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Montana Information

1.   HiSET Blast



HiSET® Program eUpdate | December 2014


Social Studies and Writing Webinars

ETS HiSET Social Studies-20141212 1906-1




ETS HiSET Writing-20141215 1436-1

Please note:  Passing score for HiSET essay continues to be 2 for 2015.


Writing Samples

Click here to peruse scored sample essays.

Portal Enhancements

HiSET Host wants to share this WebEx recording with you.

Message from host: Please share this webinar with your test centers. The webinar includes information on portal enhancements taking effect on December 29th, 2014, all of which was shared at the conference.

ETS HiSET Portal Enhancements 2014-20141215 1612-1
Monday, December 15, 2014
11:28 am | Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)


The HiSET® program would like to extend warm holiday wishes to everyone during this special time of year. This has been our first full year of testing and we are excited about all we were able to accomplish — in providing a more affordable and accessible option to states. We owe our success to all of the states, territories and tribal nations that have chosen to adopt the HiSET exam. We definitely couldn't have done it without your feedback and support. We are eager to build upon the success of 2014, as we move into 2015. We look forward to working with our existing clients and with new states seeking alternatives to high school equivalency. Happy holidays and a prosperous new year!

Test Center Reminders

Holiday Hours:

It's the holiday season and many of us are taking vacations after a busy year! If you are unable to reach your normal Test Administrative Services representative, please remember to email so that another representative can assist you. ETS has coverage in place for anyone out on vacation and we will be able to serve you quickly in the event your representative is taking some time off for the holidays. You can also call Test Administrative Services (TAS) at 1-800-257-5123 and you will be directed to an available representative. ETS will be closed on December 24–26, 2014, for the holidays, as well as January 1–2, 2015, for the New Year's holiday.

System Maintenance:

ETS will be undergoing system maintenance on Sunday, January 4, 2015. Registration, scheduling and testing will be unavailable on this day. Centers will receive a separate communication regarding opening up on Monday, January 5, 2015, as some action will be required when you reboot your machines.

For PBT Centers:

If you have any questions about your 2015 materials orders, please feel free to reach out to TAS at 1-800-257-5123. If you find that you have received more materials than you expected, please return those materials using the 2014 materials return instructions. A quick reminder — any used and unused materials from 2014 should be returned at the end of your testing year.

HiSET® Practice Test Options:

There are three HiSET Practice Test options available for order and download. The 2014 Paid Practice Tests (PPT) and the 2014 Free Online Practice Tests (FPT) can still be used for preparation throughout 2015. We have added the Official Practice Test for state directors, educators and administrators to use as pretests.

Answer sheets for the PPTs and FPTs are available on the HiSET Download Library. They can be photocopied and reused as many times as necessary. By March 2015, we will add more practice tests that are comprised of released operational items.

The 2015 Official Practice Tests (OPTs) are:

  • New for 2015
  • Paper books
  • $10 each, plus a $5.50 flat shipping fee
  • Contain an answer sheet, answer key and score ranges
  • Order form is ORANGE
  • Restricted to state directors and HiSET test administrators ONLY
  • Can be purchased with purchase orders
  • Available in English and Spanish

* Note: Orders for OPTs will be delayed. The scoring scales are currently being reviewed to align with the HiSET exam.

The 2014 PPTs are:

  • PDFs
  • $7.50
  • Can be photocopied and reused
  • Contain answer key and score ranges
  • Available for public use
  • Order Form is YELLOW
  • Spanish forms are available on separate order form

The 2014 FPTs are:

  • Available for download directly from the website
  • PDFs
  • Spanish Practice Tests are located in the Spanish version of the website

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:



HiSET Endorsed by American Federation of Teachers

Taken from LINCS

… the American Federation of Teachers has endorsed HiSET®, over the GED(r) for students who drop out of high school. This is relevant to our ongoing discussion about the low pass rates for the GED(r) and critical issues around equity. For those who are interested, here's the resolution, "Reclaiming the Promise of GED Fairness in the United States."

Montana HSE Information:  January

Montana HiSET

I hope you have been following the GED discussion in our MTLINCS that was posted this week. Low participation and passage rates are the national buzz. I encourage you to read the link below regarding this conversation. It sums up the national scene very well.

I will have the MT HiSET passage rates for you soon; we are getting the data ready for release. It is good that we had the HiSET ready to go!

