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Montana Information

1.   HiSET Blast

HiSET® Program eUpdate | January 2015

Continued Updates from HiSET Regarding Practice Tests:  2/17/15

I think there is confusion in terminology.  ETS uses the term OPT to differentiate between the publicly available tests and the tests not available to students.  Answers are below to your additional questions:

·       The first two, bulleted, tests (Free ad $7.50) are available and have a preparation scoring structure that makes them predictive for the current (2015) test. 


·       There is no 2014 OPT preparation scoring available to be predictive of the 2015 test, it will come March. 

A scale was sent with the 2014 OPT purchases.  ETS is currently conducting a field study because feedback was received from educators using the OPT stating they believed it was over-preparing students for the 2015 operational test. The scale confirmation based on the field study or edits will be available in March.

·       There is no 2015 OPT, it is coming March.

ETS is not currently planning to release another OPT(version of the practice test not available to the public) in in 2015.  ETS is releasing additional HiSET practice tests for purchase in March of 2015.  The practice tests are being created using the 2014 operational items.  The new practice test scales will be released prior to the 2015 practice tests being available for purchase.  The scales will be located on the Are You Ready to Take the HiSET® Exam?, located on the HiSET Informational Website. 

New Information from HiSET Regarding Practice Tests:  2/16/15


Over the past several weeks ETS has received numerous requests for clarification surrounding the ETS HiSET practice tests.  The practice test currently on the market for 2015 preparation of students are:

·         2014 Free Practice Test (5 subtests)

·         2014 For Purchase Practice Test (5 subtests)

·         2014 Official Practice Test (OPT) (5 subtests)-not available for student purchase

Tim Davey, our Senior Research Director has approved the statement below for use in the field:

The 2014 practice tests should continue to be used to prepare students for 2015 operational testing.  In addition, ETS is releasing additional practice tests in March.  The new practice tests are being created using the 2014 operational items.  Scores on both the 2014 and the new practice tests are linked to the HiSET scale in a way that accounts for any differences in item difficulty that exists across test forms.  As such, they are as predictive of performance on the new, 2015 operational test forms as they were predictive of performance in 2014.  The same sort of linkage ensures that 2015 operational scores are on the same scale as 2014 scores produced after the new passing standards were implemented.   

Please emphasize with your programs to use the current Are You Ready to Take the HiSET® Exam?, located on the HiSET Informational Website at:

Moving forward, all newly purchased HiSET practice materials from ETS will not include a preparation table; all programs should only use the table on the website.  This change will help avoid the problem we have been experiencing with individuals using an outdated table to prepare their students.  ETS will continue sharing messaging with the field about the Are You Ready to Take the HiSET® Exam? documentation and will update the table again prior to additional practice tests being available for purchase March 2015. 

The 2014 OPT preparation scale is not available on the Are You Ready to Take the HiSET® Exam? because we are finishing an operational trial to collect data from students taking the 2014 OPT and the 2015 operational test.  The scale for the OPT is expected to be released in March. The study was conducted as a result of feedback from your programs concerned with the difficulty their students were having on the OPT. 

Thank you!


Amy Riker
National Executive Director, ETS High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®)

Educational Testing Service

Happy New Year to the entire HiSET® family. We are excited to begin our second year with a strong start and are eager to continue our work to offer the most accessible and affordable option in high school equivalency testing.

Practice Test Clarification

The 2014 HiSET practice materials were developed and released prior to HiSET becoming an operational assessment. The release of the materials was closely aligned with the 2002 series and the 2014 HiSET operational forms. The materials were released in 2013 so the adult education field could prepare their students for HiSET testing prior to the January 2014 launch of the operational test.

Developed to prepare students for success in passing the 2014 HiSET exam, the materials were prepared prior to the release of the OCTE College and Career Readiness Standards.

