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Montana Information

1. HiSET Blast

HiSET® Program eUpdate | February 2015

Test Center Reminders

2014 Returns:

Please return your 2014 HiSET® testing materials to ETS, if you have not yet done so. All 2014 test books and answer sheets, used or unused, must be returned to ETS along with the Test Book Return Notice. You may not keep these materials for any reason. The 2014 materials cannot be administered in 2015, and scores will not be reported on 2014 materials. Continued use of these materials may result in the closure of your center.

2015 Returns:

You may return any overages or extras of the 2015 HiSET Battery Bundles as well. Please send them to the address below, and clearly mark "2015 Materials" on the box.

HiSET Program
Attention: Pam Cato
Mail Stop 18-P
660 Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541

Official Practice Test

The Official Practice Tests are available for ordering. Please continue to allow 4–6 weeks for processing and shipping. An updated order form is available on the HiSET Download Library. Please complete this form and send it to Order Services with every order.

HiSET Success – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

After getting involved in gang life at an early age, Ethan Ayers found himself incarcerated at the age of 19. To build self-esteem and better his life for his family, Ayers registered to take the HiSET exam at the Iowa Medical Classification Center (IMCC). Due to Ayers' motivation, determination and encouragement from the IMCC staff and educators, he successfully passed the exam. Read more about Ayers' story.

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 and include "HiSET Success Story" in your subject line.

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:



Montana HSE Update: March 2015­­­

HiSET Preparation Materials 2015

Message from Amy Riker:  Thank you very much for joining the HiSET call today.  I have attached the HiSET practice test cheat sheet. (Click here for HiSET Preparation Materials 2015) The document provides the information and details about all of the HiSET practice tests currently on the market from ETS.  In addition, I have provided the release dates below for the practice tests.

·      Paid Practice Test 2 (PPT2) and Paid Practice Test 3 (PPT3) will be released the week of April 6th

·    Official Practice Test 2 (OPT2) will be released the week of April 6th

·    Free Practice Test 2 (FPT2) will be released the week of April 6th

The delay in releasing the materials was to address the field feedback surrounding Math.  ETS originally planned to build the practice tests very similarly to the format of the practice tests currently available (PPT1 and FPT1).  The new practice tests (FPT2, PPT2, PPT3, OPT2) were complete and ready for release on March 15th.  After receiving feedback from each of you, I asked the team to hold off on releasing the materials and rebuild them to reflect the percentages in Math similar to those on the 2015 Test at a Glance (TAAG).  That work is being completed, but delayed the release.  We have added additional Algebra I and Algebra II items, and a Geometry item so that students are exposed to a problem requiring the application of a right triangle.  The percentages of Algebra on FPT2, PPT2, PPT3, OPT2 will more closely resemble the Algebra percentages on the TAAG.  

I also wanted to clarify the question about the concern that we included trigonometry on the test.  The 2015 HiSET operational forms contain some items that require the application of right triangle trigonometry.  The items that appear on the operational forms require test takers to know the definitions of sine, cosine, and tangent (e.g., the sine of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the lengths of the side of the triangle opposite the angle and the hypotenuse of the triangle). This content is generally taught in a high school geometry class, and may even be covered in an integrated algebra class.

The “Are You Ready for the HiSET Exam” document is being updated with the new scales for FPT2, PPT2, PPT3, OPT2.  We are also including the following statements on the document for clarification:

·         The practice tests are intended to complement your preparation and classroom instruction. The tests will not fully prepare students for the actual HiSET exams.

·         The length of each practice test is ½ of the length the HiSET exam.  The practice test may not represent every type of question on the exam.

·         The "Well prepared" category scores are not indicators of college and career readiness. The categories are meant to help provide guidance on the likelihood of a student passing the HiSET.  Visit to learn how HiSET Reflects College and Career Readiness.

