process outlined in the TCA Notification prior to Monday, July 14th. It would be a futile effort, as the upload will be finalized late Sunday night.  Essentially, a test center would end up running the original package, and not the update, causing disruption.

3.   Customer Service is conducting outbound outreach calls to ensure CEs received the notification, read the notification and understand the process as outlined in the notification.  Their first priority are test centers scheduled to test on July 14th.  This effort will continue until they’ve connected with all of our test centers.

4.   Unofficial scores will not be reported at the end of the testing until after Wednesday, July 16th.  This IS temporary.  Unofficial score reporting will resume after the upload is complete and verified.


ETS statement on HiSET Standards Setting Governing Board  

Educational Testing Service is committed to the provision of a high quality, effective High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). To achieve this goal, we have partnered with the adult-education administration in states that use HiSET. ETS has appointed a HiSET Governing Board to help us set overall direction for the program, including the setting of standards for performance through a systematic and established standards review process.  The Governing Board has a senior-level representative from each state administering HiSET.

ETS conducted a HiSET standard setting in April 2014 which included educators from classrooms in 11th and 12th grade, adult education, and correctional facilities across the country.  The standard setting panel provided a performance standard recommendation for each of the subject areas.  In June 2014, the Governing Board met and reviewed these recommendations along with information about the current standards and test-taker performance to date.  As a result of this review, the Governing Board recommended to ETS an adjusted passing score, which ETS accepted and will implement by August 2014. While the passing scaled score will remain the same, the raw score on each test that maps to that scaled score will change.  

The adoption of a revised passing score is consistent with HiSET’s commitment to a phased approach to increased rigor over time.  The ETS HiSET program is a partnership with our states and continues to meet changing expectations for high school graduates and what is needed to enter the workforce or college.

Montana Note: 

Above is a an official statement from ETS regarding the scale score change scheduled for HiSET. I was honored to be part of the Governing Board meeting, and I can assure you this decision was made with careful consideration of the standards setting panel recommendations and state policies. All HiSET states had representation at the Board meeting. It was inspiring to see the ETS and state commitment to adult students.

Please call me (Margaret Bowles) if you have any questions.

Margaret Bowles, State HiSET Administrator



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.  WIOA (formerly WIA) Passes Both the Senate and the House

Information from U.S. Department of Education

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act  

Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Has Been Passed

Bill Goes to President for Signature

An historic bipartisan, bicameral bill that amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), through fiscal year 2020, has been passed by both the Senate and House and is headed to President Obama for signature.  H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which first passed in the Senate on June 25, cleared the House on July 9. The final stop is the President’s desk where, when signed, it will become law.  The new law contains significant changes to the way the workforce system, including adult education, will operate.

WIOA goes into effect the first full program year after enactment, which translates to July 1, 2015.  The Secretary of Education is given authority to provide for the orderly transition from the WIA to WIOA.  Within 180 days of enactment, the Secretaries of Education and Labor must publish proposed regulations related to the transition to and implementation of the Act.

Here in OCTAE, we have begun planning for transition and implementation.  One critical aspect is an effective strategy for continuing communication with the State Directors of Adult Education.  The first phase of that communication will be a series of information sharing sessions designed to assist State Directors in their knowledge of the requirements in the new law.  We have begun conversations with the Executive Committee of the NAEPDC on the best ways to roll out a communication strategy and will soon be announcing those sessions.

In the meantime, I urge you to read WIOA, which can be found at  

Stay tuned and stay informed.

3.  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.

National Information

4.  Common Core:  Complex Texts

Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

I want to share a Teaching Channel video that I watched over the weekend that illustrates specific ways to expand student’s thinking.  The video shows the highlights of a unit on Revolution, Reaction and Reform and covers several classes.   The objectives of the unit include learning about and understanding terminology, historical concepts, abstract concepts and personal connections.  While the class in the video is 4th grade classroom, the framework of the lesson would be applicable for any grade level.  I believe that the lesson could be a definite success for adults and certainly for English Language Learners.  Watching this video was inspirational for me. 

You can see it at:

~Meryl Becker-Prezocki, SME

5.  Common Core and Formative Assessment

Taken from LINCS Assessement

Combining the Common Core Readiness Standards for Adult Education along with formative assessment provides the instructor and learners with feedback on the lesson.  It allows the teacher to determine where the students are in their learning and make the appropriate adjustments in order to meet the learning targets of the day.

I want to share with the Community an excellent way to get your students involved in the formative assessment process.  You can watch a class in action demonstrating this practice.  It will only take less than 2 minutes of your time.  In this video, you will see how technology is used to assess student learning and give the instructor instant feedback.

~Meryl Becker-Prezocki, SME

6.  ESL:  Adult Citizenship Education Discussion

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Much discussion has taken place at .  Check it out!

Snippet #1

The Naturalization Process

For an adult immigrant to become a U.S. citizen, he or she must go through the process of naturalization. General requirements for naturalization call for the immigrant to:

·        Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400)

·        Be a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States

·        At the time of filing, have been a permanent residents in the United States for at least 5 years

·        Have demonstrated continuous permanent residence

·        Have demonstrated physical presence

·        Have lived within the State or USCIS District for at least 3 months prior to filing

·        Have demonstrated good moral character

·        Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideas of the U.S. Constitution

·        Demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak, and understand basic English

·        Demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civic principles

·        Take an oath of allegiance to the United States

·        Receive a Certificate of Naturalization

What is Adult Citizenship Education?

