Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Montana Information

MABLE 2015 Update!


MABLE launch went smoothly on July 1st. It is important to read the business language that provides succinct, clear language on reporting in MABLE. All program staff members need to be aware of MABLE changes and their implications for program/classroom management.  A new Users’ Manual will be forthcoming soon. However the business language captures the new reporting features.

Margaret Bowles, Adult Literacy and Basic Education Director

Montana Office of Public Instruction


Highlights of the new MABLE include:

 ·       Focus on the program year (no more instructional year);

·       Students no longer tied to PAIs dating to enrollments in past years;

·       Easy to track student gains;

·       Teacher read-rights to all of MABLE beginning July 15th  (Contact Carol Flynn at OPI if you need access to MABLE);

·       Spreadsheet will be available to track all exited students (coming soon)

·       Aligned to WIOA; and

·       Reports will be updated by July 31st.

 Business Language  (Click here for printable version.)


1. HiSET Blast

Update:  7/20/15

Save the Date! 

2015 HiSET Conference

November 30 to December 2

New Orleans

Registration and Exhibit information available soon!

HiSET® Program eUpdate | June 2015

Online Interactive Practice Tests for the HiSET® Exam

Coming June 30, 2015

Experience what it is like to take the computer-delivered HiSET® exam by taking these free, 30–45-minute interactive practice tests. The questions on these practice tests are the same as on the HiSET Free Practice Test 2 (FPT2), but are provided in an interactive practice test format.

When you take the interactive practice tests, you receive immediate feedback on your responses, an estimate of your level of readiness to take the real test and an estimate of your HiSET scaled score on this test. You can then review the questions together with explanations for the correct answers.

CBAL™ Quick Math Practice

Coming June 30, 2015

The CBAL™ Quick Math Practice system was developed as part of the Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning (CBAL™) Initiative at ETS.

With the CBAL Quick Math Practice, you can improve your mathematics skills by practicing with short exercises that focus on core mathematical concepts and procedures. Although the exercises in Quick Math Practice are not the same as the questions you will see on the HiSET mathematics subtest, they can complement your preparation for it. Additionally, the Quick Math Practice system is delivered in a computer-adaptive format, while the computer-delivered practice tests are not adaptive.

Individual Score Reports

HiSET will be changing the detail on our individual score report to reflect percentages rather than the number of items correct, as of June 30. Due to item variations across forms and the equating process, we want to eliminate any confusion as the number of items correct needed to pass will vary by form. This change will still assist candidates in identifying areas of improvement.


As a result of the HiSET portal updates scheduled for tomorrow, the individual score report design changes will be slightly delayed as the changes are dependent on some of the system enhancements. You can expect to see the changes for individuals testing the week of July 6th.  Please note that this delay will have no impact to score reporting time frames.  It’s simply a delay in the template used for reporting.

I’ve attached a sample of the new template for your reference.

Adriana Wells

Product Manager - Lead

Free Practice Test 1 (FPT1) and Paid Practice Test 1 (PPT1)

The free and paid practice tests that were released in 2013 were updated in April to include algebraic concept items that are similar to those on the live operational 2015 test. Please refer to the HiSET Practice Test Quick Reference Guide (PDF) which outlines all the practice test resources that are currently available.

HiSET Portal Enhancements

We will be making the latest round of enhancements to the HiSET Portal overnight on June 30, into the early morning of July 1. During this time, the portal will be unavailable for scheduling and registration.

New enhancements will include:

  • the ability to register with Canadian addresses
  • the ability to schedule and pay for exams using vouchers in the TCA Model

Test Center Reminders

Please avoid creating duplicate profiles for test takers as it can create delays in the processing of scores. The HiSET portal will automatically check for duplicate records as you create profiles and should be overridden only in the event you are certain the test taker does not already have an existing profile. If you have any questions, please contact Test Administration Services (TAS) for assistance.

Please also contact TAS for any general questions regarding ordering test materials, account information and test site scheduling:


Official Practice Test 2

The Official Practice Test 2 (OPT2) replacement orders have all been shipped. If you received an Official Practice Test 1 (OPT1) and have not received an OPT2, please email Lindsey Hamilton.