Anyone who purchased and received OPT1 will receive OPT2 at no charge.  They can keep OPT1 but ETS is still finishing the field validation. We are unable to provide the scale on the “Are You Ready for the HiSET Exam” until the validation is complete.  Once the field validation is complete, we will have a scale but haven’t decided if we will begin selling OPT1 again.  As mentioned previously, OPT1 was authored by different item writers than the HiSET operational forms and that might be contributing to the disconnect.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Thank you!


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

Educational Testing Service

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 and National News Information

Click here  to access a site that will take you to the most current information without your having to search.  More resources posted on 3/30/15.

3. Montana Instruction Ideas

Check out #7, #11, and #12.

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

5. WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

3/30/15:  WIOA Quick Start Action Planners:  A New Tool for the Implementation of WIOA (Posted on LINCS Career Pathways)

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Quick Start Action Planners (QSAPs) are web-based self-assessment tools designed to help state and local leaders identify areas of strength and challenges as they prepare their workforce systems for the implementation of WIOA.

The QSAP is designed for leaders in the public workforce system at the state and local levels. You can complete a QSAP in 20-30 minutes, and then discuss the results with your team to develop a common understanding of your readiness to implement WIOA. 

You can access the planner here:  There are two planners ready to use - Partnerships and State Leadership and Governance.  There are three other planners currently in development: One Stop Center Service Design, Youth Services Strategies, and Local Leadership and Governance.

I hope that some of your organizations will use one, or more, of these planners as you prepare for WIOA implementation.  I look forward to hearing about your experience using the QSAP, what was helpful, and what questions you still have about implementing these new provisions.

3/18/15:  WIOA National Update from Career Pathways Exchange

WIOA Vision and System Update

U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presented a webinar on March 3, 2015, offering an update on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Agency leadership shared the federal vision for the workforce system under WIOA, discussed actions states and local workforce areas can take to support implementation, and fielded questions from the audience. A complete recording of the webinar as well its transcript and presentation slides are available through the Department of Labor's Workforce3One website.

WIOA Montana Updates:

3/17/15:  Using "Measurable Skill Gains" to Best Serve Low-Income, Lower-Skilled Individuals

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is very pleased that Congress, in passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), included an interim measure of progress as one of the six “primary indicators of performance.” The legislative description of this indicator reads as follows:

The percentage of program participants who, during a program year, are in an education or training program that leads to a recognized postsecondary credential or employment and who are achieving measureable skill gains toward such a credential or employment. (WIOA, Section 116(b)(2)(A)(V)).

This common measure offers an opportunity to ensure WIOA funds are used to provide services for participants with initially low basic skills, including English language learners. Recognizing that these individuals will require additional services and a longer timeframe to succeed in postsecondary education and the labor market, this measure helps programs demonstrate success through interim outcomes achieved by this population …

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

Click here  to access the following:

Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.    a

National Information

6. ABE:  Participation in Adult Basic Education Programs Impact Earnings

Taken from LINCS Program Management

Have you wondered if there is evidence that participating in an ABE program has a long-term impact on adult learners' earnings? Perhaps you have been frustrated that there is little if any research on the question of economic impact. You may even be familiar with Economist James Heckman's research that shows that getting a GED diploma or certificate does not have an impact on one's lifelong earnings unless it is used to open the gate to further education and training and one completes at least a year of training and education leading to a certificate or degree.

Now, we have evidence from researcher Stephen Reder at Portland State University, based on his analysis of data from his Longitudinal Study of Adult Literacy (LSAL), a decade-long study of about a thousand randomly selected adult school dropouts in Portland Oregon. The U.S. Department of Education has published this research brief (along with four others of Reder's research briefs) in which he analyzes the economic impact results for participants in adult basic skills (ABS) programs.

The March 26th U.S. Department of Education OCTAE Newsletter offers this summary:

The Impact of ABS Program Participation on Long-Term Economic Outcomes  considers the long-term impact of participation in ABS programs on individuals' earnings. The research results show that individuals who participate in ABS programs have higher future earnings as a result of participating, and their income premiums are larger with more intensive participation. Minimal levels of participation do not produce statistically significant premiums, but 100 hours or more of attendance were found to equate to extra earnings of $9,621 per year, in 2013 dollars.