The newly released HiSET Official Practice Test and the upcoming 2015 HiSET practice tests were developed based on information collected throughout the HiSET 2014 operational testing year. They are designed to prepare our students for HiSET 2015 operational testing and to move students towards college- and career-readiness levels. In addition, the Are You Ready to Take the HiSET Exam? document is being updated to reflect the 2015 operational test for all available practice materials. Once the new document is released, please discontinue the use of any previous scales you have used.

NEW — 2015 HiSET Test at a Glance

You can now view the new TAAG information for 2015 in the HiSET download library. As you'll see, there are changes to the exam in terms of content area percentages. We realize that you may have questions, and we will work with all stakeholders to answer them fully. We currently are collaborating with the HiSET state administrators to develop information-sharing and Q&A sessions across the nation. In the upcoming month, we will communicate how the information is shared with each stakeholder group as we work with the states. We assure you that any concerns or questions you have will be addressed fully as we continue to move forward. We look forward to speaking with everyone.

Test Center Reminders

Formula sheets for the 2015 HiSET paper-based math tests were sent to each center earlier this month. This reusable sheet must be provided to each candidate taking a HiSET math exam in 2015. The information on the formula sheet is available to computer-based math test candidates on the computer, similar to the calculator tool. The sheet is also available in the HiSET download library.

HiSET Official Practice Test

The 2015 HiSET Official Practice Tests are now available for ordering, and those that have already been ordered will begin shipping this week. These tests are available only to educators, state directors, departments of corrections and test center administrators. They are to be used only as prep materials and not in place of a HiSET subtest. The practice subtests are half the length of a full subtest. Each subtest contains a half-length version of the full test, a score conversion table and a blank answer sheet. The order form is posted on our resource library. The cost is $10 per subtest or $50 for the complete battery.

Writing test: The break between Section 1 and Section 2 has been removed from computer-based and paper-based testing beginning in 2015. Irregularity reports no longer need to be completed if a candidate does not take the break.

PBT Centers

Answer sheets: The 2014 answer sheets cannot be used for 2015 tests. Answer sheets for 2015 forms can be ordered through your TCA portal.

HiSET Success

Does your state or jurisdiction 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.

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:


Montana HSE Information:  January

HiSET Age Waivers:  New Protocol 1/22/15

ETS has implemented a block to underage (16-18) clients when they try to schedule.  The state didn’t have input to the system, but retained the right to override the block. State policy is that ONLY the state can override the underage block. If an underage tester comes into your center already scheduled to test, contact us immediately.

The procedure below is based on our current system and some input from other states.

·        The process puts 17-18 year old approval in the hands of the local facility and that remains the case with one extra step. You will need to contact OPI for a systems override. The state is only going to permit testing at your request. Please remember to include the test taker’s ETS ID in your email or phone message.

·        The process for 16 year-old test takers is basically the same, except after the OPI approves the waiver, we will need to override in the system. Please remember to include the test takers ETS ID on the form. A new form will be created, but in the meantime, just write the ETS ID on the top of the waiver.

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

Montana HiSET PSA Template 1/14/15

The PSA templates that were requested of HiSET have arrived.

Click here for HiSET PSA template.  This is offered as examples that can  be rewritten, or edited, at your discretion. 


Montana HiSET Resources

Note:  HiSET Webinars

Webinars on content tests are not active.  ETS is updating the webinars. 

Check out the shared resources on the HiSET Resource page at

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 Shoptalk

Click here  to access ShopTalk Summary and topics. 

·       EdReady

o   Ed Ready PowerPoint by Jaime Middleton:  How to Get Started with EdReady

·       Pathways Overview

·       WIOA Update

·       Teaching to the Standards

o   College Career and Readiness Standards for Adult Education

·       2015 Transition Plan

3.   Montana Instruction Ideas

Check out Posting #4 about math resources.

4.   Montana Math Webinar Resources

Welcome to the Montana Math Webinars!  Check out the new math resources that have been shared by webinar participants.

