­­MTLINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

 Having trouble with this email?  Click here for MTLINCS Email for 10/5/15.

Looking for past emails?

Go to the Email Archives in the upper left-hand corner on the home page at http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/index.htm

Montana Information

1.               HiSET Blast

HiSETŪ September 2015 Newsletter

New Resources

Practice Tests

The HiSETŪ Program is thrilled to announce the release of new practice tests! The Free Practice Tests, eBooks and Official Practice Tests in Language Arts – Writing, Language Arts – Reading and Mathematics have been updated to prepare test takers for the 2016 HiSET exam. The new releases include evidence-based writing prompts, a set of paired passages and new mathematics items. For a breakdown of the updates and how to purchase new tests, please see the Quick Reference Guide.

Program Manual

The 2016 HiSETŪ Program Manual is now available. This updated edition contains updates to the directions for administration, annual test book returns and other program updates.

Preparation Documents

The 2015 Test at a Glance is updated now to include more details and the College and Career Readiness Standards for the Mathematics section. This new PDF is available on the side bar of the HiSET Download Library.

The 2016 Test at a Glance (TAAG) is currently available on the download library. This new TAAG contains College and Career Readiness Standards for Reading, Writing and Mathematics. All subtest areas have been updated to include approximate percentages and new content areas.

Writing Section

The Scored Sample Writing Response Guide and Writing Response Scoring Guide (Rubrics) have been updated to include a new evidence-based writing prompt, a new writing sample and new rubric.

We added a new feature to the HiSET website. The HiSET program partnered with CareerBuilder to provide resources and options for after you've earned your state-issued credential. Visit our website to learn about these topics and more:

  • planning your career
  • understanding employment trends
  • writing an effective resume
  • preparing for an interview

You'll find useful strategies and tips that can help you find a job and build a career. Learn how to best position yourself for success by using the resources we have compiled to assist you.

Adult Ed Modules

If your state uses the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) assessments, you can utilize the new curriculum modules with your low-level literacy learners, including those with intellectual disabilities, in programs for Adult Basic Education, Special Education and Rehabilitation, and Workforce Learning! Learn more.

ETS HiSET Conference — Invitations to register have been emailed


November 30–December 2, 2015


Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
500 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Invitations to register have been sent. Registration is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. After registration has filled, you will be placed on a waiting list. If you have not received an invitation, please email hisetevents@ets.org.

HiSET Success – Washington, Iowa

Two years after dropping out of high school in the 11th grade, Areli Espinosa thought she had everything with a loving husband and baby on the way. After her husband's sudden death, Espinosa's world was turned upside down. With the encouragement of family, Espinosa set out to fulfill her dream of getting her high school equivalency in order to become a nurse. Enrolled at Kirkwood Community College, she is on her way to achieving her goal. Read more about Espinosa'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:

Email: HiSET@ets.org

Montana HSE Update: September 2015­­­

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 http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/HiSET/hiset_resources.htm.

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 Adult Basic Education Fall Conference Resources

Some conference items may be posted within the next couple of weeks.

Feeling as if you are going multiple directions?  Check out Post #13 (below), Teaching:  “Doing It All”: Successes and Challenges in Teaching Adult Education.  You may want to peruse Jackie Taylor’s summary about the shifting landscape of ABE.

3.  Montana DACUM Facilitator Training:  Special Event Announcement and Call for Nominations

As part of our on-going commitment to serve Montana’s workforce development needs, the Montana University System (MUS) & the MT Department of Labor & Industry (MTDLI) are co-sponsoring a week long DACUM Facilitator Training Institute being held November 16-20 in Missoula, MT. This Institute will enable up to 12 individuals, nominated by MUS college and university leaders, to become Certified DACUM Facilitators. Once certified, these 12 Facilitators will then be able to conduct DACUM workshops for any MUS college or university to support effective and efficient review and revision of curriculum in current academic programs as well as competency based curriculum design for new academic program development …

Click below for more information:

As specified in the attachment, in addition to qualified college or university faculty or staff, nominations may also include professionals from area economic development councils, chambers of commerce, community management teams, job services, adult basic education centers, K-12 systems, or other community, workforce or economic development organizations – but all nominations must be channeled through a respective MUS college or university senior leader to be accepted.

·       DACUM_Study_Information_Flyer

·       MT_DACUM_Facilitator_Training_Institute_Event_Announcement_and_Call_for_Nominations

·       Montana_DACUM_Facilitator_Training_Institute_Draft_Agenda_November16-20 2015

4. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources. 

5. Montana and National News Information

Click here http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/National_News2015.html  to access a site that will take you to the most current information without your having to search.  More resources posted on 9/13/15.