HiSET Success Stories

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 Bill Kopco 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: June 2015­­­

Update:  7/6/15 - HiSET Audits

As you know, we are continuing our efforts to improve processes and ensure test integrity through the practice of regular, random test center audits. These audits are meant to ensure consistency in the processes followed to deliver the HiSET nationally, and are in no way an attempt to impede testing or to get centers “in trouble”. Our efforts are related directly to best practices, and we hope that this process continues to create an environment where centers can grow and learn and improve processes, as well as offering an opportunity to find centers that exemplify what we consider stellar center management. We are sending out the reminder to test centers below this week, as we’ve had a handful of centers surprised by their audits and want to remind everyone that these audits are standard, customary practice and in no way should impact their day to day operations of delivering tests.


As part of our ongoing commitment to quality and consistency in the delivery of the HiSET exam, a test center observer may visit your center the day of the test or the week preceding it. You should check the observer’s identification and letter of authorization from ETS Office of Testing Integrity. If you are still in doubt about the identity of the auditor, you should call the number on the letter to verify the visit. Test center observations are scheduled to ensure that procedures and facilities meet test center standards. The observer will want to monitor as many aspects of the administration as possible, particularly test security arrangements and procedures, testing environment conditions and any evidence of recent changes in program policies, procedures, or requirements. It is requested you provide full cooperation to the observer, however, an observer should not in any way impede you or your staff in the execution of the test administration. These audits will be unannounced and are random and ongoing throughout the testing year in all of our HiSET jurisdictions. You can always contact Test Administration Services at 1-800-257-5123 for additional questions or information regarding test center audits.


Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Amy E. Briggs

Director of Product Management

ETS High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)


Update:  6/29/15

Webex demo for our new free CBT practice tests and CBAL™ Quick Math practice tool

·        HiSET CBT Practice Test & CBAL Quick Math Demo-20150622 1754-1


Corrections Webinar:  New Scheduling Options

·        PLAY RECORDING (5 min)

Check out Montana’s Post-Standard Passing Rate:

·       2014 Annual Statistical Report on HiSET Exam

HiSET Test Administration Update:

·        Test Administrator:  Directions for Administering HiSET Paper-based Exam

·        Test Taker:  Directions for Administering 2015 HiSET Paper-based Exams

·        Test Taker: Spanish Instructions for Administering 2015 HiSET Paper-based Exams


HiSET Accommodations Overview for 2014

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.

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 7/6/15:

  • Funding Career Pathways
  • Montana University System Commissioners' Directive on Early College Student Tuition and Ineligibility for Board Designated Waivers

3. Montana ESL BEST+ Update

We are pleased to inform you that CAL has received a letter of approval from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education. The letter approves BEST Plus 2.0 through February 2017 for use by federally funded programs that report data through the National Reporting System (NRS). The official notice of approval will appear in the Federal Register soon and CAL will inform you when it is published.

CAL appreciates this recognition on the part of OCTAE of the ongoing value of BEST Plus. CAL will continue to sell the current version of BEST Plus as we plan for the transition to BEST Plus 2.0. Because we want to keep in mind the best timing for states and programs, we will be communicating with states and programs on how to proceed with this transition in the coming months through e-mail, webinars, and our website.

Thank you for your continued support of CAL and our assessments and for the work you do to support adult English language learners. If you have any questions, please email us or call us.

Best regards,

Daniel Lieberson
Director, Product and Service Operations
Center for Applied Linguistics

CAL’s adult ESL assessments staff are available to answer questions

Telephone: 1-866-845-2378, option 1 (toll free)
Monday-Friday 10 am – 6 pm ET

4. Montana Instruction

Check out #3, #6, #9, #10, #11, #12, and #13.

5. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

6. Montana TABE Update

CTB assessment business has been acquired by Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).  As per Mike Johnson, National Adult Education Manager for CTB, “… you should not see any change from day to day activities as they relate to TABE or TASC.” 

Click below for more information.

·       DRC-MHE Press Release 6-30-15

·       DRC-MHE Customer Letter

7. WIOA Update

7/6/15:  WIOA Joint Blog: Making a Shift in the Public Workforce System

On July 1, 2015 many of the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) went into effect. OCTAE, along with our partners at the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services released a blog discussing the combined efforts at the federal, state, and local levels to date, and how the federal partners will continue to support the transformation of the public workforce system as state and local officials work to transform their systems. Read the joint statement about this significant milestone by Acting Assistant Secretary of OCTAE Johan E. Uvin and our partner agencies.
We encourage you to continue to visit for additional information and resources, as they become available.

