Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

Check out many new items below:  Marketing, Success Story, Research about HiSET Passing Scores, etc.!


HiSET® Program eUpdate | September 2014

Resources for States and Educators and Test Center Staff

Answer sheets for the HiSET® practice exams are now available in the Download Library. These blank answer sheets correspond to the practice exams and can be printed and photocopied for your test center.

Test Center Reminders

For PBT Centers:

In 2015, HiSET Test Books will be packaged by battery. You will be able to order nine different battery forms, each containing all five subtests (A-1, A-2, A-3, B-1, B-2, B-3, C-1, C-2, C-3). We will send you detailed ordering instructions soon.

Test Administration Services

HiSET Program Success

Congratulations to Nevada's Department of Education for their recognition by Gov. Brian Sandoval. Sandoval highlighted the ongoing effort to provide critical high school equivalency and alternative education opportunities that help to reduce unemployment and enhance Nevada's workforce. Nevada was the first state in the country to offer multiple options for high school equivalency assessments which are the basis for a Nevada High School Equivalency Certificate. For the full story, visit

HiSET Success Story — Billings, Montana

Battling drug use, Adam Munoz of Billings, Mont., decided to drop out of junior high school. Now sober, in his mid-20s and raising a family, Munoz is motivated to get a college education that will help him pursue a career. Read more about Munoz's success story and how passing the HiSET exam is helping him fulfill that goal.

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

ETS HiSET Conference

Invitations have been sent for the first HiSET conference, which will include valuable information and resources for state administrators, educators, test center staff and corrections staff. Please note that space is limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.



December 1–3, 2014


The Palazzo Las Vegas
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

For questions about the conference, please send an email to and you will receive a response within 48 hours.

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:



Montana HSE Information

Conversion Scores:  Please delete.

The revised conversions from GED scores to HiSET scores have changed.  If you have been using a previously posted chart, please delete it.  The conversion is no longer applicable.

Click here for the current HiSET practice test results chart.

Marianne Shomaker, Montana High School Equivalency (HSE) Specialist

Montana Examiners/ABLE Meeting:  HiSET Resources

Email Follow-up to Examiners: 

Click here   


Attached are the trifold templates from Jonna McDonough with the following explanation:

Our marketing team developed one black and white template and three color templates.  Of the three color templates, one does not have a front graphic, the other two have different graphics.  The funky text is simply a text place holder for custom text inserts by programs.


Click here to access HiSET Trifold Templates.

Research Memorandum – Recommending Passing Scores for the High School Equivalency Test: 

Click here to read about the recommended Passing Scores for HiSET. 

More information will be coming soon from ETS regarding the HiSET essay.

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.

2.   Montana ABLE Fall Conference and Career Pathways Initiative 2014:  More Postings Coming Soon!

More Postings from Conference 2014!

Click here on Montana ABLE Conference 2014 Resources to find the following resources:





Data:  Desk Audit

Data Presentation Information (Bentham, Missoula)

Monthly ABLE Report (Flynn, OPI)


EdReady How to Get Started

EdReady Presentation (Currie)

EdReady Goal Assessment Setup Worksheet (Missoula)


BEST ESOL Pathway Project Planning Form

ESOL Pathways Project 2015 Skype Dates and Objectives

Round Table Agenda


  • ABLE Meeting


  • Examiners Meeting

Coming soon!


Montana HiSET Examiners Meeting (pdf)

Research Memorandum


Fractions and Decimals (Daviau)

Moving Pathways Forward

Moving Pathways Forward Project (Dyer)

OPI Introductory Presentation

OPI Presentation by Margaret Bowles

Coming soon!


3.   Montana Instruction Ideas

Check out the Postings 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 below for ideas about instruction. 

4.   Montana PEP Talk Updated

Click here to access the new version of PEP Talk.  FYI!  PEP Talk booklets have gone to print and will be available in a few weeks, so there is no need for Montana ABLE programs to download and print a lot of booklets.  

5.   MCIS Highlights in Montana College Access Network (MCAN) Quarterly Newsletter

MCAN recently posted the following information about MCIS.  Click here to access MCAN archived newsletters.

What’s new in MCIS this fall
Check out the exciting changes in MCIS:

·        There is now an updated combined report of assessments. You can compare the results of multiple assessments in one report.

·        Two new informal assessments have been added: a learning styles survey and employability skills survey.

