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Montana Information

1. HiSET Blast


HiSET® Program eUpdate | March 2015



New 2015 HiSET® Practice Tests are now available!

The HiSET® Paid Practice Tests – Released 2015 are live in the ETS Store and are available for purchase.

The Official Practice Tests 2 is also available for ordering by HiSET institutions and educators. The order form can be found in the HiSET Download Library.

The HiSET Free Practice Tests – Released 2015 are available for download from the HiSET Download Library.

The new HiSET Practice Test Quick Reference Guide (PDF) provides detailed information about all of our Practice Test materials.

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


Estimate how well prepared you are for the HiSET exam:

Are You Ready to Take the HiSET Exam?


HiSET Preparation Materials 2015


Message from Amy Riker (Detailed information about Practice Tests)

… 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 #6, #9, and #12.

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

5. WIOA Update

4/13/15:  WIOA Update:  Comment Period

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:

·        A NPRM between ED and the Department of Labor (DOL) to implement jointly-administered activities under Title I of WIOA regarding unified and combined state plans, performance accountability, and the one-stop system.  This NPRM applies to all core programs, including state vocational rehabilitation services and adult education programs.

·        A DOL-only NPRM to implement changes made to the adult, dislocated worker, and youth programs authorized under Title I of WIOA.

·        An ED-only NPRM that will implement changes to programs authorized under Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), which are contained in Title II of WIOA.

·        Two ED-only NPRMs that will implement changes made to the programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which are contained in Title IV of WIOA, as well as new provisions. 

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:

WIOA Montana Updates:

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:

·        Learn about promising models for providing adult basic skills education

·        Discover ways to tailor the design of your program to meet the needs of your community

·        Develop ways to link reading and math skills with occupational training

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. Career Pathways Resources from Career Pathways Exchange

Taken from Career Pathways Exchange

Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2015

The Making Youth Employment Work report explores youth employment through the lens of the business community and argues that youth hiring practices are not just "good to do," but also serve a valuable business function. The paper notes five competitive advantages of employing young adults, outlines approaches to implementation, and identifies common barriers to success and the essential elements necessary to mitigate those challenges. Additionally, the report offers an employer checklist and case studies of companies who have been successful in their efforts.

Partnering with Employers to Promote Job Advancement for Low-Skill Individuals

The Urban Institute, 2010

The Partnering with Employers report explores the reasons why employer partnerships are important for improving economic outcomes for both low-skill workers and businesses. It identifies the factors that have hindered the growth of these partnerships as well as promising approaches-incumbent worker training and sectoral training - to build partnerships. It concludes with a discussion of policy considerations for creating and sustaining partnerships with employers to provide skill development opportunities.

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

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Professional Development

Snippet #1:  Why are the CCR Mathematics Standards so good?

The delivery of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education has created quite a bit of anxiety and tension in the adult education world. This is very understandable because they point to significant changes necessary for a full and faithful implementation.

Thus arises the question of why are these standards and changes needed. The short answer is that whatever we were doing for the last however many years was not working well, because it left major gaps in many adult learners' preparation for successful transitions into college and careers. This by itself justifies the need for change. It does not address, however, the question of why we should change in the direction of the CCR Standards.

There are several reasons that make such change very desirable. More uniformity in expectations helps adults who receive their training or learning in one area of the state or the country to have similar training or learning as that expected in another area into which they might move. Mobility is becoming more prevalent and, arguably, makes this advantage more important today than in the past. However, in my humble view, it is because of the key shifts the CCR Mathematics Standards define so clearly that moving in their direction becomes highly desirable. The clear definitions of Focus, Coherence, and Rigor they include, together with the stress on Standards for Mathematical Practice, are enough to create curricula and programs that have a better chance of leading more adult learners to more success in more educational and employment endeavors. 

The frequently maligned Standards for Mathematical Practice are really habits of mind that refer to higher-order thinking skills empowering individuals able to use them to present better arguments, to understand and criticize the logical flaws of statements and arguments presented by the media, politicians, friends, and others, to become better problem-solvers, to make good conjectures and generalizations, to express themselves more clearly and accurately. And note that I am not talking about mathematics, but rather in any arena. I think this constitutes a powerful argument in favor of the CCR Standards.

Professional Development Materials on CCR Math Standards

These training materials replicate four key activities designed to help participants learn what it means to implement the CCR Standards for Mathematics in adult education. The activities were created for adult educators who participated in three CCR Standards Implementation Institutes offered in 2014. The materials can be found here:

Participants receive and develop a practical, transferable understanding of the fundamental advances in instruction embedded in the CCR Standards, which are crucial to preparing adult students to meet the real-world demands of college and careers. At the heart of the instructional advances is a careful examination of the critical content and processes that fuel mastery in mathematics, including focusing on core concepts and skills, coherent progressions from level to level and pursuing conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application with equal intensity.