Cheryl L. Keenan

Director, Adult Education and Literacy
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
U.S. Department of Education

6/29/15:   Montana WIOA Kickoff

Please contact Margaret Bowles at for more information about the conference.

August 18 – 20

Gateway Center, Helena


WIOA Montana Updates:

Click here  to access the following:

Montana WIOA:  Chunking Pertinent Information for Montana.

National Information

8. Career Pathways:  WorkforceOne rolls out its Innovation and Opportunity Network

Taken from Career Pathways Exchange

The Career Pathways Exchange recently introduced the Innovation and Opportunity Network (ION) as a new online learning community to aid workforce development professionals, stakeholders, and partners connect with peers on implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

ION, which is a partnership of programs and services, will provide training and technical assistance, focused on the following themes: change management, strategic boards, regionalism, customer-centered service delivery, talent development strategies, system alignment, and other topics. Other resources include an Act Now webinar series, Voices of Experience videos and podcasts, a community of practice site, virtual events related to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration's WIOA operating guidance.  

To get involved in this new learning community, visit

9. Employability Skills:  How Can All Educators Integrate Them?

Taken from LINCS Notice

Sharing from College & Career Readiness & Success Center:

In today’s highly competitive and increasingly global economy, students need more than just academic skills and knowledge. They also need employability skills in order to successfully cultivate a career.

Today, the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL) and RTI International, released Integrating Employability Skills: A Framework for All Educators. This professional learning module—a collection of customizable, content-rich train-the-trainer materials—can support regional comprehensive centers, state educational agency staff, and state regional centers in building their knowledge and capacity to integrate and prioritize employability skills at the state and local levels.

This interactive module:

·        Introduces participants to the Employability Skills Framework and explains why it is important for all students,

·        Connects the Employability Skills Framework with other education initiatives,

·        Provides strategies to prioritize employability skills at the state, employer, district, and individual teacher levels, and 

·        Shows participants how to train teachers to integrate employability skills into lesson plans.

10. ESL:  Teaching with Technology: Build Your Own Cookbook with USDA Mixing Bowl website

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Have you ever created a recipe book with your class or at your program?  There’s a lot to be learned through the process:  vocabulary terms, the strange U.S. measurement system, conversation practice with store clerks, and sharing favorite recipes and memories. 

Now, you and your students can practice using technology in the process.  That’s right!  The USDA Mixing Bowl website gives you and your students an opportunity to create your own cookbook by searching through a wide-ranging group of healthy recipes from their household recipe collection. 

Strawberry S’Mores, Corn Casserole, 20-Minute Chicken Creole, 7 Bean Veggie Chili?  Sound delicious?  They are.  And, each recipe includes cooking time and cost per serving.  Just “click” to add a recipe to your cookbook.   Cooking with children this summer?  Download one of the website’s complete cookbooks:  Recipes for Healthy KidsThe USDA even describes the “kid-approval” process so you and your students won’t hear what I used to hear when trying out yet another kid-healthy (unapproved) recipe:  “Are we eating rocks and minerals tonight?”

Cynthia Zaft

11. Technology:  Blended Learning for the Adult Education Classroom

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Blended Learning for the Adult Education Classroom, published by Essential Education, is now available, free and downloadable, at this web address: 

David J. Rosen

12. Technology Discussion:  LINCS Explores Digital Badges in Adult Education – Online Portfolios and Micro-credentials

Taken from LINCS Notice

Check out this rich discussion at .  In the meantime, here are a few snippets below.


Snippet #1:  Background on Online Learning Portfolios

… Online learning portfolios (sometimes called electronic portfolios or ePortfolios) are useful to adult learners as a way to see learning growth and progress, and also as a way to demonstrate accomplishment to their friends and families, prospective employers, or college admission officers. Online portfolios are useful to teachers or tutors as a way to observe and measure learning progress, and to help both teachers or tutors and learners make decisions that ensure learning progress.