The research brief is, well, brief. You can read it in under  thirty minutes or skim it in under five minutes. Please do read it, and comment on it here.

1. What do the findings mean for your program? For example, was the 100 hours or more of attendance needed for significant impact a surprise or a confirmation of what you already know?

2. Are the findings important?

3. Could you use these findings in educating students, community members, local policy makers, education funders who have expressed doubt about the impact of adult basic skills education? If so, how would you use them? In your program or school? With your state professional development agency? With your state adult education public policy education/advocacy group? With your state adult learner leadership group? What exactly would you do with these findings.

If you want to read about all five research briefs that are based on the LSAL data, see the OCTAE newsletter at  (If it hasn't been posted yet, the March 26th issue should be available soon. Check back.)

David J. Rosen

7. CareerOneStop:  Website Redesigned

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration is pleased to announce the 2015 launch of the redesigned CareerOneStop website.

The redesigned CareerOneStop website offers streamlined access to key resources and tools for job seekers, businesses, veterans, students, workers with disabilities, older workers, workers with criminal convictions, and more. The site is fully mobile-ready—meaning it automatically adjusts to fit smartphone or tablet screens.

Check out the new CareerOneStop at Learn more from the What can CareerOneStop do for you? video or get started at one of the six main sections:

• Explore Careers—Get quick access to occupation details as well as information on self-assessments, career planning, and more 

• Find Training—Find local training programs as well as information on training options, certifications, licenses, financial aid, and more 

• Job Search—Using CareerOneStop’s newly enhanced Job Search, find job listings updated daily from, America’s Job Exchange, CareerBuilder, and Indeed, along with tips on networking, resumes, interviews, and more

• Local Help—Use the American Job Center Finder and nearly a dozen additional tools to easily locate and find contact information for local workforce services across the United States 

• The Toolkit—Find all of CareerOneStop’s online tools—more than three dozen in all

• Resources for—Use CareerOneStop’s targeted resources for veterans, businesses, people with criminal records, laid-off workers, career professionals, workers with disabilities, and others

You’ll find more information including brochures on CareerOneStop, Veterans ReEmployment, Business Center, and Web Services. You can access printable brochures and more materials—in English and Spanish—at

Please contact CareerOneStop at with any questions. We look forward to your feedback!

8. Career Pathways:  Non-First-Time Student Degree Completion

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Non-First-Time Student Degree Completion

The following information comes from the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP and contains 2 useful links.  The first is a chart detailing the demographics of non-traditional students, and the second is to the study from which the information comes …

Mixed Enrollment Status: Favorable for Non-First-Time Student Degree Completion

The traditional 18-year-old high school graduate enrolling full time at a university no longer represents the majority of college students. Today’s nontraditional students are entering or returning to postsecondary education older, with families and jobs, and with varying degrees of enrollment intensity.

In 2012, 51 percent of undergraduate students were independent, 40 percent were age 25 or older, 15 percent were single parents, and 37 percent were enrolled part time.

A new national study on the enrollment and persistence of non-first-time students (NFT), conducted by a group of higher education organizations, indicates that when NFT students combine periods of part-time and full-time enrollment, they are less likely to drop out and are more likely to complete an associate’s degree than exclusively part time students.

9. Career Pathways:  Upskill America

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand economic opportunity for American workers. Members are The Aspen Institute Skills for America's Future, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (National Skills Coalition), and the Committee for Economic Development.  All of these members are worth knowing about.  The Upskill America website is  Clearly employers taking responsibility for upskilling their workers is an important part of narrowing the skills gap between workers and available jobs. Already the following best practices have been identified:

Best Practices for Employer-Provided Training

1.     Increase investments in frontline workers to pave the way for job progression and better pay

2.     Expand employee eligibility of higher education benefits and encourage more frontline workers to take advantage of them

3.     Reward frontline workers' on-the-job training and skill mastery with promotions and incentives

4.     Work with other employers and partners so that frontline workers’ learning and training leads to marketable and nationally recognized credentials that can generate higher pay

5.     Create or expand apprenticeship program for investing in training

6.     Offer scheduling flexibility or stability - and related supports - to frontline workers that allows them to succeed at training, higher education, and career advancement

10. COABE App

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

The 2015 COABE Conference is a month away. For a second year COABE is using a conference app.  Not only is the app useful if you are attending the conference, but it allows those who cannot attend to participate virtually.  The COABE 2015 app is already available --you can download it on your mobile devices by going to this link  There, along with the downloadable COABE 2015 app, you can access the HTML 5 version to use on your desktop or laptop computer.

