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Montana Information

1. HiSET Blast

HiSET® Program eUpdate | March 2015

Official HiSET® Guide

The Official Guide to the HiSET® Exam from ETS and McGraw-Hill Education is now available for preorder. This comprehensive guide contains:

  • HiSET Exam Diagnostic Test from the ETS test makers. Use this exam to assess your readiness to take the test.
  • Two simulated HiSET Exam Practice Tests. These tests are designed to match the real exam in format and level of difficulty. Use them to sharpen your skills and build your confidence.
  • Topic-by-topic review of what to study. Find out what subjects are covered in all five test sections: Language Arts–Reading, Language Arts–Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
  • Test-taking strategies. Learn valuable hints and tips that can help you get your best score.
  • Exercises in every test topic. Practice with sample questions in every test subject area.

Price: $20
Available through Amazon®

Practice Tests

You can purchase two new sets of HiSET Practice Exams through the ETS Store. These PDFs are half the length of the actual exams and include directions and an answer key. Use the updated Are You Ready for the HiSET® Exam? flyer to find out if you're ready for the actual subtests.

Price: $10 per subject
Available through the ETS Store

New free practice tests will also be available for download from the HiSET Download Library. The free practice tests are half the length of the actual exam and include directions and an answer key. Use the updated Are You Ready for the HiSET® Exam? flyer to find out if you're ready for the actual subtests. Download PDFs directly from the HiSET Download Library.

The practice tests will be released the week of April 6.

Spanish-language HiSET Testing

The directions for the administration of the Spanish-language version of the HiSET exam are now available under the Test Administration section of the Download Library for Test Center Staff. When Spanish-speaking proctors are unavailable, candidates can read these instructions while the proctor is reading the English script provided in the program manual.

HiSET Success — Riverside, California

Matt Traxler has worked as a cook in many restaurants most of his life. Denied the opportunity to move further in his career due to his lack of a high school degree, he set out to achieve his high school equivalency credential. Discouraged by failing the math portion of the GED® test multiple times, Traxler sought advice from Mr. Black, Director of Teen Challenge. Black encouraged him to continue with his goal and informed him about the HiSET exam. Traxler decided to take the HiSET exam and passed. Read more about Matt Traxler's 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: April 2015­­­

HiSET Calculator Policy – Communication with Montana:  4/6/15

The question of which type, make and model of calculators for use on the Math subtest has been discussed with our Test Development team.  To be consistent with the test development work, it is now clearly stated in page 14, of our 2015 Program Manual, that scientific calculators are prohibited.  Test takers may choose to use a four function calculator during the Math test.  As always, test takers cannot provide their own calculators, and any memory function on the calculator must be cleared after each Math test administration is completed.

Any test center who does not have four function calculators available for test takers has the following options:

·       Send me an email with your test center seat capacity and receive FREE four function calculators

·       Purchase your own four function calculators-no specific brand or model required, any generic four function calculator is approved

Jonna McDonough, Director, ETS HiSET®,

Official Practice Test Provider:  4/2/15

Aztec is no longer the HiSET official Practice Test provider.  HiSET will not have an official provider.  This will move HiSET to provide a more robust list of providers in field.

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 ˝ 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 #8, #9, #11, #12, and #13.

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

5. WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

4/13/15:  WIOA Update

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act— Five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking Available for Public Inspection:  Sixty Day Comment Period Begins April 16

Below are the Title I, Title II proposed regulations for WIOA along with the listing of the tables of contents for the two documents that highlight the key sections related to our adult education programs. This material was sent to State Directors of Adult Education last Friday. After April 16, 2016 The US Department of Education will be accepting comments on these rules.

Once the state directors have fully examined the proposed rules i will be issuing materials that will highlight the critical issues for our programs. I hope to have input from other states by our April meeting.


·       2015-05528 Title I proposed regs

·       NCSDAE WIOA Title I table of contents

·       2015-05540 Title II proposed regs

·       NCSDAE WIOA Title II table of contents

 See more information below.

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, the Department of Education released a program memorandum announcing five notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). We encourage you to share this information with interested stakeholders, and to become familiar now with the content of the NPRMs in advance of the comment period. 

The notices are:

The AEFLA Title II NPRM is available online at  The other four NRPMs are posted on the Federal Register Public Inspection website at  They will all be available for comment during a 60-day period beginning on April 16, 2015. 

Please visit for links to the NPRMs and additional resources and information. 

4/6/15:  WIOA Update

Several new resources have been added to the OCTAE webpage that highlight the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  These new resources include topical fact sheets and the Making Skills Everyone's Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States report and PowerPoint presentation slides.  Check this site often for continuing updates and resources: 

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 …


Click here  to access the following:

Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

6. Basic Skills Webinar:  Emerging Instructional Models and Strategies for Adult Basic Learners

Taken from LINCS

Posting on behalf of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Are you struggling with providing innovative approaches to adult basic skills education?  Basic reading and math skills for the adult learner serve as a foundation for all successful training programs, such as those supported by the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG).  HPOG programs provide education and training to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the health care field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand.