There are two kinds of learning portfolios:

1) A formative assessment (learning progress, e.g. writing) portfolio, and

2) A summative assessment (showcase, product or presentation) portfolio, often a refined formative assessment portfolio that through best examples of a student’s evidence of learning (e.g. writings, photos, video and audio files, slide presentations) and credentials, including micro-credentials, demonstrates what s/he knows and can do.

The summative (showcase, product or presentation) portfolio is a gleaned collection of student learning evidence designed for prospective employers, college admissions officers, or possibly as part of a competency-based secondary education credential such as the National External Diploma Program. Summative portfolios can be useful to employers, for example as authentic evidence of how an applicant writes, how s/he solves problems, and, in the case of an online portfolio, the learner’s digital literacy skills (that are also now included across the WIOA titles) and how s/he solves problems in a technology-rich environment. As with an artist’s portfolio, students collect and curate the best evidence of what they have learned and can do.

An online portfolio can take many forms, but it should be more than a collection of test results. The formative assessment/learning progress portfolio typically includes everything, or nearly everything, that the student writes or makes. Often the student(s) and teacher periodically review and reflect on the portfolio in one-on-one or small group meetings in which, based on their review, they may together outline next steps in the student’s individual learning plan. The learner generally participates in selecting the contents, especially of the summative portfolio …

David J. Rosen

Snippet #2:  Why ePortfolios?

From my perspective, one important reason for adult education teachers and programs to offer learners online portfolios is to build and improve on the adult learner’s digital skills. Another important reason is nurturing the practice of reflecting on learning experiences.

Branka Marceta

Snippet #3:  Challenges and Successes

Some challenges encountered were:

·        Some students that did not have Gmail did not want to create a new email account.

·        Some students thought that using Google documents would be extra work.

·        It took some time to get used to Google as a study and transition tool.


Some successes identified were:

·        Students learned how to create and share documents on a Google platform. Some students used Google documents to write essay drafts, collect information and share with classmates and transition specialist. Students really liked the comment feature for feedback.

·        Students that were not good at following up with the Transition Specials, started using Google Voice to text Transition Specials on an ongoing basis.

·        Students expressed that Google calendar helped them stay organized.

·        Students ended with a portfolio as a collection of employment tools and information they can use to transition to college or training.

·        Students were able to access their ePortfolio anywhere they can get internet connection.

·        Google documents helped the Transition Specials maintain and manage the Individual Action Plans, an important deliverable for the project.

Patricia Oliva

Snippet #4:  ePortfolio Examples

I'm including a link to a site I created to show examples of what we've been doing with students in the ESL department at Simi Valley Adult School. From this site there are links to several videos showing our Advanced ESL instructor teaching students how to write and share essays online, how to work collaboratively on a project demonstrating and showcasing their skills, and the benefits of maintaining an ePortfolio.

Victoria Jones

Snippet #5:  More Examples

I created a screencast of my class google drive. This is a student example from Winter 2015.

Sharon Ram

Snippet #6:  Problems with Implementation

I definitely believe teachers need training of some sort whether it be with webinars, in-house training or mentors as they implement online portfolios.  For me it was the mechanics of using Google Docs.  I got myself into the never ending inbox that I didn’t know how to organize.  Another teacher gave me insight into how to use Google Drive to access and manage my docs through folders and creating shared folders for student work.  I spent evenings using Google to search for more answers.  Sometimes I didn’t understand that I was creating my own problems. 

Debbie Jensen

Snippet #6:  Micro-credentialing Definitions

1) Small, stackable, credentials that are designed to (and do in fact) add up to a recognized postsecondary credential?

2) Small recognitions of achievement, perhaps useful to employers, that are not intended to lead to a recognized postsecondary credential? (As one example, I think of the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, which may be useful to learners and employers but, as far as I know, is not intended to be a recognized postsecondary credential. Jen Vanek, perhaps you could describe the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, and include information about the purpose(s) of its digital badges. I have also heard some discussion about micro-credentials for "non-cognitive", what some people call "soft skill" or "performance character", competencies in areas such as teamwork, problem solving, and persistence -- e.g. Angela Duckworth's research on "grit". If anyone knows of actual examples of micro-credentials for these non-cognitive competencies, please let us know about them.