·        Reality Check has been totally redesigned to match the rest of MCIS.

·        Help and tutorial buttons have been added throughout MCIS.

·        Personal Learning Plan is a new report that provides a summary of a student’s academic and career goals. Perfect for using during parent/teacher conferences.

·        Site administration tools have been redesigned to match the rest of MCIS and include a dashboard view of the most frequently requested data on MCIS usage.

·        Both MCIS and MCIS Jr. now have 579 occupations, 30 are emerging occupations.

For the complete list of new features click here:

6.   WIOA Update:  Montana ABLE Programs – Stay informed!

WIOA Montana Updates:

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

WIOA National Updates:

Click here  

U.S. Department of Education WIOA Reauthorization site

Transcripts of Videos

·        9/8/14 Video:  Session IV:  Title I - Performance Accountability System

o   Transcript:

·        9/2/14 Video:  Session III:  Title I - State Workforce Boards and Unified Plans

o   Transcript:

·        8/20/14Video:  Session II:  Overview of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (WIOA)

o   Transcript:

·        8/7/14Video:  Session I:  Overview of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

o   Transcript:


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): An Overview of Adult Education and Literacy Webinar. This webinar, featured on Aug. 28, provided a broad overview of the legislation, key dates for implementation, and useful information on resources and materials for adult education and literacy partners and stakeholders. The event also featured a panel of representatives from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Labor. See the Presentation slides [ PDF] and Archived webinar.

National Information

7. Career Pathways:  Career Pathways Exchange

Taken from LINCS Notice

As a valued member of the LINCS community, you’re invited to subscribe to OCTAE’s new Career Pathways Exchange (the Exchange) to receive targeted email digests of the latest high-quality resources, events, and information related to career pathways.

With the passing of WIOA into law and the release of the Vice President’s Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity report, the role of career pathways systems in improving our nation’s economy is more important than ever. Identified in the Ready to Work report as a way to help states and interested stakeholders to develop, expand, and strengthen their career pathways systems, the Exchange consolidates and distributes career pathways-related resources, events, and information from federal and state agencies and partner organizations. The Exchange streamlines information from multiple outlets to facilitate a deeper national dialogue on career pathways systems development and implementation.

Exchange subscribers can select to receive email digests on their topics of interest, including: Building Cross-Agency Partnerships, Identifying Industry Sectors and Engaging Employers, Designing Education and Training Programs, Identifying Funding Needs and Sources, Aligning Policies and Programs, and Measuring System Change and Performance.

For continued information on the go, be sure to find and follow the Exchange on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

We look forward to sharing these timely and important resources and information with you. Don’t miss out; subscribe to this information service today!

The LINCS Community Team

8. College and Career Readiness:  Snackable Content

Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

I've heard from some teachers who have made their in-class content available online -- through a blog or class website -- that students are more willing and able to read content or watch short videos on their smart phones while they are on a work break or on the bus, than they would be to take out a book or other paper based materials.  

One thing to note in these examples is that the online content might work best if it is broken down into small chunks so students can interact with individual pieces even if they only have 5 minutes at a time.  This has sometimes been called snackable content.  

Mashable did an article on this called Are You Hungry for 'Snackable Content?'’  Click here to access the article:  

The key is not to dumb down the content but to break it into short meaningful pieces.

Nell Eckersley

9.  ESL:  New English Language Learner Resources in LINCS Resource Collections

  Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

The LINCS Resource Collection team has recently added a batch of Adult English Language Learners resources to the LINCS Resource Collection. Please find the linked publications below.

Many thanks for your participation as we continue working to provide adult education professionals with a Resource Collection containing high-quality, vetted, and free resources in 16 topic areas. We encourage you to share these resources with your state partners and highlight them whenever possible in your discussion groups and/or regional newsletters.

Featured Resources:

·        The Transitions Integration Framework (TIF) was designed to provide adult basic education (ABE) programs and instructors with guidance on the effective integration of transitions skills into instruction at all levels of ABE, including ESL levels. Developed in Minnesota via a research-based, rigorous, collaborative, multi-year process, the TIF is the collection of essential skills adult educators need to integrate into their instruction for their learners to reach their long-term goals. These include academic, career, and employability skills needed to transition successfully to postsecondary education, career training, and the workplace, and to enrich community involvement. Furthermore, the TIF is intended to help meet the needs of stakeholders in postsecondary education, the workplace, and community-based organizations.

