Greetings from Montana LINCS

Having trouble with this email?  Click here for MTLINCS Email for 1/11/16.

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Go to the Email Archives in the upper left-hand corner on the home page at

Information overload?

One of the purposes of MTLINCS is to provide you with not only state information but also snippets from national discussions.  Do not be overwhelmed.  Just quickly scroll through the list of items to see what may be pertinent or interesting to you.

Montana Information

National Information:  *WIOA Items

HiSET Information

Montana Information

1. Montana ABLE Meetings

Click here to access information about the following February Montana ABLE Meetings:

·       Bring Your A Game to Work

·       Pilot Project Meeting

2. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.  Logic Model and Contextualized Templates now posted.

3. 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 12/14/15.

4. WIOA Update

12/14/15:  WIOA Graphic

How Performance Data Works

WIOA Montana Updates:

Click here  to access the following:   Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

9/7/15:  WIOA Kickoff Follow-up

Presentations posted on DLI website: under Data and Publications.

National Information

5.  Apprenticeships:  Pre-Apprenticeship Resources

Taken from Workforce3 One January 2016 Newsletter

The Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has just released a suite of exciting new Pre-Apprenticeship resources! OA recently launched a Pre-Apprenticeship webpage and a just-issued downloadable guide designed to support your efforts to expand quality pre-apprenticeship programs and opportunities for women. The Pre-Apprenticeship: Pathways for Women into High-Wage Careers assists community-based organizations and workforce practitioners that help women enter apprenticeships in non-traditional career fields.  Within the guide, you will find resources that provide effective strategies and practices used by successful pre-apprenticeship programs for women in nontraditional occupations.

Whether you are looking to establish new partnerships or help with your current recruitment and retention strategies, the Pre-Apprenticeship webpage provides resources to help facilitate and jump start some of those important conversations. Additional tools and resources can also be found within the web page by clicking on Pre-Apprenticeship Tools and Resources. For more information on Pre-Apprenticeship, please read Training and Employment Notice 13-12.

*6. Career Pathways:  Connecting Credentials Webinars in 2016

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Beginning in January 2016, the Connecting Credentials Initiative is co-hosting several interactive webinars featuring credentialing innovations across the U.S. These webinars will increase viewer's understanding of credentials and promote further discussion to better connect different credential systems. 

These webinars will focus on the five topics below:

·        Developing common language to serve as the basis for a connected credentialing system;

·        Using real-time data and technology to empower credential users and create continuous feedback mechanisms;

·        Creating nimble end-to-end quality assurance processes to support portability and trust of credentials;

·        Creating scalable employer engagement approaches to improve demand signals and increase relevance and currency of credentials; and,

·        Creating flexible credentialing pathways leading to family-sustaining job to increase equity.

You can register for these free webinars, using the links below: 

·        New Approaches for Scaling Employer Engagement with Credentials 

o   January 8, 2016 1:00-2:30 pm EST

·        Innovations in Credit for Prior Learning

o   January 22, 2016 1:00-2:30 pm EST

·        Flexible Credentialing Pathways Leading to Family-Sustaining Jobs

o   February 11, 2016 2:00-3:30 pm EST

·        Developing a Common Language for Connecting Credentials

o   February 19, 2016 1:00-2:30 pm EST

Mike Cruse

7. Disabilities:  Learning Disabilities Association of America:  Tools for Life App Finder

Taken from LINCS Disabilities in Education

The Tools for Life AppFinder database makes searching for apps a whole lot easier. The Tools for Life AppFinder was created by the Georgia Assistive Technology Project, part of the Georgia Institute of Technology, AMAC Accessibility Department, and offers hundreds of apps for living, learning, and working.  The App fact sheet is a downloadable PDF accompanying the online resource, which can be used to:

·        Search for apps by disability or multiple disabilities, price ranges and device types.

·        See reviews and comments from apps users across the country to help you make informed decisions before purchasing and using an app.

·        Get links to other app databases that were designed for specific disabilities.

·        Every Tools for Life AppFinder app has been used and/or tested by one or more members of the Tools for Life team along with many of our peers from across the country.

Mike Cruse

8. Financial Literacy:  Webinar – Financial Literacy for a Brighter Future – January 14

Taken from LINCS Financial Literacy

We are delighted to bring you the 11th webinar in the “Enough is Known for Action” series for the youth community, hosted by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Division of Youth Services and Regional Offices, to inspire strategic planning and action in the early stages of implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  The full series is available here. This webinar is a broader topic that’s important for youth and adults - financial literacy.