They’re finally addressing alternative tests to the GED:

For 72 years, the GED was the only game in town, no matter which town you lived in. Then, in a matter of one year, 10 states dropped it.

The days of one monolithic high school equivalency test are over. And that means, for the first time, someone in Boston or Baton Rouge who's hoping for a second chance won't have to pass the GED.


Thank you for embracing and making the HiSET a reality for our adult test takers,


Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

Montana HiSET Resources

Check out the shared resources on the HiSET Resource page at

Remember:  Some of the resources have been 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.

HiSET Success:  Montana

Do you have a HiSET success story you want to share with us and others? If so, we want to hear it. Email Margaret Bowles with details. Include "HiSET Success Story" in your subject line.

2.   Montana Instruction Ideas

Check out the new snippets in Postings 10 GED® and 14 Reading Apprenticeship.

3.   Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Moving Pathways Forward homework due:  January 12.

Click here for MT_ABE_Regional_Mtgs_ Labor_Market_Information_Nov_2014.

Click here for Montana Job Projections 2012-2022.

Click here for Montana Job Projections Spreadsheet.

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

4.   WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

WIOA Montana Updates:

1/9/15:  WIOA Regulations

The document below announces the regulations for WIOA will not be released in January. A spring release is now the target date. OCTAE has not released any statements on the impact on our required due dates. The Montana state WIOA partners have agreed to start meeting in early February to begin our Unified Plan regardless of the lack of regulation release. The common belief is that we need to get started.

I will keep you posted as I receive information.

Margaret Bowles,
Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director


WIOA Notice


Q.  When will the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Notice of Proposed Rulemaking be published?

A.  The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), enacted July 22, 2014, provides many opportunities to advance a customer-centered workforce investment system driven by the needs of job seekers and employers, to support strong regional economies, and to provide individuals with pathways to the middle class and beyond.   

WIOA establishes an aggressive timeframe for the Departments of Labor and Education to publish a set of regulations for implementation.  The Departments continue to work diligently together to develop these regulations, informed in part by outreach to outside stakeholders, as appropriate.  While we continue to work toward completion of this important and complex proposal, the publication of the proposed regulations is currently anticipated to occur in Spring 2015, rather than January 18, 2015, as stipulated in WIOA.

In Spring 2015, the Departments of Labor and Education plan to concurrently publish five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) to implement WIOA.  One of these will be a joint NPRM involving jointly administered activities including unified and combined state plans, performance, and aspects of the one-stop system.  Another NPRM will implement the remaining provisions of Title I and Title III that are administered by the Department of Labor. Three additional NPRMs involve Department of Education programs, including one implementing Title II Adult Education and Literacy and two implementing the Title IV Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 of WIOA.  These five NPRMs will be published in the Federal Register and posted on, where public comments can be submitted following publication.  The Departments of Labor and Education will analyze these public comments, and anticipate issuing Final Rules implementing WIOA in early 2016.


Because many provisions of WIOA go into effect July 1, 2015, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) also will issue operating guidance in Spring 2015 to support implementation.  In addition, ETA intends to issue targeted guidance documents in the Spring, accompanied by technical assistance activities.  Once issued, the guidance can be accessed at


To achieve successful implementation and the full vision of WIOA, ETA will continue to consult with the workforce system and strongly advises states and local areas to begin planning and taking action to prepare to implement WIOA immediately.  There are legislative and technical assistance tools currently available at that can support initial WIOA transitional activities. 

Click here  to access Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

5. Career Pathways:  WIOA Technical Assistance Webinar Resources Now Available

Taken from LINCS Notice

A variety of materials and resources are now available from the above mentioned webinar via the following link:

These include:

1.     presentation slides

2.     webinar recording

3.     technical transcript and

4.     presentation slides from Kentucky, Arizona, and Massachusetts.

Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

6. Career Resources for Students

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

I have just updated the Career Pathways Instructional Videos section of the Literacy List videos web page. You'll find it at  (Scroll down for the "Career Pathways Instructional Videos" section)

From these free web sites -- there are several -- your students can explore jobs and careers through videos, some with people who hold those jobs.

I would be interested to hear which sites you find especially useful, and how you use these videos with your students.

