Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Montana Information

1. HiSET Blast

Update:  6/8/15

ETS HiSET Practice Tests Webinar

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

12:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time 1 hr


Meeting number:  809 347 173

Meeting Password:  Practice


Join by phone

1-855-749-4750 US TOLL FREE

1-415-655-0001 US TOLL

Access Code:  809 347 173

HiSET® Program eUpdate | April 2015

Test Center Reimbursement

In an effort to be more eco-friendly and expedite payments, ETS is transitioning from paper checks to electronic payments. If your center or organization is currently reimbursed fees via check on a monthly basis, please either complete the Automated Clearing House paperwork that was enclosed with your monthly payment or contact Michele Gregov at


Used Answer Sheet Returns

Please be sure to return all used answer sheets, Supervisor's Irregularity Reports and Center Report Forms to:

Inbound Processing Center
200 Ludlow Drive
Ewing, NJ 08638

Return envelopes and testing materials should not be sent to Pam Cato via the 2014 Test Book Return Options in the UPS account.

Sending answer sheets and testing materials to the incorrect location can delay scoring and risks test security. 

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:



Montana HSE Update: June 2015­­­


HiSET Accommodations Overview for 2014

Response by ETS to Montana Math Instructor Observations

Montana math instructors submitted questions to ETS about the new math HiSET test.

Click here to read ETS response.

Estimate how well prepared you are for the HiSET exam:

HiSET Preparation Materials 2015

Montana HiSET Resources

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 5/9/15.

Check out #7, #8, #9, #10, and #11.

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

5. WIOA Update

5/25/15:  WIOA Comment Period Deadline - June 15

The AEFLA Title II NPRM is available online at  The other four NRPMs are posted on the Federal Register Public Inspection website at  

WIOA Montana Updates:

Click here  to access the following:

Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

6. Career Pathways:  Ability to Benefit - Eligibility for Students Without a Valid High School Diploma Who Are Enrolled in Eligible Career Pathway Programs

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The US Department of Education (ED) announced guidance on student eligibility for Pell Grants and other forms of student financial aid.  Under the Higher Education Act’s “Ability to Benefit” (ATB) provision, federal student aid will be available to those who do not have a high school diploma, if they participate in eligible career pathway programs. You can take a look at ED's  letter, and read how it defines an “eligible” career pathway program and addresses participating students’ eligibility for Title IV student financial aid.


Ability to Benefit

Some information was sent out yesterday about the "New Guidance on the Partial Restoration of the 'Ability to Benefit' Provision for Title IV Federal Financial Aid."  The new law went into effect on Dec. 16, 2014 as the "ability to benefit (ATB) alternatives".  This new provision has the potential to help many students.  Here is an example that was sent out via OCTAE Connections, 

"At age 21, Tony is the oldest of five children in a single parent household.  He had to drop out of high school at age 17 to work full-time in order to help support his younger brothers and sisters. For the next four years he had a succession of minimum wage jobs to help his family make ends meet. This experience reinforced what he had always heard—that in today’s job market there is a need for postsecondary education and training in order to land a good job. So Tony met with an advisor at a local community college to explore his education options. To his dismay, Tony found that he would not be able to receive federal financial aid because he did not have a high school diploma or other high school credential, such as a GED. Discouraged by this news, Tony gave up hope of being able to help his family better its circumstances.

While Tony is only a fictional character, many individuals share his circumstances due to a lack of high school credentials. 

A new Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education provides helpful information on the ATB alternatives.  Key areas highlighted in the letter include:

the definition of an eligible career pathway program that a student must be enrolled in to qualify for the ability to benefit alternative;

ATB alternatives requirements that students must meet;

information regarding the retroactive provisions of the new law; and

the alternative Pell disbursement schedule for students who first qualify for this provision on or after July 1, 2015.