The Office of Family Assistance recently released its next funding opportunity announcements for the HPOG program.

·        Health Profession Opportunity Grants to Serve TANF Recipients and Other Low-Income Individuals

·        Health Profession Opportunity Grants for Tribes, Tribal Organizations or Tribal College or University

Successful development of basic skills is linked to positive outcomes for students at work, in the community, and in continued education.  If your organization would like to boost basic skills training, the HPOG program will be holding a public webinar, Basic Skills Webinar:  Emerging Instructional Models and Strategies for Adult Basic Learners to be held on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

By attending this informative event you will:

Register for the webinar today!

7. Career Pathways:  Industry Driven Sector Strategies

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

We all know good sector strategies have strong industry engagement. But what does it mean when the sector partnership is actually driven by industry? It means industry is setting the agenda and helping design and even deliver workforce services. Learn about how broad and deep industry engagement works at both a state and local level with great results for businesses and workers.

Join Workforce One for this hour long webinar on April 28th, from 1:00-2:00PM EST


Stephanie Steffens, Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council

Barbara Allen, Director of Industry partnership and Engagement, Philadelphia Works

Philadelphia industry partner (TBD)



Diane Walton,Office of the Regional Administrator, San Francisco, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

8. CCRS Online ELA Discussion:  A Deep Dive – What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for ELA/Literacy CCR Standards?

Taken from LINCS Notice

Snippets from the Online Discussion:  Event Title: A Deep Dive: What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for ELA/Literacy CCR Standards?

Snippet #1:  Introduction

… The materials can be found here: ... Engagement in the four units of activities will enable adult educators to identify the most significant elements of the CCR Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy and to determine how best to integrate them in instruction and curriculum.

Snippet #2:  VT reflections and text sources

In Vermont we have made some headway here. I will summarize what we did, the feedback from teachers on the experience so that it might help others in their planning, and some resources for your comments.

We held a series of three 5-hour professional development opportunities spaced 6 weeks apart each. We had 42 participants (teachers and directors across programs) and 6 table coaches. When I was trained in these innovations, Meesha as my table coach was so invaluable to my learning experience that I knew we had to include coaches in our state’s training model. The table coaches were a mix of people with experience working with Common Core or our former content standards, from adult ed, and literacy coaches recruited from area elementary and secondary schools. I briefed all coaches on the materials, and adult ed context if needed. No remarks on the evals against coaches for not being from an adult ed background; a few criticisms of coaches who talked too much!

Day 1 we did Units 1 and 2; Day 2 was for Unit 3; Day 3 for Unit 4. We chose full-day formats to allow for a lot of discussion time, and we had such an expert lead facilitator/ trainer that I wanted her to have sufficient time as well. I wanted to minimize the needs to rush through the exercises and cut off related conversations. Still, we could have used more time, in my estimation 1 or 1.5 more hours for each day.

Some resounding mid-way feedback that we were able to address (as an augmentation to the PD materials) was this: “What do these shifts look like? Pick some videos. I think I understand but what does it look like in a classroom?” We had time to stream some videos and discuss them. I think it was important to have time for this need to surface and to be able to watch some practices together. If I could go back, or the next time I do this, I would include a video to watch and discuss in each session. There are not adult ed specific videos (yet?)--  of course there are many K-12 at and other sites.

We also started a list of sources of texts, and there was a lot of resource-sharing across tables.

One area that is particularly sparse is sources of adult-interest texts at Levels A and B (K-3). Here is what we have , and please feel free to add or comment back so we can have a better list.

9. CCRS Online Math Discussion 4/13 – 4/19:  A Deep Dive – What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for Mathematics CCR Standards?

Taken from LINCS Notice

Event Title: A Deep Dive: What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for Mathematics CCR Standards?

Event Type: Online Discussion

Date(s): April 13-17, 2015

From Monday, April 13-19 join Coaches Kaye Forgione and Fabio Milner in the “What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for Mathematics CCR Standards?” online discussion. This is the second of two discussions exploring professional development materials that support the implementation of the new College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).You can also join in the “What’s Behind the New Professional Development Materials for ELA/Literacy CCR Standards?” online discussion taking place now in the College and Career Standards group.

Next week, coaches Kaye Forgione and Fabio Milner will be available to answer your questions about the PD materials which focus on CCR math standards’ instructional advances and what it means to align instruction to CCRS. With previous experience facilitating the PD activities at three national CCR Implementation Institutes, they aim to share their insights and expertise with interested participants.

Since September 2013, Kaye Forgione has been a math coach for OCTAE’s Implementing College and Career Standards project. For more than a decade, Ms. Forgione served as Senior Adviser, Mathematics with Achieve, Inc. providing mathematics expertise and leadership with a focus on aligning and building the capacity of educators to align their work with college and career readiness expectations. Prior to working at Achieve, Kaye worked at the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, at the Council for Basic Education, in a Delaware school district as curriculum supervisor, and at the Delaware Department of Education in the area of assessment. She has taught mathematics at the high school and adult education levels.

