Montana LINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS


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Montana Information

1.    HiSET Blast

July Update Directly from ETS:  Montana in the News with HiSET Success

New Resource Available

ETS has developed a quick reference Job Aid that can be used by testing centers, test takers, Test Taker Services and Test Administration Services to help guide students as they create their HiSET profiles. You can access the HiSET Quick Reference Guides for Registration and Scheduling for Test Takers (PDF) and for Test Center Staff (PDF) to print and hang in your centers for use.


Test Center Reminders

Please make sure you choose the appropriate status (Checked In/Could Not Test/No Show) for test takers by 11:59 p.m. ET each day.

A few helpful examples on appropriate status:

        If a test taker shows up with invalid ID and is turned away from testing, they should be considered a "No Show" in the system, as they did not show up prepared.

        If a test taker is unable to test due to a facilities issue, their status should be "Could Not Test," as the situation was out of the test taker's control and would not impact their eligibility to schedule a new appointment.

Test Administration Services

For CBT Centers:

        Please double check to make sure you are launching a live exam to a candidate's workstation and not a demo exam.

        Demo exams cannot be scored and will result in a test taker needing to reschedule and come back to test again.

For PBT Centers:

        If you fill out answer sheets prior to test-takers' arrival to expedite the check-in process, please ensure the form on the test book given to the test taker matches the form that was entered on the answer sheet as well as the form that is assigned in the HiSET portal. Any discrepancies in these three can cause an inaccurate score to be processed for a test taker.

        Also remember that answer sheets should be completely filled out in pencil.

        All test takers, even PBT test takers, must have an appointment in the system to link their answer sheets to. Please make sure that you are scheduling appointments in the portal for all test takers.


Save the Date — ETS HiSET Conference



December 1–4, 2014


The Venetian Las Vegas
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

HiSET Success:  Montana

After struggling in a traditional high school environment, Zech Estenson enrolled in an alternative program, Youth Build, at the Career Training Institute in Helena, Mont. He successfully passed the HiSET exam which led to his current employment at Carroll College. Read more about Mr. Estenson's Success Story (PDF).

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.

For more information about the HiSET program, contact us.

Phone toll-free:



Information Posted in July

Most Current Information from ETS about Raw Score Change:  7/10/14

Conversion Charts for Practice Tests: 

The conversion charts for the HiSET practice tests are in the process of being adjusted.  Stay tuned!

1.   Effective date on the score conversion is July 14th, for all tests scheduled to take place on or after July 14th.  If PBT answer sheets are received on or after July 14th, they would be held to the original score tables.

2.   Test Centers cannot complete the process outlined in the TCA Notification prior to Monday, July 14th. It would be a futile effort, as the upload will be finalized late Sunday night.  Essentially, a test center would end up running the original package, and not the update, causing disruption.

3.   Customer Service is conducting outbound outreach calls to ensure CEs received the notification, read the notification and understand the process as outlined in the notification.  Their first priority are test centers scheduled to test on July 14th.  This effort will continue until they’ve connected with all of our test centers.

4.   Unofficial scores will not be reported at the end of the testing until after Wednesday, July 16th.  This IS temporary.  Unofficial score reporting will resume after the upload is complete and verified.


ETS statement on HiSET Standards Setting Governing Board  

Educational Testing Service is committed to the provision of a high quality, effective High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). To achieve this goal, we have partnered with the adult-education administration in states that use HiSET. ETS has appointed a HiSET Governing Board to help us set overall direction for the program, including the setting of standards for performance through a systematic and established standards review process.  The Governing Board has a senior-level representative from each state administering HiSET.

ETS conducted a HiSET standard setting in April 2014 which included educators from classrooms in 11th and 12th grade, adult education, and correctional facilities across the country.  The standard setting panel provided a performance standard recommendation for each of the subject areas.  In June 2014, the Governing Board met and reviewed these recommendations along with information about the current standards and test-taker performance to date.  As a result of this review, the Governing Board recommended to ETS an adjusted passing score, which ETS accepted and will implement by August 2014. While the passing scaled score will remain the same, the raw score on each test that maps to that scaled score will change.  

The adoption of a revised passing score is consistent with HiSET’s commitment to a phased approach to increased rigor over time.  The ETS HiSET program is a partnership with our states and continues to meet changing expectations for high school graduates and what is needed to enter the workforce or college.


Montana Note: 

Above is a an official statement from ETS regarding the scale score change scheduled for HiSET. I was honored to be part of the Governing Board meeting, and I can assure you this decision was made with careful consideration of the standards setting panel recommendations and state policies. All HiSET states had representation at the Board meeting. It was inspiring to see the ETS and state commitment to adult students.

Please call me (Margaret Bowles) if you have any questions.