·        The Study-Circle Guide for Teachers of Low-Literacy Adult ESL Students provides all the materials and instructions a facilitator needs to conduct a professional learning activity for teachers of low-literate adult ESL students. With a special focus on reading development, this guide aids participants in exploring relevant research and its implications for best practices in the classroom. In addition, detailed plans for each of the three meetings, links to all readings, sample communications to participants, as well as handouts, discussion questions, and tips for conducting a successful study circle are all included.

Additional Resources:

·        Using Oral Language Skills to Build on the Emerging Literacy of Adult English Learners

·        New American Horizons Teacher Training Videos

·        Adult English Language Learners With Limited Literacy

·        Maestra! The Letters Speak. Adult ESL Students Learning to Read for the First Time

·        Vocabulary Notebooks: Theoretical Underpinnings and Practical Suggestions

·        Excuse Me, How Much Are the Peppers?

10.  ESL:  On the Spot Scaffolding

  Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

I recently came across a blog that discusses on the spot scaffolding. I would describe this as the immediate moves a teacher makes when she notices students do not understand what is being taught. In essence, the teacher adds a layer of support to help the students grasp important content. You can check out Rebecca Alber's blog here:

Rebecca outlines three strategies for providing on the spot scaffolding:

1) Use sentence starters. For example, "One thing I don't understand about [the topic] is _____________________; People disagree about this issue because ______________________, etc. (I'm a  huge fan of sentence starters!)

2) Use an image or a short film clip. (I'm certain many of us have done this. In fact, just today, one of my students pulled up an image on his cell phone to help another student understand.)

3) Give students time to talk with a guiding question. (I am more and more convinced of the importance of talk in the classroom, and it can be especially helpful when students are struggling to understand.)

Rebecca explains that scaffolding such as this is not the same as differentiating instruction. Some of you may want to check out what she means.

Susan Finnmiller

11. Reading: Comprehension – Reading Apprenticeship

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing 

A new resource is available for supporting students to read complex texts:  The Reading Apprenticeship at WestEd at .

Here are a couple of snippets from the discussion about the above:

STAR and Complex Texts

I just wanted to respond to your comment briefly, to make the case for not "either/or" but "both/and."  I think the work of STAR and other evidence-based reading instruction practices are critical.  One cannot succeed with increasingly complex texts without a first grasp of the building blocks of reading, blocks that STAR lays beautifully.  I see these two reading 'packages' as very much working in tandem, focusing on improving reading from different angles, and I would be hesitant to give up one for the other.  STAR likely aligns more closely with the CCRS's "Foundational Skills" anchor standards, while Readers Apprenticeship works to meet other areas of the ELA standards.  Both have much to offer us and our students, I believe!


I guess by "alternative" I didn't mean either/or; however the skills-based approach advocated by STAR felt incomplete to me, so I began investigating other approaches.  I will say, though, that the evidence upon which STAR is based is surprisingly thin, and the the National Reading Panel report on which STAR largely bases its approach (teaching the four components) is also highly contested in the literacy research field, and even within the panel itself:  I do, though, find "modeling" very important as well as teaching vocabulary.  

John Schlueter

I have been using Reading Apprenticeship since 1999; I believe my colleagues and I at the City University of New York were the first ones to adapt it to use with adult education students.  It is still the most effective approach I know of to teach strategic literacy to adults.  Much better than the skills-in-a-box approach that is the basis of all the test-prep books, and unfortunately, still so prevalent in our field.  The skills approach purports to teach critical thinking, but it is just more of the same rote, decontextualized, stultifying stuff that causes students to drop out of our programs.  Reading Apprenticeship, on the other hand, really does help students learn how to be metacognitive and think deeply and critically. The strategies of questioning, clarifying, summarizing and predicting, as well as the think-alouds, have worked wonderfully with my students at various levels; and they are the strategies I teach adult educators to use with their students in my current work in Chicago.


I teach a multi-level reading and writing Adult Basic Education course and a Transitions to College class, so these students come into the class with various levels,  insecurities, language backgrounds,  and gaps in their formal education.  In 2008 I began to learn and implement the Reading Apprenticeship framework and routines in my classroom. This experience has been transformative.  Students, who approached learning in a disinterested way or who had a poor reader identity, became  engaged in the class, starting reading and discussing their texts, and making remarkable end-of-the quarter gains.


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