·        Unit 1, Focusing on the Major Work of the Levels, addresses the most critical concepts and skills that students must master to be prepared for college and careers.

·        Unit 2, Thinking Across Levels to Connect Learning, concentrates on the concept of coherence and the central role it plays in the CCR Standards.

·        Unit 3, Engaging the Three Components of Rigor, investigates what it means to create a rigorous mathematics curriculum.

·        Unit 4, Connecting Standards for Mathematical Practice to Content, provides techniques to enrich instruction by integrating the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice with content-specific standards.

Each ready-to-use unit includes a facilitator’s guide, an annotated PowerPoint presentation, and participant materials.

Fabio Milner

Snippet #2:  Focusing on the Major Work of the Levels

This unit is designed to allow participants to investigate in depth Key Advance 1—focus—within the five adult education levels (A, B, C, D, and E) of the CCR Standards. Participants learn to identify topics that are and are not major topics for the various levels. During the hands-on activity for this unit, participants first read descriptions that summarize the major work of each CCR adult education level. These descriptions define the most critical concepts and skills for preparing students for college and careers.

Then participants review a set of lesson topics listed by level to determine which of the topics are likely to address the major work of that level. During this activity, small- and whole-group discussions are crucial to building clear and common understanding among participants of what constitutes the major work of each level.

The CCR Standards are by necessity more focused than K-12 standards because adult education programs do not have the "luxury" of 12-13 years during which to help adult learners to master the content. Thus arises the value of understanding Focus as an essential design component of the CCR Standards, and that is why it is one of the Key Advances in College and Career Readiness Standards. A deliberately focused set of standards that attends to content areas and specific topics that are core to applications and future studies, will position more adult learners better for success in both arenas of careers and higher education.

10. COABE App

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Attention Montana!  If any of you attend COABE and have resources and/or ideas to share with Montana colleagues, please forward them to MTLINCS.

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, 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. 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. Financial Literacy Resources from Brooke Istas

Taken from LINCS Financial Literacy

1.      92% of Women Want to Learn More about Personal Finance

There is an interesting article on, "92% of Women Want to Learn More about Personal Finance".  Is there a way as an instructor you could help your learners understand mathematical concepts using tools to help learners become fiscally responsible?  If so, please post below or send me a private email.

2.      It's Your Business - Run It Videos

The Girl Scout Research Institute has linked a video series, "It's Your Business - Run it!"  These videos feature female entrepreneurs say that learning how to manage money is the thing that allows them to run successful businesses and have the career of their dreams.  They all had to start with the basics of how to make a budget and manage credit.

3.      Protect Your Identity

How many of our learners realize that they are at risk for Identity Theft?  Do they know what it means to have their identity stolen?  During #FinancialLiteracyMonth, why not take some time to help learners understand and avoid this crime?  Phroogal is a website that has great information about protecting your identity as well as other wonderful resources for other topic in financial education.

4.      Forty Mindless ways you're burning through your paycheck

Are you or your learners interested in saving money?  This is a short article on "40 mindless ways you're burning through your paycheck".

5.       Your Financial Personality

… short article about Your Financial Personality:  Penny Pincher, Savvy Spender, or Overspender.  Do you know your personality?

6.      It is also #InvestorsMonth

… what a great month to teach your learners about the stock market!!!  Check out this short Stock Market Quiz:

13. WIOA Comment Period

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The comment period for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act begins today, April 16th and will remain open until June 15th, 2015.  You can read more about the proposed rulemaking, and instructions for submitting comments at the Federal Register's website.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Education wants your feedback on WIOA implementation.  DOL's Blog recently highlighted the need for feedback from those in the field.

Excerpt from the DOL Blog:

[T]he system works best when we’re all committed to improving it. As we progress toward implementing WIOA, we’re asking for your feedback. The proposed rules from the Labor and Education departments are currently available for public inspection via the Federal Register. The comment period will open later this month and the public will have 60 days from then to offer thoughts or suggestions on how we build a better workforce system. Please take the time to speak up and participate in the process.

We’ve made enormous progress over the last several years to dig out of the recession and build a stronger, more resilient economy. WIOA will help us maintain that momentum in the years to come.


Norene Peterson

Adult Education Center

415 N. 30th Billings, MT 59101