Margaret Bowles, State HiSET Administrator

2.     Montana ABLE Fall Conference and Career Pathways Initiative 2014:  September 22 - 23

NOTICE:  Change of Location!!!


2301 Colonial Drive

Helena, MT 59601


Please call the hotel at 443-2100 and book your sleeping room.  You can also book on line at  using the online booking code ADUL0921.  The block of rooms are under OPI – Adult Education.  Reservations for the sleeping rooms need to be reserved by August 22, 2014.

For more information, contact Carol Flynn. 


         Working with our Career Pathway Coaches

         HiSET Information

         Reauthorization Updates and MUCH, MUCH MORE

3.    Montana Moving Pathways Forward:  Watch for Survey

As indicated in the SAVE THE DATE notice about the fall conference, one of the highlights of our September conference will be the launch of Montana’s Moving Pathways Forward Project. Our project coaches, Judy Alamprese and Becky Dyer, will be flying in from Washington D.C., to provide a framework to begin action steps that will further integrate adult basic education into the broader pathways system development. It is important that they understand the current range of activities in the state to help determine their preliminary work with you. Within the next three-to-four weeks you will be receiving a survey for you and key staff members to complete.

We are fortunate to be working with Judy and Becky, as all the project activities are going to assist you writing your application to be a provider under the new law. All of our upcoming project work coincides with the new law; interagency, pathway work is the heart of the new legislation.

We are so fortunate to be among the 14 states getting ahead of the curve. Watch for the survey!

Margaret Bowles, Montana ABLE Director

4.   Montana Career Pathways Resource

Click here to access a good Pathways resources:  Career News from Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

5.   Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Signed into Law

Stay tuned for more information!

National Information

6.  Career Pathways:  A New Approach to Job Training

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Gail Cope, SME LINCS Program Management Group, … came across a recent article on the Community College Daily website which describes a new approach that connects federal job training with available jobs.  The article also describes elements of a 'job-driven training checklist', many of which have already been implemented in workforce development programs and complement WIOA provisions. See an excerpt from the article below which highlights the checklist and provides a link to Vice President Biden's report (Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity) for improving job training programs: 

"On the same day that President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) — which reauthorizes federal job training legislation — Vice President Joe Biden released a report on improving job training programs that calls for closer relationships among workforce stakeholders, including better organization among federal agencies with training programs. The report also presents a “job-driven training checklist” to ensure quality programs offer a pathway to available jobs. That list includes:

        Engaging employers to determine local hiring needs and designing training programs for those needs.

        Offering work-based learning opportunities with employers — such as on-the-job training, internships and apprenticeships — that lead to employment.

        Using data better to drive accountability, including providing user-friendly information for job seekers to select programs and pathways that work for them. 

        Measuring and evaluating employment and earnings outcomes.

        Promoting a seamless progression across work-based training and education.

        Coordinating employers, education and training providers, economic development agencies and other public and private entities to better leverage resources."

To access the full article, follow this link: 

7.  Career Pathways Resource:  Texas Competency Library Database of Detailed Work Activities

Taken from OCTAE Career Pathways

The Texas State Technical College System Center for Employability Outcomes (C4EO) has recently launched a new initiative, the Competency Library. It is “a continuously updated database of descriptive statements about what workers need to know and be able to do in their jobs.

Expressed in a common skills-based language, the statements are meaningful to business and industry, education and training providers, policy makers and the taxpayers they represent. The descriptive statements are intended to improve transparency in the talent pipeline from career exploration and training to job placement and career advancement.”!skills-library/ce9c

The library uses more than 3,000 “Detailed Work Activities” (DWAs) instead of competencies. These are searchable using natural language processing that allows a user to pose plain language questions, I suppose like “What are the most frequent daily activities of a phlebotomist?” The DWAs try to strike a balance between abstraction and granularity, and apparently “can be configured to describe roughly 900 occupations.”

This is a potentially valuable tool to help students/trainees/clients better understand the activities of positions they might be interested in. It could also help developers of training courses in community colleges and community-based organizations better align their curricula with what local employers need. Ultimately it could better align the needs of employers with workforce development.

Although its focus is on work in Texas, if it is successful other states might be interested in this model.

For more information see this EdSurge Blog article

David J. Rosen

8.  Common Core:  Discussion Continues

Taken from LINCS Assessment

Click here to access the continued discussion regarding Common Core. 

Snippet #1

… One of the questions we wrestled with in our Job Corps project in trades was whether the formative assessment should be lesson or unit specific for the content or we should take a larger view and consider the global course content. In the end we settled on the global course content as a focus of the items. The rationale was that when students completed the course(s), they needed to pass a certification exam. By continuing to test their knowledge of the course content, they were better prepared. The general global measure provided a continuous review of the content.

