Greetings from Montana LINCS

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

Happy New Year!

Even though we may have taken a break, LINCS has continued with updates.

Take a look below to discover new discussions that will soon be held.

Montana Information

1.   Reading:  Check out Posting #14 – Participate in the Book Study!

Have you had a chance to read about Reading Apprenticeship?  No?  Here’s your chance.  Even if you have not read the book Reading for Understanding:  How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms, you still could follow the discussion.

Montana ABE programs encourage their students to pursue education and training beyond the HSE.  Many times this next step takes students into more complex reading of varied academic disciplines. 

Reading for Understanding states:

Students enroll in college with the expectation that this continued education will help prepare them for more satisfying futures.  In the United States 44 percent enroll in a community college, either as a gateway to further education or with the goal of earning an associate degree or technical license.  However, between 70 to 90 percent of these entering students are placed in remedial, or developmental, English language arts or mathematics classes, or both.

Bailey, T., Jeong, D.W., & Cho, S.-W. (2010). Referral, enrollment, and completion of developmental education sequences in community colleges. Economics of Education Review, 20, 255-270.

… the Reading Apprenticeship framework and approaches are based on research showing that most students are capable of complex thinking and carrying out disciplinary inquiry but have not been given the skills or self-confidence to approach these tasks effectively.  p.15

What are your programs doing to enhance students’ complex thinking skills?  MTLINCS will keep you apprised of some of the most pertinent discussion items, but you may want to participate yourself.  See posting #14 below.

2.   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:




Montana HSE Information:  November

Montana HiSET Resources

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.

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.

3.   Montana Instruction Ideas

Definitely check out the information about the book study in #13!

4.   Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

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.

5.   WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

WIOA Montana Updates:

11/25:  WIOA Timeline and Action Plan for States

Update 11/3 – Chunk #5:  Margaret Bowles

Last week I participated in the Region IV WIOA Town Hall meeting. The Montana delegation participated via WebEX, and it was a wonderful opportunity to join eleven other states in voicing our questions and concerns regarding the implementation of WIOA. The six hour meeting opened with comments from national leaders representing US Department of Labor, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, and Health and Human Services. Each spokesperson discussed why this new law is a game changer. For the remainder of the day, the participants were divided into work groups to address a series of questions. The responses to these questions will be used ensure the January guidance is clear, concise, and meets the needs of state WIOA partners. Below are the Town Hall questions and Power Point presentation.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss the questions or PowerPoint.

Margaret Bowles
Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

·         Town Hall Questions

·         PowerPoint Presentation 

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

National Information

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

Taken from LINCS

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

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

Taken from LINCS

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

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

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 and Additional Posting on Who Will Be Left Behind

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 is also taking place on LINCS at  You may want to read some of the snippets.

                              Snippet #1

GED student numbers

I am teaching at New Mexico State University-Alamogordo Adult Education and our GED program had over 300 students for 2013-2014 and we had 97 grads. This year 2014-2015, we have 150 students and only 2 grads so far. I think the student are intimidated by the new test (We use only the ED®) and feel they cannot pass. Many of the students do not like taking the test on the computer and liked the paper and pencil test.

Snippet #2

The Cleveland Ohio Scene Magazine ran an article about the GED test and the drop in completion rates:  Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test. Why? And Who's Left Behind? 

Click here:

Snippet #3

Hello friends, Here are the shocking stats from PA. There have been approximately 3,000 test takers in 2014 vs 25,000 in 2013 and 21,000 in 2012. In 2013, 19,500 people passed the GED® test in PA ; in 2012, 15,000 people passed; and in 2014, only 1,600 people have passed.

As some posters have noted, since there was such a big push to complete the GED® before the new test, the 2013 numbers are exceptionally high. BUT it is clear that the current numbers are dramatically  lower this year in PA than 2012, too.

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. 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."

Susan Finnmiller

13. Math:  How well does Khan Academy align to Common Core State Standards?

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy

Below is a tantalizing introduction by high school math teacher and Stanford University graduate student Dan Meyer to his blog article report on his close examination of what students are asked to do in the 8th grade Khan Academy math curriculum:

"Khan Academy claims alignment with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) but an analysis of their eighth-grade year indicates that alignment is loose. 40% of Khan Academy exercises assessed the acts of calculating and solving whereas the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s assessment of the CCSS emphasized those acts in only 25% of their released items. 74% of Khan Academy’s exercises resulted in the production of either a number or a multiple-choice response, whereas those outputs accounted for only 25% of the SBAC assessment."

For the full blog article, see 

David J. Rosen

14. Reading:  Book Study on Reading for Understanding - How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms:  Group Begins January 5

Taken from LINCS Assessment

Initial Posting

The LINCS Community is pleased to announce its first book group, Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms.

A direct result of strong user interest and lively discussion, this book study will offer an online space for exploring the principles of Reading Apprenticeship while providing a reading schedule and discussion facilitated by Meryl Becker-Prezocki and Susan Finn-Miller.

Interested participants should start reading Ruth Schoenbach, Cynthia Greenleaf, and Lynn Murphy’s Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms,” and join the discussion in the January.

With the goal of enhancing professional growth and instruction to increase student achievement in reading, this event will be relevant to ABE teachers, professional developers, and interested stakeholders in the Reading and Writing, College and Career Standards, Assessment, and Evidence-based Professional Development groups.

Mark your calendars for this special discussion starting on Monday, January 5 in the Reading Apprenticeship Book Study microgroup. Please join the microgroup in order to participate.

New Posting

This is just a reminder that the first book group, Reading for Understanding: How Reading Apprenticeship Improves Disciplinary Learning in Secondary and College Classrooms will begin on Monday, January 5.   Many of you have indicated your interest in participating and to do that you must join the microgroup at  Susan Finn Miller and I will be facilitating the discussion.  The questions that will guide our conversation are now posted in the microgroup.  We are looking forward to hosting the book study and following the conversation.  See you in the microgroup!

Meryl and Susan

Book Study Guide

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

Taken from LINCS

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:

16. Reading:  Vocabulary Workouts for AWL and Other Resources

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing

I have developed what I call "Vocabulary Workouts" for the first 60 words on the Academic Word List, and I would be pleased to share these with you. There is also a brief teacher's guide suggesting ways to use the workouts. I have been teaching one word per class, drawn from the materials we are reading, with students this fall and have found the workouts to be quite useful. With the emphasis on college and career readiness, it's clear that we need to be teaching and assessing academic vocabulary explicitly and structuring opportunities for students to use these words in speaking and writing in meaningful ways.

I'm copying an example of one workout below. If you would like to receive a copy of these Vocabulary Workouts, please send me a private message at, and I will be glad to send them to you.  (Click here to see the workout more clearly.)


Susan Finnmiller

Relationship Words

… these relationship words (as well as other academic words) called mortar words, i.e., without the mortar, the bricks cannot hold together!

One way to support students to acquire these essential words is to provide them with sentence frames for conversations. For example, if we want students to compare and contrast two things or ideas, we could provide a sentence frame such as: "The two differ because the one ...; however, the other ..." or "The first idea is useful because ....; nevertheless, the second idea has benefits, too, because ..."

Those who are interested may want to check out Jeff Zwiers' Constructive Conversation Skills Poster. This tool offers prompts and responses to support students to "create, clarify, fortify and negotiate" during "constructive conversations" in class.  Zwiers has a great many additional fantastic resources on his website-- all K12, but entirely relevant when focused on the CCRS.


… Also written for K12, but I think relevant as they provide practice with CCR standards, are the SERP materials. The content is social studies, and one set of materials addresses "complex questions related to American democracy" They include lots of vocabulary activities as well.


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