David J. Rosen

7. Disabilities Discussion:  Disabilities & Correctional Ed – A Special Discussion, Jan. 12-16

Taken from LINCS Notice

Secure, correctional facilities house and offer educational programming to diverse populations, which may include individuals with assorted learning disabilities from mild to severe. From January 12 – 15, the LINCS Community will host the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Five Keys Charter School, which provides education services to San Francisco and Los Angeles’ County Jail, for a special discussion on Adult Learning Disability Populations within Secure, Correctional Facilities.

With the goal of examining how to best provide adult education services to students with learning disabilities, this conversation will be of particular interest to adult education personnel including those in correctional facilities as well as support personnel, program planners, career and technical educators, curriculum developers, assessment personnel, and professional developers.

To prepare for this discussion, you can review these three LINCS Disabilities Collection and Correctional Education resources:

   1.  Understanding the Complexities of Offenders’ Special Learning Needs

   2.  A Reentry Education Model: Supporting Education and Career Advancement for Low-Skill Individuals in Corrections

   3.   Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

8. Employability Skills Framework Webinars Now Archived

Taken from LINCS Notice

In case you missed the Implementing the Employability Skills Framework in the Adult Basic Education Classroom webinar held on December 3, 2014, the webinar archive is now available on the LINCS YouTube Channel. The webinar has been archived in four parts:

·        Part I: Introduction to the Employability Skills Framework

·        Part II: Employability Skills, CCR Standards, and Literacy

·        Part III: Employability Skills, CCR Standards, and Mathematics

·        Part IV: North Carolina's Employability Skills Toolkit

To access the full playlist, visit:  

The LINCS Community Team

9. ESOL:  Webinar – Program Models and Resources for Serving English Language Learners

Taken from LINCS Notice

Friday, January 30th, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST

This webinar will explore major shifts for the field of ESOL and adult education named in the WIOA legislation: 1) the need to prepare English Language Learners for unsubsidized employment in in-demand industries and occupations that lead to economic self-sufficiency; 2) focus on integrating instruction and other services with the local workforce development system. This webinar will be a practitioner-led dialogue designed for you to consider what these shifts mean for program design and classroom practice. Learn about successful program models and practices for working with high beginning to advanced level English Language Learners.

The WIOA: What Now? Practice and Policy Webinar Series is co-sponsored by the National College Transition Network/World Education and LaGuardia Community College/CUNY.

John Hunt is the Acting Executive Director for Adult Community Learning in the Division of Adult and Continuing Education at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) in Queens, New York, the most diverse county in the US, where he oversees a variety of adult education programs in ESOL, high school equivalency, integrated workforce development, remedial education, and skilled immigrant career pathways, including the NYC Welcome Back Center for immigrant healthcare professionals. Through LaGuardia's Center for Immigrant Education and Training (CIET), he has developed courses contextualized around civic and parent engagement, immigrant family literacy, DACA immigrant youth, and workforce development. He previously taught in Japan, Spain (International House) and New York and holds the Cambridge DELTA teaching diploma, along with degrees from Vassar College, NYU, and Baruch's School of Public Affairs. He has presented on such topics as integrated ESOL and career pathways models ("NY-BEST"), immigrant parent engagement and college awareness, and skilled immigrant career advisement via the Welcome Back Initiative model. He is a Blue Ribbon Panel member of the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE) and a Steering Committee member of the NYC Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL).

With more than 30 years of experience in adult education, Silja Kallenbach has worked as an administrator, professional development provider, and program developer, researcher, and teacher. Silja has worked for World Education since 1994 and currently oversees World Education's portfolio of work and leads program development in the U.S as the Vice President of the U.S. Division. Some of the projects that Silja has helped to design, secured funding for, and worked on include: Networks for Integrating New Americans, the National College Transition Network, the New England Learner Persistence Project, and the Adult Multiple Intelligences Study. From 1994 to 2011, Silja served as the director of the New England Literacy Resource Center at World Education. 


10. GED® Completion Rates Discussion Continues

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test. Why? And Who's Left Behind? By Daniel McGraw  Click here to read the article:

An interesting discussion continues on LINCS at  You may want to read some of the most current snippets.  You can click on last week’s MTLINCS at to read other snippets.