Also, since they would see test items for which they had not yet been taught, they were cued to recognize that new content was forthcoming. One might think of the test items as providing an "advance organizer."

Daryl Mellard

Snippet #2

K-W-L, formative assessment, & advance organizers

Hi Daryl and all, You suggested that getting a preview of test items served as a sort of advance organizer for students, i.e., they were cued to pay attention to certain information in the material they'd be learning next. A classic advance organizer teachers use to introduce a new lesson is the K-W-L, where students identify things they Know, things they Want to know, and then at the conclusion of the lesson, what they Learned. Some teachers add a column for learners to confirm what they thought they knew, so they can correct any previous misconceptions. The Learn column offers teachers and students a good way to summarize and reflect on what was learned from the lesson.

K-W-L is a useful tool to solicit learners' prior knowledge on a topic. It can be effective as both an advance organizer and a formative assessment tool …

Susan Finnmiller

Click here for an example of a KWL chart posted on MTLINCS.

9.  Corrections:  Webinar - Opportunities for Implementing New Technology Solutions within Secure Classrooms

Taken from LINCS Corrections Education

Please join us in the Correctional Education group to participate in this special discussion.  Your participation will provide valuable input for an issue brief on using web based services in correctional classrooms. We look forward to talking to you!

Click here to access the discussion.  Here are some snippets below of the discussion.

Snippet #1

I am working on a project with the Illinois Department of Corrections deploying an internet-based curriculum in 33 institutions around the state. We have been piloting this deployment in 7 institutions since December 2013.

We revised our internet-based GED/HiSET prep curriculum, i-Pathways (, to make it more corrections friendly (secure), which means we took out the links to the broader internet resources, disable the email functions, etc. To connect to the 33 institutions, we carved out a secure network within the institutions and then using similar technology created a secure connection to the servers in our central data center. Essentially, we created a very large local area network (LAN) utilizing the internet.

In the GED classrooms, students can only access the i-Pathways website, but that includes all of its resources. Currently that includes pre-GED and GED instruction, and a consumer education module. But, we will be able to add other instructional components as they are identified and developed, and then will be available in the classroom. Our curriculum is aligned with the GED test and gives students a chance to work through this new rigorous curriculum in technology similar to what they will see when they take the test.


Snippet #2

It sounds like Virginia is much like our facilities in Vermont. Many of our classrooms have SMART boards and all our instructors have access to the Internet. Several of our instructors will connect their Internet-capable computers to the SMART board to bring the Internet into the classroom. All of our instructors use a USB drive in one way or another to bring additional materials into the classroom.

Dan Hescock

10.  LINCS Change:  Merging LINCS Accounts

Taken from LINCS Notice

We are pleased to announce that two weeks from now, on August 4, the log in process for the LINCS Community will be merged with the log in process for the LINCS Learning Portal, which houses LINCS’ online professional development courses.

This is a great improvement to LINCS, since now you will only have to remember one username/password combination for logging into both the LINCS Community and the LINCS Learning Portal. And if you’re new to either the Community or the Learning Portal, your existing account will grant you access to both of these resources.

After this technical update is complete on August 4, you will need to take the following actions to access the Community or the Learning Portal. Rest assured that we will guide you along the way. We will be communicating with you regularly until this merge takes place.

Starting August 5,

         All users will be required to change their passwords before they are able to log in to either the LINCS Community or the LINCS Learning Portal.

         Users will be required to log in with the email address associated with their account, rather than their Community username.

This change will make the log in process simpler for our many users who use both the LINCS Community and the LINCS Learning Portal, and will make it easier for brand-new users of either resource to access all of the high-quality professional development opportunities that LINCS has to offer.

As we approach this log in merge, please don’t hesitate to contact us at if you have questions about this process.

The LINCS Community Team

11.  Math:  LINCS Math & Numeracy Group Webinar on Statistics for Action Now Archived

Taken from LINCS Notice

For those of you who were unable to catch the webinar, you can access a recording of the webinar here: After you watch the webinar, we invite you to continue the conversation in this thread with our guest presenters: Selene Gonzalez-Carrillo and Martha Merson.

The LINCS Community Team

12.  Technology:  Twitter

Taken from LINCS, etc.


13 relevant, authentic themes to teach adults at any age w/ special focus on elder learners →  #AdultEd


Have you checked out the free Integrating #Technology in #AdultEd course from LINCS? Expand your knowledge today! @HiSET_ETS    Jul 25

Indicators found as early as 8th grade for those who at risk of dropping out of HS -click hastag to read more - #ETSResearch

World Ed - USA @WorldEdUS    Aug 1

Fall #teacherpd: College Readiness for Adults starts October 23. Be the first to register! #adulted #elearning

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