Now imagine a scenario in which Tony has access to ATB alternatives:

Tony went back to the community college and was told he could enroll in a career pathways program and receive Title IV federal financial aid if he met certain prerequisites. He had the option of taking a U.S. Department of Education-approved, independently administered test, or he could pay for and complete at least six credits (or 225 clock hours) counting toward a degree or certificate at the community college. Tony decided to take the test and scored high enough to meet ATB alternatives requirements. He then completed the financial aid application process and was found to be eligible to receive aid. Finally, Tony enrolled in an eligible career pathways program, which included counseling and support services to help him identify and attain his academic and career goals. The program also provided articulated, contextualized (i.e. relevant to his field of study) course sequences that allowed Tony to consistently advance to higher levels of education and employment. It was structured very efficiently—everything Tony studied prepared him to be successful in his new field, as well as to earn industry-recognized credentials and an associate degree. The program was developed in collaboration with local employers in Tony’s field, as well as workforce and economic development partners, and was filling a vital need in Tony’s region. As part of his career pathway, Tony enrolled in and completed an adult education program that helped him prepare to be successful in work and in life."

As noted before, the above is an example, a fictional story to us understand the new ATB alternatives that might benefit students.  There are several factors that are mentioned in the Dear Colleague Letter (linked in the example above).  It is important that all learners read the letter and also speak to the financial aid office for more information.

Are the changes to the ATB something that your learners could use?  If so, please share you stories here so we can all benefit from your own personal experiences.

Brooke Istas

7. ESL:  U.S. Citizenship & Teacher Competencies Discussion

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

From June 22nd to the 24th, the Adult English Language Learners Community of Practice will host a discussion focused on teacher competencies and knowledge for teachers in adult citizenship education programs. Topics may include various examples of teacher competencies, comparing adult citizenship and ESL teacher competencies, organizing competencies into a framework, and using teacher competencies to improve instruction. 

This discussion will be relevant to teachers of citizenship and civics to adult ELLs, those helping eligible Lawful Permanent Residents prepare for the naturalization interview and test, adult ESL teachers, and program administrators. 

Our discussion will be led by Paul Kim and Kelton Williams of US Citizenship and Immigration Service. During the discussion, members will have the opportunity to learn about USCIS and other relevant resource to assist adult education program administrators and teachers in developing teacher competencies for adult citizenship education programs.

Save these dates for the upcoming discussion. We'll look forward to your questions as well as your ideas for best practices related to citizenship education.

More about our guest moderators:

Paul S. Kim, Policy Analyst, Citizenship Education and Training, Office of Citizenship, US Citizenship and Immigration Services

Kelton Williams, Education Program Specialist, Office of Citizenship, US Citizenship and Immigration Services

Note: Office of Citizenship will discuss specific questions and comments on civics education to the extent they fall within the scope of citizenship and/or the office’s capacity to respond to such.

8. Instruction:  Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning – Coming soon!

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy 

The LINCS Learning Portal houses self-paced, freely accessible online courses developed by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education-funded initiativesThe LINCS project will be releasing an online course entitled Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning this summer. An announcement will be made when the course is live on the Learning Portal. Please disregard this post until the course is live.

9. Math:  Getting Engagement

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy 

I just read Marilyn Burns' blog at  and she talks about two really similar lessons -- one which worked, and one which didn't. 

In the first, she gave students a problem (99 + 17) and had them mentally figure it out, and then asked them what they'd done, and recorded several of the strategies.   Then they watched videos of other students, and matched the strategies they saw with the strategies people had talked about.   

10. Math:  Understanding the Line on a Line Graph as Representing a Relationship

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy 

Check out this interactive NY Times article.

11. Writing:  Student Writing and Anxiety

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy 

Cynthia Zaftt just passed on this article for us to consider here. Everyone knows about math anxiety. How about writing or, simply, general anxiety as a real issue in student achievement? If you take the poll this week, you will notice that on the list of issues posted. (A couple of you, Anne and Jane, have completed the poll. Hope others will follow suit!)

John Warner, author, says, "Increasingly, I think there’s a barrier I haven’t previously considered that needs addressing if my students are going to succeed: anxiety.

"As reported by Jan Hoffman in The New York Times, the national survey of the American College Health Association finds that 1 of every 6 college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety within the last 12 months."

Mr. Warners continues, "I believe that writing courses are perhaps ideally positioned to address these issues." He follows with eight propositions on implementing writing practices to overcome anxiety and considers additional practices to add to the list.

You may access the full article on the Insider ED blog at

How about it? Any comments from you pros out there? Do you recognize and deal with anxiety among all levels of adult ed?  Have you implemented practices that work to ease student anxiety? Do diverse students deal more with this issue than those who "fit the mold" better?

Leecy Wise

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