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 Montana Information 

1. HiSET Blast

4/27/15 NOTE:  Most current information 

1.     Calculator Policy Rescinded

ETS was asked to write a policy on the calculator by several states. As we have always stated, HiSET is calculator neutral and it makes no difference for the assessment if a scientific calculator is used or a four function calculator.  We can absolutely change the policy to scientific if that is desired. I believe it would be easier to use a scientific calculator in multi-vendor states since the other vendors use scientific.  

ETS does not allow test takers to bring their own calculator to testing.  This cannot be changed.  A four function calculator was written into the policy under the assumption it was preferred by the states and since that is what students have access to in the CBT version. We also didn't want testing centers to have increased expense for purchasing scientific calculators.

Amy Riker
ETS HiSET, National Executive Director 


   2.      HiSET Preparation Chart

Are You Ready to Take the HiSET Exam?

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 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 #6, #8, and #10.

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 on 4/29:  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 Webinar on 4/28

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. ESL:  Testing ESL Students with Low-Literacy Skills in Home Language

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

“…are there any suggestions on ways to accurately assess new students literacy level especially for students with backgrounds such as refugees and immigrants where information in regards to previous schooling is not provided.” Kudos for a well-written question!  It is wonderful that you have been able to determine that your student is actually able to read and write.

If, in the future you need an assessment tool for determining if a student can read or write in his or her language, the Florida Department of Education has a Native Language Screening (NLS) at

The NLS is available in 29 languages. A Scoring Manual is also provided, with instructions for scoring. The purpose of the NLS is to determine if a student is/is not able to read and write in his or her native language. It is one page, with a few simple questions to read and to provide a written response. Somali is not available at the time, unfortunately, but perhaps you can find someone to translate/transcribe it for you. The English version is written at the Low Beginning ESL level.

It starts with 5 one-word prompts asking students for their name, home country, address, telephone, and date of birth. It continues with 4 multi-word prompts, such as: Where were you born? In what year did you come to the United States? How many years did you go to school in your country? It finishes with a prompt asking students to write about their family.

A list of observable behaviors is provided as a guide, such as: facial and body language cues indicating frustration and/or lack of understanding; holding the pen or pencil incorrectly, awkwardly, or too tightly; placing the paper upside down or at an awkward angle, etc. The actual score is based on a rubric with specific indicators, such as: letters are all upper case or all lower case; slant forward and backward; sit above, under or cover the lines; are all strung together with no separation, or are placed far apart from each other.

The FDOE Adult ESOL Program also has a three-level curriculum to teach literacy skills (how to read and write) in English. The web link for the curriculum is The name of the course is “Adult ESOL Literacy Skills.” It starts at the very beginning and ends with the student being able to read and write to the level of entering Level 1 or 2 of ESL. It covers content skill areas, starting with sound discrimination, then reading, writing, listening and speaking. It also has some of the main life skill areas such as communication, health and nutrition, transportation and travel, and employment.

To give credit where it is due, the initial NLS was developed by The Hudson River Center for Program Development, Glenmont, NY, and was published by the State Education Department of New York in 1998 (1999?). A task force of ESL teachers and program directors in Florida adapted it for use with students in their programs, and also wrote the Adult ESOL Literacy curriculum.

One additional resource: LESLLA, Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition for adults, is an international group of language researchers that has resources for teachers. Their website is Their next conference will be held on November 11-13, in St. Augustine, Florida.)

Phil Anderson, Adult ESL Program, Florida Department of Education

9. ESL:  White House Announcement on Immigrant and Refugee Integration Efforts

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

The White House Immigration Team has unveiled their newest efforts to successfully integrate immigrants and refugees into our communities. Please see the announcement below as well as the invitation to participate in a teleconference hosted by the White House Taskforce on New Americans and the USCIS to be held tomorrow, April 21, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern.

These are some exciting initiatives that we all need to know about! There will be a great deal to discuss as we digest this information and consider what it means for our practice.

Susan Finn Miller, Moderator, AELL CoP

<<Today, the Task Force co-chairs, Cecilia Muñoz and León Rodríguez published a blog, Strengthening Communities by Welcoming and Integrating Immigrants and Refugees,  which can also be found in the following languages:

·        Spanish:

·        Korean:

·        Vietnamese:

·        Tagalog:

·        Chinese



We are also proud to announce that our White House landing page is live at or

On the website, you can read the Task Force report, learn more about ongoing Task Force activities, and share your own personal story tool as part of our “Day One:  Your American Story” campaign. If you are interested in volunteering to create more welcoming communities, you can learn about local opportunities by visiting A link to the comprehensive report:

We also encourage you to share these resources and materials with your respective stakeholder lists. Moreover, please follow and join the conversation via social media at:

•         #NewAmericans

•         #NuevosCiudadanos

Lastly, the White House Task Force and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you all to participate in a stakeholder teleconference engagement on Tuesday, April 21, at 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Please see attached invite).

This report represents an important step forward and we greatly look forward to working with all of you as we continue this incredible, rewarding work. Over the next several months, agencies will be reaching out as they implement the Task Force’s 48 recommended actions, and develop additional ideas for action. Administration officials will also be hitting the road and spreading the news of the Task Force’s work. As an example, Jane Chu, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, published a blog, sharing her own personal story and how arts can play a round in the integration of immigrants and refugees. To learn more, see Chairwoman Chu’s blog here: The Arts Connect People and Perspectives by Building Welcoming Communities<>.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The White House Immigration Team<

10. Reading:  Readability

Taken from Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL)


Teachers of effective adult literacy instruction need to pay close attention to the difficulty level of texts. The difficulty level of text should be at the zone of proximal development (ZPD) which is not too difficult nor too easy, but at an intermediate level that slightly pushes the learners’ reading proficiency (Graesser, McNamara, & Kulikowich, 2011). We know that working with younger learners that their competence, motivation, and persistence decline dramatically when reading a text that is too difficult (Fulmer & Frijters, 2011). To aid us in selecting appropriate texts, we rely on a computer system called Coh-Metrix (Graesser & McNamara, 2011Graesser, McNamara, & Kulikowich, 2011).  Graesser and his colleagues developed Coh-Metrix so that researchers and teachers have a way to scale texts on dozens of aspects of language and discourse. Access the Coh-Metrix tool here. If you want to learn more about Coh-Metrix, follow these links: Basic Overview, Advanced Overview, and Quick Reference Guide.

11. 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.

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