6. WIOA Update

9/7/15:  WIOA Kickoff Follow-up

Presentations posted on DLI website:  https://dli.mt.gov/ under Data and Publications.

8/24/15:  WIOA Vision Document from US Department of Education

·       OCTAE Program Memorandum (OCTAE/DAEL 15-4) : Vision for the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act in the Workforce System and Initial Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; and

·       OSERS Technical Assistance Circular (RSA-TAC-15-02):  Vision for the State Rehabilitation Services Program as a Partner in the Workforce Development System under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.Back to Top.

8/13/15:  WIOA Vision for One Stop Delivery System

WIOA Montana Updates:

Click here http://www.nwlincs.org/mtlincs/opi/wioa/wioa_updates.html  to access the following:   Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

7. Adult Learner Website on LINCS

Taken from LINCS Notice

Happy National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, #AEFLWeek! LINCS has exciting news to share with you this week. We’re pleased to announce a brand-new section of LINCS, designed specifically for adult learners! In conjunction with #AEFLWeek, OCTAE is launching the LINCS Learner Center, an online gateway to direct adult learners to high-quality resources related to education, training, and foundational skills.

The LINCS Learner Center compiles resources from many different federal agencies and additional organizations, categorized across seven life goals:

·        Learn to Read;

·        Learn Math;

·        Learn Science;

·        Learn English;

·        Get Job Skills;

·        Become a U.S. Citizen; and

·        Find a Program. 

Developed to be mobile-friendly, the site brings resources to learners in class, on the go, and at home so they can extend their learning time and accelerate their skills. Learners do not need a password to access the resources. Several resources in the LINCS Learner Center are also available in Spanish.

8. Career Pathways:  Video - Employer Engagement - Building the Talent Pipeline

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The Innovation and Opportunity Network has released a video titled, "Employer Engagement: Building the Talent Pipeline" for learning from peers about promising practices used in building a talent pipeline.  This three minute video offers perspectives from workforce development professionals in Michigan, New Jersey and Colorado, who are working to create opportunities for career pathways graduates and local employers.

9. Career Pathways:  WorkforceOne's Best Practices in Employment Supports & Placement for Nontraditional Occupations in the Construction Industry Webinar – 10/30

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Women working in nontraditional industries like construction face barriers both on and off the jobsite.  If you are an apprenticeship program, pre-apprenticeship training provider, employer, or other workforce entity this webinar is for you.  Join us to hear about employment supports and placement service models for women in construction.  A panel of industry experts and peers will provide you with best practices and resources in helping women transition from job training programs to employment, as well as take your questions during this hour long free webinar.  Hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor and Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grantees.

Register for this online webinar here.


Kelley Kupcak, Program Director, Chicago Women in Trades - Chicago,

Kathleen Culhane, Executive Director, Nontraditional Employment for Women - New York City

Nicole Ferrer, Executive Director, Apprenticeship & Nontraditional Employment for Women - Washington

Pamyla Berryhill, Program Director, Chicago Women in Trades - Chicago

Moderator:  Felecia Hart, Team Leader, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration

Location:  Online webinar

Date:  Friday, October 30, 2015 - 12:30am to 1:30pm

Mike Cruse

10. ESL:  Strengthening and Transforming ESL Programs through Community Networks

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Click here for the discussion.

Snippets from Discussion

Snippet #1

Increasing numbers of change agents - nonprofit organizations as well as funders and social entrepreneurs - are building networks for the purpose of achieving outcomes together, especially when what is involved are challenges that are too complex for individual organizations to address alone.  These change agents, including ESL program leaders, can now tap into a growing body of knowledge designed to help them be more intentional and deliberate in their network building. investment in the design, launch, management, and evaluation of social impact networks has led to an expanded understanding of how to build and use networks most effectively. 

An important characteristic of social impact networks is that they assemble individuals and/or organizations as equal partners to advance a social change agenda through mutually reinforcing activities. One of the greatest advantages of network organizing is to increase impact through peer-based collaboration, where each member contributes its unique strengths and partners with others who bring complementary capacities. For example, in the Networks for Integrating New Americans initiative, ESL providers have joined with libraries, colleges, employers, refugee resettlement agencies, housing agencies, and many other stakeholders to bring their collective knowledge and resources to the challenge of immigrant integration …

Network building for social impact has evolved into a distinct field with an emerging set of best practices.  Key insights from network science and from seasoned network practitioners are now available on websites and in publications that include the following:

·        ConnectingtoChangetheWorld.net

·        Network Health Scorecard – Network Impact

·        Networks that Work - Community Partners

·        Network Diagnostic – Monitor Group

·        Collective Impact  -  FSG

Madeleine Taylor

11. LINCS Events for October

Taken from LINCS Notice

October 5-9, 2015: Positive Psychology, GRIT, Academic Resilience & Your Adult Learner discussion, hosted by the Disabilities in Adult Education group; summarized in the Postsecondary Completion group.