3) Small, stackable recognitions of achievement, that do not add up to a recognized credential of any kind, but do add up to or approximate a level gain or attainment of competencies that are related to CCR standards, for example in language learning, reading, or numeracy, and that are concrete ("badge-able") recognitions of progress for both a learner and teacher? …

David J. Rosen

Snippet #7:  MC example via Northstar

… My interest and work with micro-credentials has been specifically with digital badging and my work in support of the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment. I initiated the integration of badging into Northstar. I was drawn to badging because of the potential for learners to have the means by which they can "prove" their skills, skills earned through either formal or informal learning.  We initially decided to try  it out because our learners kept losing the paper certificates earned after having passed an assessment and, due to the structure of Northstar, we needed an easier means by which learners could keep track of the assessments they had passed …

Jenifer Vanek

13. Technology:  Integrating Problem Solving, Digital Literacy, and Access – August 13

Taken from LINCS Notice

Free Webinar

Thursday, August 13, 2015, 3:00-4:30 pm Eastern

Register now!

Integrating Problem Solving, Digital Literacy and Access into Instruction 

Hear how adult educators have been integrating digital literacy into instruction. Ideas will be shared on how to use project-based learning activities to help adult students improve their solving problems skills while offering practice with reading, writing, speaking and listening. A panel of practitioners will share their ideas on how adult learners can improve digital literacy skills and access to technology thereby accelerating learning.

Hosts: Steve Quann and Ben Bruno, LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center, a project of World Education 

Welcome: Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Team Leader, Applied Innovation and Improvement, Division of Adult Education and Literacy, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education 

Presenters: A panel of adult educators will share how they have implemented lesson ideas.

Pre-webinar assignment: Review Integrating Digital Literacy and Problem Solving into Instruction

14. WIOA:  Webinar 7/21 – The National Skills Coalition: Aligned by Design - WIOA and SNAP E&T

Taken from LINCS Notice

The National Skills Coalition will present their final webinar in the Aligned by Design series, highlighting the new provisions under WIOA.

WIOA provides new opportunities for collaboration between workforce development and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T). WIOA state planning process provides an opportunity for states to align SNAP E&T with the broader workforce system, with a shared goal of supporting SNAP participants to develop and expand skills, and find family-supporting jobs.

Click here to register.


Brooke DeRenzis, Senior State Policy Analyst, National Skills Coalition

Ed Bolen, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Alice Pritchard, Executive Director, Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund

Bill Seedman, Public Assistance Consultant, Connecticut Department of Social Services                                                                               


Online webinar


Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm

15. WIOA:  Webinar 7/29 – WIOA Act Now Series:  Customer Centered One-Stop Design 

Taken from LINCS Notice

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Act Now Series: Customer Centered One-Stop Design

Date: July 29, 2015
Time: 12:00pm ET (11:00am/Central, 10:00am/Mountain, 9:00am/Pacific)
Length: 90 minutes

Register Now

This session on Customer Centered Design is the third webinar in the Act Now Series, hosted by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), to inspire innovation at the local and state level in achieving customer centered design as part of implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we are hosting a webinar on Customer Centered Design. Design Thinking is a practical, repeatable approach to arriving at innovative solutions. Think of these Methods as a step-by-step guide to unleashing your creativity, putting the people you serve at the center of your design process to come up with new answers to difficult problems. This webinar will include an overview of what Customer Centered Design is, examples from peers about how it is currently being used in the workforce and human services systems, and how other federal agencies are using Design Thinking to innovate services to customers.

This webinar is the launch of a bigger initiative designed to engage workforce leadership throughout the country in a three month process. Through your participation in this webinar, you will learn how you can address design challenges below. You will also learn how you and your partners can engage in a team to learn, practice, and implement customer-centered design.

·        How might we improve the customer experience and outcomes for our shared One-Stop Customers?

·        How might we put employers in the center of our sector strategies and career pathway work?

·        How might we design services and programs for out of school youth that will engage them and produce great outcomes? 

The Audience: 

·        Organizations implementing WIOA

·        People who are designing services, writing RFP’s, etc.

·        Partners who serve a broad range of customers

·        State and local workforce agencies who want better outcomes

·        All one-stop partner programs

The Presenters: 

·        DOL leadership

·        WIB Directors

·        One Stop Managers

·        TANF Tribal Child Welfare managers, and leadership focused on Innovation from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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


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

415 N. 30th Billings, MT 59101