Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.  Montana ABLE Fall Conference 2014 Notice and Survey




SEPTEMBER 22 – 23, 2014

Please mark your calendars for September 22-23 for our ABLE Fall Conference in Helena.  Details and lodging information will be forth coming.

Highlights will include:

       Working with our Career Pathway Coaches

       HiSET Information

        Reauthorization Updates and MUCH, MUCH MORE


Fall Conference is just around the corner, and I want every agenda topic to be relevant and energizing for all participants. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below. The survey will ensure that the 2014 ABLE Conference will be driven by participants’ needs and interests.

Please complete the survey by Friday, August 1st.  Thank you for your participation! 

Margaret Bowles, Montana ABLE Director

Click here for the survey:

2.     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


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


3.    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to Be Signed into Law

You can see below in the highlighted areas taken from the OCTAE Connection that Montana’s work with standards and PEP Talk/MCIS along with the new pathways technical assistance we will be receiving puts Montana ABE in a great position for transitioning to the new law!

Margaret Bowles, Montana ABLE Director

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a historic bipartisan, bicameral bill that amends and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) through fiscal year 2020, will be signed into law by President Obama.  H.R. 803, which passed in the Senate on June 25 and cleared the House on July 9, authorizes key improvements to the nation’s workforce development system. It will help workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st-century jobs and foster a modern workforce to help American companies be competitive.  The law emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, the integration and coordination of education and training services, and the development of sector-based strategies and streamlined service delivery to individuals—especially  those who are underprepared.

Key provisions, designed to better align employment and training services for youth and adults with adult education and vocational rehabilitation services include requiring states to develop unified plans and use common accountability measures.  The new law eliminates the “sequence of services” provisions of the WIA and provides the ability to fund training services through contractual arrangements, opening expanded opportunities for community colleges to participate in the federal workforce program. The provisions emphasize regional planning, and sector-based strategies.

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Title II of the WIA, remains a core program in WIOA. Key changes to that act are designed to increase the emphasis on the transition of adult education participants to postsecondary education and training.  The WIOA creates new adult education activities for workforce preparation and integrated education and training.   It requires states to align adult education content standards with their own rigorous k–12 standards under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The law also codifies the English Literacy and Civics Education program making it a part of authorizing legislation rather than requiring action each year in appropriations legislation. 

The law has implications for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). Under the new legislation, postsecondary CTE programs that receive Perkins funding would be required partners in the WIOA one-stop centers and delivery system. This includes these programs participating in state-coordinated, shared infrastructure costs as well as service delivery coordination. CTE centers or schools are designated, among other institutions, as eligible one-stop centers.  

The responsibility of further defining how the transition from WIA to WIOA is carried out, along with guidance on key aspects of the unified plan and single accountability system, will be determined by the secretaries of Labor and Education.  Watch OCTAE Connection and the OCTAE blog for up-to-date details as they emerge. 

National Information

4.  Change Agent:  New Website

New Website Launched!

Have you visited the brand new Change Agent website? Make sure to bookmark the new URL:

We encourage you to visit the new website soon, then check back often. You will find excellent resources for ESOL and ABE teaching, including:

        audio articles

        PDFs of all our back issues

        a sortable Table of Contents for the last ten issues showing article reading levels

        links to webinars about how to use various issues in the classroom

        a grid showing which articles in The Change Agent help you teach specific College and Career Readiness skills

        many issue “extras,” as well as classroom teaching tips

Explore these and other site features in the new site tour video available on our homepage.

As always, The Change Agent aims to provide an affordable and empowering resource that uses high-interest pieces to teach basic skills to adult learners. We appreciate your support of the magazine, and we look forward to any feedback you might have about the new web site.

5.  Corrections:  Webinar - Opportunities for Implementing New Technology Solutions within Secure Classrooms

Taken from LINCS Notice

From July 28 – August 8, guest speakers from the U.S. Department of Education, RTI International, and Peninsula College will share strategies and best practices for effectively using technology in correctional classrooms.  Information and resources to help you support the education and career advancement of under-skilled individuals in corrections with new technology will also be highlighted.

Some of the subtopics to be discussed will include:

        Current tablet technology available,

        Offline technology options to deliver web content, and

        Security concerns within a secure system

With the goal of exploring new and expanding opportunities for technology use in secure classrooms, this event will be particularly relevant to correctional educators, their administrators, State Department of Corrections decision makers, and literacy providers in the Technology and Learning and Diversity discussion groups.

Please join us in the Correctional Education group to participate in this special discussion.  Your participation will provide valuable input for an issue brief on using web based services in correctional classrooms. We look forward to talking to you! 

The LINCS Community Team

6.  Literacy for Low-Literate Elders

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Click here to access the Elder Literacy Initiative.

Hello everyone! I have just completed a curriculum development project for low-literate elders, and I'm very interested in sharing this resource with as many organizations and educators as possible.