October 12-16, 2015: Unlocking the Promise of Pell for Incarcerated Learners, hosted by the Correctional Education and Financial Literacy groups. This activity will kick off with a webinar hosted by the LINCS Regional Professional Development Center for Region 3; stay tuned for a save the date!

October 19-22, 2015: Steve Reder will host a webinar on October 19 from 1-2:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will be followed by a week-long discussion in the Financial Literacy, Postsecondary Completion, Career Pathways , and Program Management groups. Register now for What’s Happening in Adult Basic Skills Programs: The Long-term Impact of ABS on Economic Outcomes, Postsecondary Engagement, and GED Attainment!

October 19- November 5, 2015: Reentry Education Model Implementation Study: Findings and Lessons Learned, hosted by RTI International, will include a two-week discussion and a webinar on October 22 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Register now for Reentry Education Model Implementation Study: Findings and Lessons Learned!!

12. Standards:  New CCR Standards Resources in the LINCS

Taken from LINCS Notice

We’re happy to announce the recent addition of fifteen resources to the LINCS College and Career Standards Resource Collection. They include eight College and Career Readiness (CCR) resources in mathematics and seven in English language arts/literacy. These exemplary teaching and learning resources were recommended and reviewed by coaches and staff from OCTAE’s Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education project. You’ll find a range of tools aimed primarily at instructors responsible for providing instruction aligned to CCR standards including some to assist instructors with students with limited English proficiency. 

13. Teaching:  “Doing It All”: Successes and Challenges in Teaching Adult Education

Taken from LINCS Evidence-based Development

The landscape for adult learners in the 21st century has changed, and with it the roles and expectations of adult educators. Adult educators prepare adult learners to pass rigorous high school equivalency exams, be digital age learners with the reading, writing, numeracy, and critical thinking skills needed to be competitive in today’s economy, and successfully transition to college and careers. They design engaging lessons aligned with new college and career readiness standards. Many also teach in a linguistically diverse classroom while helping immigrants integrate into society and participate in civic life. The vast majority do this part-time while often juggling multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.

Click here for the discussion.

Snippets from Discussion

Snippet #1

At the recent COABE conference in Denver, I was impressed by the variety and quality of presentations focused on supporting instructors of adult literacy. I participated in workshops as varied as:

·        Using College and Career-readiness Standards for Adult Education in Adult ESL

·        Getting the Right Balance: Integrating Workforce Training and Adult Education

·        Building Career Pathways to Advance Immigrant Integration

·        Developing and Sustaining Effective Partnerships to Support Career Pathways

As I was participating and learning, I couldn’t help but wonder as to how on earth a teacher (ESL or GED) could singlehandedly:

·        help her/his students acquire language skills or pass the GED tests, using creative lesson plans correctly aligned to the recent college and career readiness standards;

·        ensure her/his students’ entry into post-secondary institutions, for which they must be taught critical thinking and higher order reading and writing skills (through rigorous instructional practice); and

·        support  her/his students’ aspiration to enter the workforce, (for which the instructor must not only have a clear understanding of the appropriate job sectors in the region, but then be able to teach the appropriate technical /vocational vocabulary!).

Anurag Sagar

Snippet #2

As I expect of many of you, I can hardly justify taking time out of my morning to post: just finished our weekly team meeting, lots of updates to do there; prepping for a 10:30  ABE reading class because my colleague left for Africa for a month on Friday; need to update my PPOR list for my meeting with our local school district at 2; I hold student orientation for 2.5 hours somewhere in between all of this today, and my desk is covered with papers from having covered for our front desk person who was out the last 3 days, and since I supervise her, I'm responsible for covering her duties. And you want to know what I need as the teacher I am on Thursday nights in Lang Arts and Social Studies? Still with me out there? …

Stephanie Moran

Snippet #3

… In working with some Maine adult ed programs, we went from traditional education models (classes teaching to a norm) to learning labs in which teachers became mentors (of up to 20 students at a time) and were able to provide contextualized, individualized education. Using technology and many innovative, homegrown solutions, we created a system to really make an effective individualized CCRS system …

Edward Latham

Snippet #4:  Shifting Landscape

The landscape has changed significantly in recent years, including:

2013 — The release of the U.S. results of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Adult Skills assessment on literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments (PST-RE) finds that in the U.S.:

·        Adults in the U.S. are stagnating in literacy and doing worse in numeracy, and also doing poorly in PST-RE skills.