US Citizenship and Immigration Services defines adult citizenship education as follows: Adult citizenship education provides the content knowledge and English language skills needed to prepare for naturalization.

The Naturalization Test

During the naturalization interview, a USCIS Officer will ask questions about an applicant’s Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and background. An applicant will also take an English and civics test unless he or she qualifies for an exemption or waiver. The English test has three components: reading, writing, and speaking. The civics test covers important U.S. history, U.S. government and integrated civics topics. A USCIS Officer conducts the naturalization interview and test.

Speaking Test

A USCIS Officer will determine an applicant’s ability to speak English during the eligibility interview on the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. An applicant must sufficiently demonstrate his or her ability to respond meaningfully to questions normally asked from this form.

Reading Test

An applicant must read aloud one out of three sentences correctly to demonstrate an ability to read in English. The Reading Test Vocabulary List will help your students study for the English reading portion of the naturalization test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.

Writing Test

An applicant must write one out of three sentences to correctly demonstrate an ability to write in English. The Writing Test Vocabulary List will help your students study for the English writing portion of the naturalization test. The content focuses on civics and history topics.

Civics Test

There are 100 possible civics questions on the naturalization test. During an applicant’s interview, he or she will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. An applicant must answer correctly six of the 10 questions.

An applicant will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics test and answer all questions relating to his or her naturalization application in English. If the applicant fails any of the tests at the initial interview, he or she will be retested on the portion the applicant failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of the initial interview.

You can learn more about the naturalization test, and other naturalization information here.

Snippet #2

USCIS has a tip sheet for teaching some types of vocabulary words or phrases that may be challenging, along with some examples from Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This tip sheet presents also provides strategies for teaching vocabulary.


7.  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)

8.  PIACC Resources

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development

New Information about Filter

** Announcing... the NEW PIAAC Results Portal

** The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently launched a new interactive online web portal ( that will make it easy for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to build customizable data tables using the PIAAC data. This new tool supplements the information available in NCES’s First Look report—Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments Among U.S. Adults: Results From the Program for the Assessment of Adult Competencies 2012 ( —and is designed to enable users to create their own data tables.

Like NCES’s First Look report, the PIAAC Results Portal reports average scores and proficiency levels in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. It can be used to compare U.S. performance to the international average and to the average in any or all participating countries.

You can also dig a little deeper by examining the data by a variety of characteristics. For example, if you are interested in how U.S. adults with different levels of educational attainment performed in literacy, you can create a table based on educational attainment variables. Likewise, if you are interested in what skills adults use at home and at work and how the use of these skills relates to performance in numeracy, you can look at that as well. There are many other variables to explore.

To make your searches easier, NCES has created profiles for key subgroups. For example, the characteristics included in the “unemployed” subgroup profile include age, gender, race/ethnicity, U.S. born, and educational attainment. In addition to these characteristics, the “employed” subgroup profile includes occupation, industry of employment, and level of gross pay.
After you have created your customized table, you have the option to export your data table to Excel.

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

9.  Reading Resource:  NEWSELA

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learner

Another interesting free online resource that some of you may already be familiar with is NEWSELA which offers online news articles rewritten to several lexical levels. It has the advantage of offering extremely current articles (which I noticed was not true of the one piece I read from this CSAL site). Some articles include "quizzes," but not all.

~Wendy Hoben


Click here to access NEWSELA.

Newsela is free for students to explore a world of nonfiction and test their comprehension. Updated daily with real-world news from major publications, students can participate in conversation about the most urgent topics of our time, all while becoming stronger readers.

The same story is presented at five different lexile levels.

 Example at maximum reading level:

For hungry Iraqi refugees, a rush for food to break Ramadan fast

KALAK, Iraq — Waving pots and pans, police pushed back dozens of hungry Iraqi refugees as they rushed to seize free food, ending their first daylong fast of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in an encampment for the displaced.

Shouting men scrambled Sunday to reach pots of rice, meat and chicken stew in this dusty, hot encampment some 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the northern city of Irbil, the capital of Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region. The chaotic scene underscored the fearful insecurity of displaced Iraqis as they begin Ramadan in a nation gripped by unrest and bitterly divided along sectarian lines.

Example at minimum reading level:

For hungry Iraqi refugees, a rush for food to break Ramadan fast

KALAK, Iraq — The month of Ramadan is holy to Muslims. From sunrise to sunset they fast. They can't eat or drink the whole time. At the end of the day, they break the fast. Families get together for a huge dinner.

But an outbreak of violence in Iraq has made this year's Ramadan a difficult time.

10.  Technology:  New Tool for Students with Disabilities

 Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education

Although it may not be available yet, and the price has not been set, this assistive technology device for the blind that attaches to a finger and reads hard copy text in real time may also be useful to adults who have severe specific reading disabilities.

~David J. Rosen

11.  Technology:  Tweets

Taken from Twitter

·        New LINCS resource: Nat'l Snapshot of Adults w/ Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force #adulted #disabilities

·        Mobile Learning for Adult Education is out! Stories via @Mark_Quinn @isholpan77

·        New Tech Tips for Teachers blog post: Using Texting to Assess Student Learning #adulted #edtech

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