                              Snippet #1

GED Passing Rates

In Colorado, out of the 4,460 individuals who took at least one GED test, only 1,707 went on to pass all the tests--a 38% pass rate.  Even though there are many reasons that individuals begin the process and don't go on to complete, we are finding that the test itself is a stumbling block to the average adult needing this high school equivalency diploma.  Many individuals are--once again--being left behind.

Snippet #2


I thought you would find this of interest. Just out on PBS: Is the new GED test an educational improvement or setback? Thank you to both Lecester Johnson and Randy Trask for having this conversation on PBS NewsHour.

Snippet #3

NPR Report

I'd like to add another national article to this cross-posted discussion that just came out this morning on NPR. You can listen to or read the story here:

A 'Sizable Decrease' In Those Passing The GED

The audio version of the NPR report includes quotes from a master's level teacher of 30 years who said that she took the practice test but did not pass it

11. Health Literacy Discussion on Staying Healthy for Beginners

Taken from LINCS Health Literacy

I just want to let you know that we will be having a guest discussion in early February about the new Staying Healthy for Beginners ESOL curriculum! This includes a Student Guide and Teachers Guide developed by the Florida Literacy Coalition and LINCS. 

We will talk with Greg Smith, director of the Florida Literacy Coalition and some of the teachers who have used this resource. If you missed the webinar on this topic, you can find the recording here:

Staying Healthy for Beginners: A New ESOL Curriculum Webinar:

·        Recording

·        PDF of presentation slides

·        Resources document

You can also see a short video about the curriculum and student guide here: 

In the discussion February, we will talk in a more relaxed forum about using this curriculum in the classroom.


12. Reading:  Snippets from Book Study on Reading for Understanding - How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms

Taken from LINCS Assessment

Have you had a chance to follow the discussion about reading Apprenticeship?  If not, click here to join the Reading Apprenticeship micro group.  See snippets below of the conversations that are occurring.

Snippet #1

The ideas in the first couple of chapters speak to my experiences in education not only k-12, but also adult education.  Students must have the ability to read critically in a wide variety of texts to be successful students/readers.  Since 50% of all students entering community colleges are ready to read critically, what about the other 50%?  Those are the students we are called to find new and improved strategies to help with critical reading skills in order to analyze the text.  Certainly, before we even approach reading improvement, we must ensure that the classroom environment is safe, respectful and collaborative.  Once the tone is set for an environment conducive to learning, the student can then move on to find strategies to improve their own reading process …

Snippet #2

I found "Students as Untapped Resources" very interesting, and it definitely supported the information on page 32 around developing reader confidence.  "The skills, strategies, and knowledge students bring to making sense of such daily reading as notes from friends or parents, websites, movie and music reviews, song lyrics, and electronic manuals are valuable resources teachers need to invite into the classroom."  I really liked how the book goes on to emphasize that students just need to be convinced that they already have experience in working with many types of text.  This then gives them the confidence to delve into alternative types of texts that they may never have considered …

Snippet #3

There is a math teacher article "Never say anything a kid can say," by Steven C. Reinhart.  In it he says... "My definition of a good teacher has since changed from "one who explains things so well that students understand" to "one who gets students to explain things so well that they can be understood.""

... I think that it is reflective of the RA process.  Yes teachers can guide and provide their own input/experience/knowledge, but I think the most powerful learning comes when students share together their own reading strategies/understandings/methods/etc. and are supportive of each other as readers/learners.

Snippet #4

I have gone through the STAR training as well, and we have been working to implement its principles in our classrooms to varying degrees.  I find one of the most helpful techniques STAR has provided me is modeling, which RA emphasizes as well.  However, personally, I'm struggling more with the differences between the two approaches, starting with the research base.  STAR is grounded in the National Reading Panel report coming out of the No Child Left Behind years, which emphasizes the four component approach, especially phonics and decoding, and reading comprehension is primarily judged through cloze-type exercises.  However, in their own words, the authors push back against that research/policies (p. 4) and the practices of returning to phonics/decoding, which STAR pushes heavily.  During my training, I was also constantly told to "teach the reader not the text," which meant that our focus should be on teaching vocabulary, decoding (alphabetics), fluency, without much regard, if any, to the meaning of the text. RA's approach, though, seems to be founded on  the inextricable relationship between reader and text. Finally, their focus on teaching complex texts, especially to struggling readers, seems to run counter to the kind of texts recommended to us during STAR training (Six-Way Paragraphs, for example). I hope to find more bridges between the approaches, but I also want to think through the differences. 