There are already affinity groups available on the COABE 2015 app.  These follow the conference strands and give you the opportunity to interact now with other people who are interested in the same topics as you.  There's a technology affinity group just waiting for you to join. Introduce yourself, meet presenters, and let other group members know what you hope to learn at the conference this year.

Nell Eckersley

 11. ESL:  Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching – A Guide for Teachers

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Here is an interesting resource on using mobile technology in teaching English.  How are ESOL teachers using mobile devices with students?

Mobile pedagogy for English language teaching: a guide for teachers

"This guide is for anyone interested in teaching and learning languages, and thinking about teaching practices. It sets out a philosophy and proposes a frame of reference to aid teacher-thinking when designing mobile language learning in and beyond the classroom, informed by research conducted with teachers and learners in ESOL and EAP contexts.

The ideas within highlight the use of activities which exploit a dynamic language and technology environment while drawing on teacher wisdom and the distinctive capabilities of both teachers and their learners.

This publication is free to download in pdf format."
Nell Eckersley

12. ESL:  TABE and WorkKeys Resources for ELL

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

In South Carolina, many of our transitioned ESL students remain with an ESL teacher in a class that often contains students assessed with different tools:  TABE Language and/or Reading, BEST Plus and/or BEST Literacy.  To assist teachers with content, my colleague, Terry Phillips, created a chart which shows the content of each TABE level/form (the checkmarks denoting the number of questions assessed on that level/form).  Here is a link to the TABE Reading chart and the TABE Language chart.  As you can see from looking at the charts, the skills covered are often found in a variety of ESL curricula.  Helping the teacher see precisely what is assessed can assist them in contextualizing priority skills as related to their students' unique needs.

To help with differentiating instruction and groupings within the ELL classroom, I created this Assessment Analysis Tool which helps a teacher look at his/her classroom composition in terms of individual skill strengths and weaknesses.  This is a new tool and has been received well in theory, but I'm awaiting practical feedback from those actually implementing its use in the classroom.

One of our ESL instructors, Jan Camp from Horry County Adult Education, developed this ESL Career Ready 101 Guide to help teachers in using CareerReady 101 (CR101) with ELLs. In South Carolina last year, 72 ELLs earned Career Ready Certificates (CRCs) (63 of which were ESL students).  These CRCs were earned by students at all NRS levels, but we do find that ESL High Beginning and Intermediate Low is the best starting point.  Jan recommends having students work through levels 1-3 of Applied Math and Reading for Information before beginning Locating Information due to the difficulty of the latter.  They have responded enthusiastically commenting how the training has helped them to assist their children with math homework, etc.  Students also see their progress and enjoy having their certificates celebrated, both of which encourage student retention.

CR101 actually offers a lot to our ELLs; of course, the CRCs help them to enhance their employability (for those who are eligible) while at the same time building their technology skills.  However, the other modules include listening activities, financial awareness, and a wide variety of content, tapping into the diverse interests and backgrounds of our students.  We have actually approved all of the units for ESL distance learning, so students can work from home at their leisure.

I hope some of these resources are helpful to others who have transitioned ESL students into 'Regular Ed' assessments.  I should mention that while our transitioned ESL students do typically make gain with TABE Math subtests, we don't recommend using those subtests until the student has reached 7.0-9.0 GLE on both the TABE Reading and Language subtests.  In this way, we continue to strengthen the students' language acquisition which they can then use for their diverse pursuits.

Tonya Creamer

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