·        HiSET Central Tendencies

·        HiSET Central Tendencies Answer Key

·        HiSET Exponents

·        HiSET Exponents Answer Key

·        HiSET Graphing

·        HiSET Graphing Answer Key

·        HiSET Trig

·        HiSET Trig Answer Key

·        Math Vocabulary

·        Math Websites

Click here for more information and resources.

5.   Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources: 

·       Coaches’ Resources

·       Regional Homework

·       National Resources

6.   WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

WIOA Montana Updates:

2/20/15:  Vision for the Workforce System and Initial Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

Our first official guidance for the new law. Please click on the link below to read the vision for implementation; it is only seven pages.  You will be very glad we are working on the pathways partner project and that the integrated data team has already been meeting. 


Dear State Director,

On February 19, 2015, the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, in collaboration with its federal partners, released the following Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL No. 19-14,  The TEGL, entitled Vision for the Workforce System and Initial Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, lays out the vision for a revitalized workforce system under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and highlights a number of actions State and local workforce system leaders can take to begin planning and implementing WIOA prior to the release of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and publication of the final rule.

In the coming weeks, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education will be releasing a companion piece highlighting the vision and role of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act program as a workforce system partner and adult education activities that support opportunities for adult learners. 

Thank you,

Cheryl L. Keenan

Director, Adult Education and Literacy

Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education

U. S. Department of Education

1/26/15:  Federal Register:  New EFL Descriptors

Click here to preview recommendations for new EFL descriptors.

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

Click here  to access the following:

Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

7. Adult Learners:  Self-knowledge

Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Adult Education

How much do our learners know about themselves and how they learn?  Do they know what barriers stand in their way to be a successful learner?  For students with disabilities, and possibly with all students in general, learners may not have this self-knowledge.  

Within the assessment process, this is an important component,.  Teachers plan a critical role by observing and asking questions that help students see and analyze their skills and challenges.   

There are effective tools to get learner input.  One that I used is “Analyzing My Learning: Strengths and Struggles,” an adapted version of Screening for Adults with Learning Disabilities.  This document has been used as a tool for developing learner self-knowledge.  The document was adapted by Margaret Lindop, formerly of the Center for Literacy Studies, The University of Tennessee, 1999, from Screening for Adults with Learning Disabilities: the Role of the Practitioner in the Assessment Process, National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities (ALLD) Center, Summer, 1998.

Keys to Effective LD Teaching Practice

The document, Analyzing My Learning: Strengths & Struggles, is after the un-numbered page Appendix B, and is marked pages 1 through 7.

Rochelle Kenyon, SME

8. ESL:  Citizenship Education Discussion

Taken from LINCS Notice

Join us from February 23-25, 2015 for a special conversation on adult citizenship education with the Office of Citizenship within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

With the goal of helping participants prepare students for naturalization interviews and tests, this event will be of particular interest to teachers of citizenship and civics to adult English language learners, those helping eligible Lawful Permanent Residents prepare for the naturalization interview and test, adult ESL teachers, and program administrators. The discussion will highlight the linking of content standards and foundation skills to citizenship education to develop thematic lessons, as well as other USCIS resources.

Additionally, some of the subtopics to be highlighted include:

·        Building an effective citizenship curricula, syllabi, lesson plans, and classroom activities;

·        Helping students improve English skills in preparation for the naturalization test; and

·        Current naturalization test preparation resources.

This conversation will take place in the Adult English Language Learners and Program Management group. If you are not already a member of one of these groups, please join in order to participate in the discussion.

Mark your calendars now and connect with us on Twitter (@LINCS_ED and @USCIS). This is sure to be an event you will not want to miss!

9. ESL:  Discussion on Helping Adult English Language Learners Who Have Learning Challenges

Taken from LINCS Notice

Need help assisting your adult English language learners (ELLs) who may have learning challenges thrive in the classroom? Then save the date for next month’s Helping Adult English Language Learners Who Have Learning Challenges special discussion.