We are starting 2016 by asking everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to saving!  This webinar will feature America Saves, an organization that promotes and encourages saving among youth and adults, who will share their tips on saving. You will hear testimonials from individual savers that have taken the savings pledge, set savings goals, and developed a plan for saving money against those goals. America Saves provides resources to support low- and moderate-income individuals to reach their savings goals. Discover how important it is to save and the impact of not saving. Learn also how organizations can promote automatic savings for their staff during America Saves Week, February 22 – 27, 2016, an annual opportunity for Americans to assess their financial condition and take positive financial action with the support of thousands of organizations. You will also hear highlights about WIOA’s financial literacy focus, and ETA’s work to provide assistance to the workforce system in offering financial literacy education to youth in 25 cities.

In addition, you will learn about the training tool developed with the youth initiative partners, which teaches organizations how to assess their capability and integrate financial literacy into existing programs as well as other resources and tools.

Finally, the Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) will offer a view of financial literacy from a disability perspective. ODEP will share their research and the national work they have done with American Job Centers on this topic. So, who is ready to make the resolution to join us on January 14th for a brighter financial future?


George Barany, Director of Finance, America Saves

Christopher Button Ph.D., Supervisory Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability and Employment Policy

Michael Morris, JD, Executive Director, National Disability Institute

Jennifer Kemp, Unit Chief, Youth Policy and Performance, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Moderator:  Renee Browne, Workforce Development Specialist, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration


January 14, 2015


2:00pm ET (1:00pm/Central, 12:00pm/Mountain, 11:00am/Pacific)


90 minutes

Registration for this webinar is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register today!

Register Now


9. Graduation Rates:  Graduation Rates for 2-year Institutions Better When Viewed at 4-year Point

Taken from LINCS Postsecondary Completion

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a "First Look" report on postsecondary on graduation rates and financial aid for selected cohorts of students, 2006-2011.  One of the highlighted findings: "When the time students were tracked for program completion was extended from within 100 percent of normal time to within 200 percent of normal time, graduation rates for undergraduates who were full-time, first-time students in 2010 increased from18 percent to 36 percent at 2-year institutions and from 38 percent to 67 percent at less-than-2-year institutions" (see Table 2).  This study would capture adult education students who begin postsecondary education as full-time students.  For many adults with family and work obligations, part-time attendance in postsecondary education may be more likely at the start.

Cynthia Zafft

*10. Instruction:  Digital Divide - Is the Digital Divide now Widening, no longer Narrowing?

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

An interesting discussion is taking place based upon David Rosen’s post at :

A new Pew Research Center Report, Home Broadband 2015, by John B. Horrigan and Maeve Duggan, finds that "The share of Americans with broadband at home has plateaued, and more rely on their smartphones for online access.... It now stands at 67% of Americans, down slightly from 70% in 2013, a small but statistically significant difference which could represent a blip or might be a more prolonged reality. This change moves home broadband adoption to where it was in 2012."

One post by Edward Latham discussed curriculum:

2. We need to change the focus of education, including adult education, from teaching to tests -- some of which are sorely outdated -- and teaching from curriculum that have not changed significantly in decades to teaching important skills that adult learners need to know for their own and their family’s success. If we really explore what these "real life" skills are, we might find a significant variance from what our curriculum suggest as "must learn" topics …

… If we can't create or find a current, valid list of key topics, what then do we concentrate on? This is where my thinking shifts gears a bit to a second lens of "what could be". Most of our focus on what to teach has come from studies and from what publishers choose to sell us. Those two sources have not even agreed over the last three decades. Add in state standards and we now have another set of suggestions to juggle around. I personally feel the College and Career Readiness Standards are the best set of standards that have been developed from the perspective of how mathematical thinking can be easily built upon throughout a learner's development. So the standard would be part of the equation, but I would use them as a sort of "What thinking do we wish to develop and see" list. As to what we teach, I would turn our focus to College and Career Readiness efforts. I am consistently finding more educational success when I start with helping learners explore their passions and goals (short and long) and use those passions and goals as the medium of our work together. I use the standards as a sort of check list (very loosely at this time as I develop better recording tools) as the learner and I explore their passions/goals more and more.

Are any of you referring to the College and Career Readiness Standards when you teach?

*11. Instruction:  Lesson Plans for Real World Activities

Taken from LINCS Postsecondary Completion

Even though this states the students are prepping for the GED, these ideas can transfer to HiSET prep.

Florida’s Institute for Professional Development of Adult Educators has a series of lesson plans and other resources for teachers working with students preparing for the GED®.  One that caught my eye is a math lesson on choosing a cellphone plan (also helpful for others looking for real-life algebra problems).  Considering the cost and difficulty of choosing a plan and the large number of people with cellphones (Pew Research Center: Cellphones, Computers Most Commonly Owned Devices)

Cynthia Zafft

*12. Instruction:  Vocabulary - Four Practical Principles for Enhancing Vocabulary Instruction

Taken from LINCS College and Career Standards

Some of you are, no doubt, familiar with the Reading Rockets website, which is chock full of useful resources related to teaching reading for K12 teachers. In fact, I have found that much of the information at this site is also relevant to our work in adult education, too.