Fabio Milner is the Director of Mathematics for STEM Education and Professor of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Mathematics Education at Arizona State University. Since September 2013, he has been a math coach for OCTAE’s Implementing College and Career Readiness Standards project. He has worked for over 15 years in K-12 and college education, including with the Indiana Department of Education helping develop and later revise the high school mathematics content standards and end-of-course assessments for Algebra I and Algebra II. Dr. Milner worked with Achieve, Inc. on the American Diploma Project and the Mathematics Common Core State Standards Advisory Board, benchmarking mathematics content standards for 14 states, and the development of multistate assessments for high school Algebra II. He was a member of the Mathematics Board at the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in 2008-2009.

The math discussions will also take place in the College and Career Standards group. Interested participants should join the Community group in order to participate.

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 conference strands and give you the opportunity to interact now with other people who are interested in the same topics as you. 

Nell Eckersley

11. College:  Developmental Education - Initiatives in Community College Developmental Education

Taken from OCTAE Connection

The evolution of developmental education for students transitioning to college is the topic of columns in this and the next issues of OCTAE Connection.  About two decades ago, community colleges regularly started admitting students not prepared for college-level work through an “open admissions” initiative.  Open admissions were designed to afford all students a second chance at enhancing their academic preparation in order to pursue a college degree and/or to prepare themselves for the workforce.

From the perspective of the enrolling students and the institutions, the open admissions initiative was a success.  The percentage of students who enrolled and continue to enroll in postsecondary education has increased.  However, the percentage of these enrollees who complete a certificate or a two-year degree has not increased proportionately.   Too many of these students leave postsecondary education before completion.  This gap between enrollees and completers, and between aspiration and achievement, is counterproductive both for students and for the nation.

In response, many community colleges have initiated a new generation of developmental education approaches as part of a more comprehensive effort to improve the academic and job-related achievements of their students.  The following two journal articles illustrate some of these new initiatives:

·        “Cost of Developmental Education:  An Update on Breneman and Haarlow” (Journal of Developmental Education, volume 36, issue 2, winter 2012)

 In 1998, the estimated national cost of developmental education was approximately one billion dollars, annually.  This article estimates the national cost estimate for 2004–05 at $1.13 billion at public institutions, a thirteen percent increase from 1998.  With increased costs comes additional scrutiny.  One major goal of this paper is to urge states to “make data on developmental education both transparent and publicly available in order to accurately derive a more precise cost of developmental education both at the local and national levels.”  Informed cost-benefit analyses will allow educators and policy makers to provide the most efficient and equitable developmental education.

·        “Faculty Advising to Support Student Learning” (Journal of Developmental Education, volume 38, issue 1, fall 2014)

This study, based on activities at San Jacinto Community College in Pasadena, Texas, discusses the implementation of an initiative to move away from historical models of student advising to a more intentional advising model called “educational planning.”  This approach, among other things, takes advising into the classroom and creates a strong partnership between faculty and student services to provide support, information, and career direction.  Sustained through an ongoing dialogue between instruction and student development professionals, classroom activities and wrap-around support services can be specifically focused on each individual student.  Through implementing this approach, the college found that advising becomes a tool delivered by faculty-student service teams that holds students accountable while providing needed assistance as the student progresses along his or her educational pathway.

12. College:  Student Success - What do students need in order to succeed in learning? Noncognitive factors

Taken from LINCS Program Management

A University of Chicago review of hundreds of studies examining the role of "noncognitive" factors in college success found five general categories related to academic success:

·        academic behaviors

·        academic perseverance

·        social skills

·        learning strategies, and

·        academic mindsets.

The study identified four academic mindsets that improve perseverance and, by extension, academic performance:

·        a sense of belonging in the academic community

·        a belief that effort improves ability and competence

·        a belief that it is possible to succeed and

·        a belief that the required work has value

You can read the study at

David J. Rosen

13. Reading:  Assessing Reading Comprehension

Taken from LINCS Assessment

I focus a lot on reading in my classroom. I want to design instruction so that learners "read closely." To me, reading closely means that students are re-reading for different purposes. One tool I like to use is an "anticipation guide." I create a series of true/false (or agree/disagree) statements based on the text we are reading. Students answer the questions before they read and again after they read. The exercise gets them thinking about what they already know about a topic and gives them a purpose for their reading. I have the students work together with a partner or two to discuss their answers both before and after reading. After reading, they must  be able to cite evidence from the text to support their answers.

An anticipation guide serves to assess both background knowledge as well as learners' understanding of the text they are reading. I have found this approach to be an engaging way to assess learners' reading comprehension.

Click here to see … an example of an anticipation guide I used recently with an article from our local newspaper about the dangers of lead in people's homes …

Susan Finnmiller

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