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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

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 #7, #8, and #11.

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

5. WIOA Update:  WIOA Timeline

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: 

More information below in Posting #12

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. Career Pathways:  Stem Education - Is the focus on STEM education the best thing for our students?

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Yesterday, I read the following article in the Washington Post, titled "Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous"  

I encourage you to read it, and consider the author's arguments.  Here are a few of the highlights that stuck out to me as worthy of consideration.

"The most recent international test, conducted in 2012, found that among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked 27th in math, 20th in science and 17th in reading. If rankings across the three subjects are averaged, the United States comes in 21st..."

"Since 1964, when the first such exam was administered to 13-year-olds in 12 countries, America has lagged behind its peers, rarely rising above the middle of the pack and doing particularly poorly in science and math."

Sweden and Israel performed even worse than the United States on the 2012 assessment, landing overall at 28th and 29th, respectively, among the 34 most-developed economies.

"... [O]ther than bad test-takers, (the U.S. and others') economies have a few important traits in common: They are flexible. Their work cultures are non-hierarchical and merit-based. All operate like young countries, with energy and dynamism. All three are open societies, happy to let in the world’s ideas, goods and services. And people in all three nations are confident — a characteristic that can be measured. Despite ranking 27th and 30th in math, respectively, American and Israeli students came out at the top in their belief in their math abilities, if one tallies up their responses to survey questions about their skills. Sweden came in seventh, even though its math ranking was 28th."

"Thirty years ago, William Bennett, the Reagan-era secretary of education, noticed this disparity between achievement and confidence and quipped, “This country is a lot better at teaching self-esteem than it is at teaching math.” It’s a funny line, but there is actually something powerful in the plucky confidence of American, Swedish and Israeli students. It allows them to challenge their elders, start companies, persist when others think they are wrong and pick themselves up when they fail. Too much confidence runs the risk of self-delusion, but the trait is an essential ingredient for entrepreneurship."

What are your thoughts on the idea that as a country, we may not perform well on standardized tests of math and science, but we teach our students to be self-confident learners?  What about William Bennett's comment on teaching self-esteem - does it have a place in our conversation on STEM-education?  How do STEM programs in your area reflect - or not - the idea that we are teaching not just proficiency and skill, but confidence and belief in our abilities?

Mike Cruse

7. Career Pathways:  The Pathway to Success: A Story of Inspiration

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Looking for an inspirational story which shows that career pathways are possible for all students?  The U.S. Department of Education's blog, Homeroom, recently published "The Pathway to Success at King/Drew Magnet High School"  

Here is a short description:

The students at King/Drew Magnet High School in Los Angeles, California, are reaching new heights because of the high standards set by teachers. In one of the most economically challenged areas of the country, teachers are engaging their students through creative, meaningful work to prepare them for college and careers. Student not only graduate in high numbers, fully 90% of those who graduate are going on to college, including many of the country’s top schools.

Read the full story, and watch a powerful video produced with the teachers and students of King Drew, online:

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

Taken from LINCS Notice

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

Event Type: Online Discussion

Date(s): April 6-10, 2015

Mark your calendars!

From April 6-10, 2015, the College and Career Standards group will host special guests Meesha Brown, Rachel Etienne, and Jane Roy in a lively discussion exploring newly available professional development materials available on LINCS.

Meesha Brown is an educational consultant and ELA/literacy coach for OCTAE’s Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education project. Ms. Brown’s work as a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator has involved supporting diverse learners, including English language learners, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students. She was the Director of Literacy for New York City public schools and taught middle school English language arts in public schools in New York City and Midland, TX. As Director of Literacy for New York City public schools, Ms. Brown helped to pilot Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation efforts focused on cross-disciplinary literacy demands of the Common Core, created and curated resources for the New York City Common Core Library, and led CCSS adult learning sessions for instructional coaches and teachers as part of the New York City Department of Education’s Children First Initiative.

Rachel Etienne is an ELA/literacy professional development specialist and ELA/literacy coach for OCTAE’s Implementing College and Career Readiness Standards project. She has created and curated online curriculum resources for educators, led professional development in literacy for instructional leaders, and coordinated teams of researchers and teachers to disseminate best practices in literacy instruction. Her current work involves providing high-quality professional development services to schools, districts, states, and professional organizations in order to improve teachers’ content knowledge and classroom effectiveness while implementing the CCSS. Mrs. Etienne formerly worked as a classroom teacher and literacy coach for the New York City Department of Education, the Archdiocese of New York, and several nationally recognized charter school organizations.

Jane Roy is an instructor at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, where she teaches courses on applied linguistics and ESL teaching methods. She has also taught courses on basic writing and advanced composition. Since September 2013, she has been a national ELA/literacy coach for OCTAE’s Implementing College and Career Readiness Standards project, for which she also leads the assembly of online resources.  Ms. Roy has 18 years of experience in education, working with low-income adults, non-native English speakers, and first-generation college students. She has experience in program management, curriculum development, and teacher training and support regarding ESL in the U.S. and overseas. Ms. Roy has developed English proficiency assessment tests and facilitated professional development workshops for state and national initiatives.

9. 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

10. Health Literacy:  Resources for Finding Online Health Info

Taken from LINCS Health Literacy

Here are a few resources to help students learn how to find reliable health information online:

·        Evaluating Internet Health Information: Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine

·        Finding Good Health Information on the Internet

·        Who Can You Trust? Health Information and The Internet: Curriculum Sourcebook

The last one--the Curriculum Sourcebook--includes three lessons written for adult learners.

Julie McKinney 

11. Technology:  New Study on How Adult Ed Practitioners Feel about Using Technology

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

The first part of the results of a national survey of adult education administrators, teachers and others, "Learning for Life:The Opportunity for Technology to Transform Adult Education, Part 1: Interest in and Aptitude for Technology " is now available. Take a look at this Press Release, and read the report at

Funded by the Joyce Foundation, and carried out by Tyton Partners in collaboration with COABE, the survey (which you may have participated in a few months ago) finds that:

One of the purposes of the study appears to be to get developers of education software to pay more attention to adult education market. I found this in the Call to Action intriguing:

12. WIOA:  Updates and Resources

Taken from LINCS Program Management

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: 

from the website:

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act

Resources will be posted here to assist stakeholders in understanding key provisions and changes in Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act of WIOA. Bookmark this page for forthcoming information.

WIOA Topical Fact Sheets Updated

·       Corrections Education [PDF, 307KB]

·       English Language Acquisition [PDF, 274KB]

·       Essential Components of Reading [PDF, 279KB]

·       Integrating Technology [PDF, 315KB]

·       Making Skills Everyone's Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States [PDF, 972K] Updated

·       Making Skills Everyone's Business (Executive Summary) [PDF, 2MB]

·       Making Skills Everyone's Business: Overview slide presentation [PPT, 2MB] Updated

See an OCTAE Connection newsletter announcing the release of the report, which includes a link to a video recorded statement by Acting Assistant Secretary Johan E. Uvin.

·       Overview of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title II AEFLA [PDF, 572K]

·       WIOA Key Implementation Dates [PDF, 361K]

·       Program Memo on Tydings Amendment [PDF, 184K]

·       Empowering Today's Economy by Training Tomorrow's Workforce (blog post welcoming comments from employers)

Issue-specific fact sheets (coming soon)

Gail Cope

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