We have noted previously that a number of the College and Career Readiness Standards emphasize the importance of vocabulary. The following standards mention vocabulary explicitly.

•Reading 1.C

•Reading 4.A, B, C, D

•Language 4.A, B, C, D

•Language 5.A, B, C

•Language 6.A, B, C, D


A recent Reading Rockets blog by Patrick Manyak, Heather Von Gunten, David Autenrieth, Carolyn Gillis, Julie Mastre-O'Farrell , et al.highlighted Four Practical Principles for Enhancing Vocabulary Instruction. I'm copying the four principles below. Check out the entire article for further details.

  1. "Establish Efficient yet Rich Routines for Introducing Target Words
    Intensive, multifaceted vocabulary instruction can take a significant amount of instructional time. Thus, efficient, rich routines for introducing word meanings are critical when teaching a large number of target words.
  2. Provide Review Experiences That Promote Deep Processing of Target Words
    In addition to the need for efficiency in target word instruction, students benefit from active and deep processing of word meanings. Ongoing review should be used to provide students with multiple exposures to target words and to promote deep processing.
  3. Respond Directly to Student Confusion by Using Anchor Experiences
    Students can easily become confused when learning new word meanings. Such confusion can spread from student to student, and teachers should thus respond directly to inaccurate usages by providing students with clear anchor definitions and examples.
  4. Foster Universal Participation and Accountability
    Students with greater vocabulary knowledge can dominate word-meaning instruction, causing other students to become passive. Therefore, it is important to foster universal participation in vocabulary activities and to hold all students accountable for learning word meanings."

Susan Finnmiller

*13. Instruction:  Vocabulary - GSL, AWL, now ACL:  Prioritizing Vocabulary Instruction

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Given the vast number of words in the English language, how can we prioritize the vocabulary we devote precious classroom time to? It makes good sense to focus instruction on words and expressions that have high currency, i.e., the most common words and phrases in English. Many of you are familiar with both the General Service List (GSL), the most common words in English, as well as the Academic Word List, which was developed through corpus studies conducted by Averil Coxhead and first published in 2000 featuring the 570 most common academic words used across academic disciplines.

Did you know there is a New General Service List? The original GSL was compiled in 1953 by Michael West. This new GSL, also based on corpus studies, was first published in 2013 by Charles Browne, Brent Culligan and Joseph Phillips. AELL community members may want to check out the new GSL, which updates and expands upon the original one. The original GSL featured 1,964 word families, and the NGSL highlights 2,368.

I recently learned that there is now an Academic Collocations List available, too. Collocations are words that frequently appear together. For instance, the word literal is most commonly used as follows: literal interpretation, literal meaning, and literal sense. When we teach the word literal, we would be wise to include these examples since these expressions are the ones students are most likely to encounter.

Some members might be interested in learning a bit more about the Academic Collocations List as well as gaining some ideas for teaching collocations. You can check out this Lexicallab blog on "The Lexical Approach and Natural Selection."

14.  Math:  Pass Rates for Math Section on GED and HiSET

Taken from LINCS Math and Numeracy

Post #1

Pennsylvania exclusively uses the GED, so I cannot speak to the HSET.  The GED math is a rigorous test that includes bits of trig and calculus.  The majority of our students are taking the GED in order to get find employment.  They are not college bound.  For those that are seeking further education, the GED is appropriate. For those seeking employment,  the math section is inappropriate, and I would guess many high school seniors may have difficulty passing it.

There should be a choice of tests in each state.  The GED math is definitely challenging, and it is the one section our students have difficulty passing.  We also have problems with the Practice Exam scores matching the GED scores.  Practice scores are much higher giving the students false hope.

Beverly Strayer

Post #2

My school exclusively uses the GED test for HSE. After a rough start, we have had 3 people earn their GED this year, all of them by passing the math exam. This change occurred after a year of having student get a 148 or 149. All I can think of at the moment is that students started paying attention to the little mistakes. I know that we change the pace and the units of what was covered for the math exam. I also know that we used and still use a lot of different websites and supplemental materials. 

We use the GED Academy, MyFoundationsLab (both the regular and GED courses), as well as the Steck-Vaughn books (both the student version and the workbook version). Then during direct instruction, there are more supplemental materials given as needed. We have a couple more students scheduled to take the math exam this month and then from there I can begin to have enough data points to narrow down what the actual trigger is. 

Alfons Prince

Post #3

Like the others, I have no comparison data, but I do have an observation on the TASC test, the most popular of the 3 here in New Jersey,  Many students fail math on the first try, but then pass it after a period of intense concentration on the subject.  Generally they need to put in a lot of time outside of class, but I just had 3 women pass who did exactly this. An historical note is that this often happened in the old GED.