·        Adults here have much lower overall scores than the international average in all three domains.

·        We have a very large share of low skilled adults, those who perform below level 2.

·        The achievement gap we see in our children persists as our children grow up to be adults.

·        Adults who come from poorly-educated families are 10 times more likely to have low skills.

·        Our younger generations, 18-24 year olds, are only slightly outpacing, or are doing worse than older adults, unlike in many industrialized countries.

2014 — From GED to HSEs

In 2014, the GED Testing Service revamped their exam for the first time since 2002. Not only was the new test more expensive and some say twice as difficult. Students who did not pass it by December 31, 2013 had their slates wiped clean and would need to start all over again.

This brought an era of a competitive landscape, with some states using the Educational Testing Service HiSET test or Data Recognition Corporation’s TASC exam, or a combination of exam offerings. Students taking the GED in 2014 and after would have to take a computerized test, which in-and-of-itself requires computer skills. The test itself shifted from measuring high school proficiency to also include college and career readiness, and is aligned with standards for succeeding in college or careers. (USA Today) (Updated Aug 2015, which state uses which test)

2014 — WIA Becomes WIOA

The legislation that provides for federally-funded adult education programs is reauthorized, changing the Workforce Investment Act to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This is leading to:

·        increased demands to meet the new College and Career Readiness Standards

·        integrating basic skills instruction and English language acquisition with workforce preparation

·        increased accountability through standardized tests that measure basic skills levels

Some highlights in the new WIOA include:

·        WIOA’s focus on transitions:

·        Preparing learners for HSE and transitioning to college and careers;

·        Integrating basic skills instruction with workforce preparation;

·        Providing Integrated Education and Training (IET); and

·        Providing Integrated English Literacy (IEL) and Civics Education (providing EL/Civics in combination with IET).

·        Creating State Unified or Combined Plans that will impact reporting requirements for teachers and program administrators

·        Teacher Quality & Effectiveness: Requiring all states to have quality professional development programs and provide technical assistance (and assistance with integrating technology)

2013-2015 — Labor Market

·        Economists predict that by 2020, nearly two-thirds of all jobs will require some postsecondary education and training beyond high school. (Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020)

·        78% of middle skill jobs (those that require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree) require digital skills. (Digital Skills in Today’s Economy)

·        Proficiency in problem solving using ICT is related to greater participation in the labor force, lower unemployment, and higher wages. By contrast, a lack of computer experience has a substantial negative impact on labor market outcomes, even after controlling for other factors. (Adults, Computers and Problem Solving: What’s the Problem?)

2015 — Incarceration and Recidivism

Increasing interest at the federal level in:

·        Reducing prison recidivism (See OCTAE’s new award for Improved Juvenile Justice Reentry Education and OCTAE’s Education Technology in Corrections policy report)

·        Helping the formerly incarcerated successfully transition into the community

·        Making Internet access available for adult learners and for teachers (although nowhere near what is needed yet)

Lack of federal and/or state interest in supporting:

·        The needs of those who are not in, and/or who do not want to be in, the workforce: the elderly, and people with disabilities that prevent them from working

·        Accountability that is based on learners’ goals

·        Adult basic education research — we still don’t have answers to the most basic questions about our field and about what works

There are some trends that are not necessarily supported by policy, for example

·        Growth of online and blended learning

·        Growth in new credentialing models, for example micro-credentials/digital badges (See the July 2015 guest discussion of Online Learning Portfolios and Microcredentials)

·        In most states, and at the federal level, reduction or level funding of adult basic education

·        Continued high rates of employing part-time versus full-time teachers.

·        Low investment in adult education professional development. The average investment in adult education professional development is far lower than $1,000 per paid and unpaid volunteer staff member, adding all state leadership and national activities dollars, and even after adjusting for program investments (Throwing Down the Gauntlet for Professional Development). This is in sharp contrast with the $18,000 school districts spend per teacher annually on professional development (New Teacher Project report).

Ongoing Need and Demand for Adult Education

·        Of the 36 million adults in need of adult basic education, fewer than 2 million can access publicly-funded adult education services. (Time for the U.S. to Reskill: What the Survey of Adult Skills Says)

·        Continuing need and demand for services as indicated by long(er?) waiting lists (2009-2010 Adult Student Wait List Survey)

Jackie Taylor

Norene Peterson

Adult Education Center

415 N. 30th Billings, MT 59101