From March 2-5, 2015, special guests Robin Lovrien, Lauren Osowski, and Alicia Broggio will lead an in-depth discussion on learning challenges among adult ELLs who may or may not have undiagnosed learning disabilities. We’ll spend the week uncovering effective classroom management and instructional practices for your adult learners experiencing learning challenges.

With the goal of enhancing differentiated instructional components for teachers in mixed level ESOL settings, this event will be of particular interest to teachers, teacher aides, and tutors of adult ELLs in the LINCS Adult English Language Learners and Disabilities in Adult Education groups. The discussion will focus on strategies for effective instructional practice in the classroom.

10. ESL:  Resource for Teaching Emergent Readers

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

… working with emergent readers, i.e., those who have limited or interrupted formal schooling--some have never learned to read and write at all in any language--, is the most challenging aspect of adult ESOL-- and the most rewarding, too. These learners need our best, well-trained teachers, not well-meaning volunteers who have no training.

Thanks for mentioning the New American Horizons videos, Miriam. Every time I watch Andrea's class, I learn something new, and I appreciate the video more. Another resource that has been mentioned in the Adult English Learners CoP by Lisa Vogt is the Elder Curriculum, which is appropriate for ALL learners, not only elders. This entire curriculum, complete with step-by-step lesson plans, student handouts and excellent color photos, is available for free download.

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

Another important resource to recommend is the ELLU online course "Teaching Emergent Readers," which is available through the Learning Portal on LINCS.  I would definitely recommend this course to any teacher or volunteer who has not been trained in how to teach reading and writing to this population of learners.

Susan Finnmiller

11. ESL:  Technology Websites for Low-level ESL

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

·        Northstar Digital Literacy Standards

·        Janet’s Low Literacy Class Website

·        Spelling City        

·        Learning Chocolate for Vocabulary Practice

·        ESL Literacy Readers

·        Marn Frank Phonic Stories

·        English Express Albert Lea Adult Website

·        Recording Website


·        World Clock, Calendar, Time Zones, Weather, etc.

Patsy Vinogradov, www.

12. ESL:  Webinar for Resources for Undocumented Students

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Are you an educator or administrator who has wondered how you, your department, or institution can better work with and for undocumented immigrant students? If so, check out this excellent toolkit from United We Dream that is designed by and for undocumented students and educator allies. The toolkit provides nearly 30 examples of institutional policies and programs that increase resources and support systems available to undocumented students at their schools.  

Register now for this webinar on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM EST to learn what's inside the toolkit and how you can use it. 

The presentation will be moderated by Laura Bohorquez, Dream Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP) Coordinator. Presenters include

·        Genoveva Segura, DEEP Coordinator for the Office of Latino Outreach at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (a CCCIE member college)

·        Diana Valdivia, Undocumented Student Advisor, University of California Merced

·        Flavio Genaro Bravo, Student Government President of Loyola University Chicago

·        Jamie Richards, Data and Development Manager, CT Students for a DREAM

 13. LINCS Going Social

Taken from LINCS Notice

Greetings community members,

We’re excited to announce new improvements that make it easier for you to share LINCS resources, news, and events with those you want, how you want!

You may have already noticed; we’ve added new social sharing buttons to help connect you with all of your social networks directly from LINCS. These new buttons make it easy to share interesting and useful materials on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and via email. You can customize your social media posts by using any of these buttons found at the top of all general LINCS web pages and at the bottom of LINCS Community discussion posts.

When you select any social share button, a pop-up window will let you create and send dynamic social media updates to your followers and friends. Use these buttons to highlight your favorite LINCS conversations, share resources, spread the news about upcoming events, and more. Join us as we maximize our participation in larger adult education conversations across the Internet – it’s time to get social!

Also, we value your feedback. Please use the Contact Us feature to share your thoughts on both new and continued features; we will continue to make improvements based on your suggestions.

Many thanks for your continued interest and involvement with LINCS.

Best regards,

The LINCS Community Team

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