Jane Kelly

15:  WIOA:  Department of Labor Seeks Comments on WIOA-related Information Collection

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The Department of Labor, in coordination with the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development have announced the joint information collection request soliciting comments concerning data collection that will be used for Unified and Combined State Plans under WIOA.

The Office of Management and Budget is seeking comment through January 22, 2016 on the proposed WIOA State Plan Information collection. A copy of the Federal Register Notice, proposed information collection request and supplement, and supporting statement can be accessed here.

HiSET Information

HiSET® December 2015 Newsletter

The HiSET® program would like to extend warm holiday wishes to everyone during this special time of year. As we complete our second full year of testing, we are excited to be providing a more affordable and accessible option to states. We owe our success to all of the states and territories that have adopted the HiSET exam, and we couldn't have done it without your unwavering support. As we move into 2016, we are eager to build upon the success of 2015 and work with new states that seek alternative high school equivalency testing. Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year!

Enterprise Data Manager

Our Enterprise Data Manager resource was launched on December 11, 2015. All test center administrators have access to this resource from the HiSET portal once they log into the system. We also have provided a link within the portal to a user guide that explains all the features of this new resource. We will present a webinar in the near future to demonstrate all the capabilities of Enterprise Data Manager.

Subtest Fee Change

HiSET subtest fees are decreasing from $15 to $10, starting on January 1, 2016. The full battery will cost $50.

HiSET Reminders

Holiday Hours

It's the holiday season, and many of us are taking vacations after a busy year! If you are unable to reach your normal Test Administrative Services representative, please remember to email, so that another representative can assist you. ETS has coverage in place, and we will be able to serve you quickly in the event your representative is taking some time off for the holidays. You can also call TAS at 1-800-257-5123 and you will be directed to an available representative. ETS will be closed December 24–25 for the holidays, as well as December 31–January 1, 2016, for the New Year holiday.

Returning 2015 Test Materials

All 2015 HiSET test books must be returned to the ETS warehouse at the conclusion of the 2015 testing year by chief examiners. Per policy and procedures, you may not keep the test books for any reason whatsoever after the 2015 testing year concludes.

Please return all test books to:
Inbound Processing Center
200 Ludlow Drive
Ewing, NJ 08638

The test books should be returned sorted and counted by subtest and form; for example, count by Math Form A, Math Form B, etc. Please label each box in your shipment with the center's name or HSTP number, and keep a record of the tracking numbers.

Unused answer sheets can be used in 2016 and do not need to be included in your returns. See our 2015 Test Materials Return (PDF) and 2015 Test Materials Return Notice (PDF) for detailed instructions.

HiSET Success Stories — Billings, Montana

Just a few months shy of her 20th birthday, Aspin Miller felt she had no clear direction in her life. At that point, she decided to further her education, not just for herself, but for her family too. Miller enrolled in classes at the Billings Adult Education Center to prepare to take the HiSET exam. Read more about Miller's story (PDF) and how passing the HiSET exam has helped her find the path to achieving her goals.

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: January 2016

Update:  1/4/16

Important Update Regarding the 'Are you Ready to Take the HiSET Exam?' Chart

During a recent quality control of all online material, we discovered that the Math range tables posted on September 1, 2015 do not reflect the most current information.  As you may recall, the Math tables were updated back in April to accommodate the additional items added to the existing practice tests. Please note that the tables were in fact accurate at that time. On September 1st, the document was then updated to include the newly added practice tests. When that update occurred, the Math range tables inadvertently reverted to the data as it existed prior to April 2015. The error was immediately corrected and an updated chart has been posted online.


To summarize, the Math tables published between September 1, 2015 and December 18, 2015 were incorrect.  Please use be certain to use this updated chart moving forward.


Our sincere apologies for any confusion or inconvenience this oversight may have caused you or your test takers. Please contact me directly with any questions or concerns. My contact information can be found in my signature below.


Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!




Adriana Wells

Senior Product Manager


Update:  10/19/15

·        HiSET 2016 Montana Presentation by Jonna McDonough, Director, ETS High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®)

Update:  10/5/15

·       2016 Writing Response Scoring Guide:  NEW

·       2016 Scored Sample Writing Responses:  NEW

·       2016 Sample Questions:  NEW

·       2016 Test at a Glance:  NEW

·       2016 HiSET Program Manual:  NEW

Update:  8/31/15

HiSET 2015 Information Brief - Math

As many Math teachers requested, we have enhanced the Math information with a great deal of detail.  Teachers may expect a similar level of detail in our 2016 Informational Brief for all subtests.  This particular update was developed in response to feedback received from Math teachers across all HiSET states and territories.

Click here for the brief.

Estimate how well prepared you are for the HiSET exam:

Are You Ready to Take 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

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 email !  Thanks!

Norene Peterson, Adult Education Center