 13. Reading:  Teaching Adults to Read – Study Circle for Alphabetics

Taken from LINCS Reading

Implementing TEACHING ADULTS TO READ - Practitioner study circles for applying reading research to instructional practice!


A professional development opportunity brought to you by LINCS RPDC 4. The next session in this series of research-based, facilitated online Study Circles for Teaching Adults to Read begins in the new year!  Please see below for more information ...

Purpose: This study circle will focus in-depth on moving from knowledge about reading component research for adults to active skill building in using those approaches in personal instructional practice, using a Participatory Action Research approach. The program aligns with the objective in WIOA Legislation for implementation of researched-based “essential components of reading instruction.”

Participants:  ABE and ELL instructors will form a cohort community to explore reading research and evidence-based best practices, discuss implementation strategies and lesson plans, and share experiences in using their lessons with different student groups. Both teachers who are new to the reading components and those who have taken TAR online or face-to-face courses are welcome to participate. This is a great professional growth opportunity for full- and part-time teachers and tutors.

Process overview: The interactive study circle integrates National Academy of Sciences research with a review of the TAR Study Circle series content. The program consists of 1 Introduction Session and 4 sessions that make up each Component Series, with implementation tasks to be completed between sessions. For the Alphabetics Series, sessions will be on Wednesdays: January 21 (Introduction Session), and January 28, February 4, 11, 18 (Alphabetics Sessions). All sessions will take place in the same time slot. That is (by time zone) 2:15-4:15 PM Eastern, 1:15-3:15 PM Central, 12:15-2:15 PM Mountain, and 11:15 AM-1:15 PM Pacific. Registration deadline: by 5 pm on Monday, January 19!

The Introduction Session provides an overview of research on reading components broadly, and outlines the goals, study circle framework, activities, resources and expectations for the Series. It is comprised of 2 hours of online contact time plus 2 hours of pre-work and follow-up total. This single Introduction Session is a pre-requisite for subsequent Component Series – i.e. participants may enroll in any Component Series (Fluency, Alphabetics, Vocabulary, and Comprehension) after they have at least once participated in an Introduction Session. Each Component Series provides component-specific research and best practices content and is comprised of 8 hours of online contact time plus approximately 7 hours of homework. As the sessions build on each other, commitment to completion of all sessions in a series is essential. NOTE: Dates for the Vocabulary and Comprehension Sessions are TBD.

The program emphasizes a comprehensive and ultimately integrated approach to teaching reading – completion of all 4 Component Series is strongly encouraged. Certificates of Completion are available to participants have completed all 4 sessions in a Component Series plus the Introduction Session, and their professional portfolios. For on-going implementation support instructors are encouraged to join LINCS Community of Practice. This is great preparation for individuals who will become reading resource people for their colleagues!

The study circle will be led by educational consultant and Subject Matter Expert Shash Woods, who has 17 years of experience teaching Adult Education, as well as 15 years leading teacher training in content standards and andragogical practices. The facilitator will be Kristin Ockert, LINCS staff, with 12 years of experience in teaching Adult Education, as well as 15 years in creating and supporting professional development programs for ABE instructors and staff.

E-Platform: Blackboard Collaborate with up-to-date Java software.  Compatible Browsers: Safari 6.0 and above, Firefox 23 and above; Internet Explorer 9 and above; Chrome. Collaborate webinar site for computer set-up:

For registration or questions, please contact: Paul Heavenridge, Executive Director of LINCS Region 4 Regional Professional Development Center. EMAIL:

14. Technology:  Using PowerPoint with Students

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Have you tried using PowerPoint with your students?  You mention that you use a lot is Britannica Multimedia Encyclopedia. Students could take information they gather from the encyclopedia and then develop PowerPoint presentations to share a report on their research. PowerPoint allows the user to include images, animations, and add sound files so as students become more advanced with their skills they can develop multimedia presentations.  Among the skills students will practice are reading on a screen, critical thinking, developing outlines for their content, using the mouse and keyboard, copying and pasting.  PowerPoint skills are not only useful for online testing, but if students continue into post-secondary education (and many jobs) they will most likely be asked to create PowerPoint presentations.

Here are some tips on using PowerPoint with students:

 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