I coordinate Adult ELL Programs for CommonBond Communities, an affordable housing nonprofit in St Paul, Minnesota. When I began my position, I found that although we were not a traditional location for a school, we were reaching an underserved population of learners: elder refugees. Oftentimes, elders face the greatest challenges in attending schools off-site due to limited mobility, lack of transportation, or health issues. As a housing organization, we were in an ideal position to serve elders as our programs operate in the buildings where students live, but we simply did not have the right resources to deliver quality literacy instruction to elders who are pre-literate.

I collaborated with the Minnesota Literacy Council to develop curriculum guidelines for volunteers working 1:1 with low-literate elders. We went on to develop activities which practice the skills outlined in these guidelines-- activities which first focus on building students' vocabulary orally, then teach students to read those words they already know how to say.

This curriculum includes:

        13 instructional themes that are relevant and authentic to adults of any age, with a special focus on learners who are 65+

        Guidelines informed by Massachusetts ABE Basic Literacy Standards, training materials from the Minnesota Literacy Council, and Transitions Integration Framework

        Materials that are easy to use with pre-literate learners 1:1, in small groups, or classroom settings

        Leveled activities with detailed instructions that are easy to follow

To request a free digital copy of the curriculum, please visit You can also preview curriculum materials on the 'Resources' page: 

~Lisa Vogl

7.  Math:  LINCS Math & Numeracy Group Webinar on Statistics for Action - July 29th

Taken from LINCS Notice

The presence of contaminants from polluting industries is all too common in low-income areas today, and getting a handle on the situation can be quite challenging. We want to protect the health and welfare of our families, but understanding the complexities of risk, the technical terms and the math involved in environmental data reports is not always easy. Join us as we take a deep dive into the tools, lessons plans, and resources available to empower your adult learners with environmental literacy.

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. EDT, LINCS will host Statistics for Action: Using Environmental Data for Meaningful Mathematics in Your Classroom. Join the LINCS Community team, Math and Numeracy group moderator Brooke Istas, and special guests Selene Gonzalez-Carrillo and Martha Merson as we discuss ways to use readily available environmental data in math and science lessons for adults at the pre-ASE and ASE levels.

Presenters will demonstrate how to give your students hands-on experience in interpreting graphs, comparing amounts, using ratios, and finding percent increases. Whether you’re a mathematics teacher, a science teacher, a proponent of data use, or are just interested in health literacy, this is sure to be an event you will not want to miss!

Make sure you register today!

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 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:  Vocabulary

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learner

… On a broader scope of available research, the authors of the 2008 IES (Institute of Education Sciences) practice guide on improving adolescent literacy (NCEE 2008-4027), identified 16 studies that provide support for direct instruction in vocabulary. This research covered students across upper elementary, middle and high schools from diverse geographic regions and socioeconomic backgrounds. One of the findings of interest was that the probability of learning new vocabulary while reading was relatively low -- about 15%. 

Wouldn't you expect that for learners who have difficulty with decoding, fluency, and comprehension would have even more difficulty? That is, I expect that for most of our adult education and literacy program participants, the probability would even be lower. Explicit instruction is critically important to improved reading and certainly a very difficult component to address …

Daryl Mellard

10.  Reading:  Vocabulary – Math Instruction and Peer Feedback Strategy

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learner

Language across the Curriculum:  The folks at Stanford University have been focused on this issue for K12 teachers for some time, and I have found the resources at their Understanding Language website to be really wonderful. You can find research-oriented papers and videos as well as amazing lesson plans for different subject areas and grade levels at this site.

Stanford senior researcher, Jeff Zwiers (2014), argues that it's important for teachers to pay attention to the specific language that is used in science, math, and social studies. Math can be especially challenging since there are common words that have very different meanings in a math context. For example, think about the common meaning of the following words, and then consider how these words are used in mathematics: balance, interest, power, radical, improper, field, proof, scale, slope, positive, coordinate, plane, similar, odd, real, terms, expression, etc. …

… In one math lesson I came across on the Stanford site recently, the students worked in teams to plan how to solve a real-world problem. One component of the lesson involved preparing students to make a presentation to the class on how they solved the math problem. Students were given a list of target words they needed to use during their presentations. The students in the audience were responsible to listen for the words to ensure each word was used and that it was used correctly.

~Susan Finnmiller, SME

11.  Reading:  Vocabulary – Teaching Academic Language and Critical Thinking

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learner

A new article has appeared in the MinneTESOL Journal that focuses on understanding adult learners and scaffolding instruction to help students acquire the skills needed to succeed in reading and writing and to help students develop the complex thinking skills required to attain post-secondary goals.  Click here to access the article.

12.  Technology:  Using Texting to Assess Student Learning

Taken from LINCS Assessment

Click here to watch a two-minute video that shows a quick way that you can use technology to assess student learning and give the instructor instant feedback.

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