Greetings from Montana LINCS

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Montana Information

MABLE 2015 Update!  (Note:  Updated Business Language Below - Posted on 7/27)


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:  Updated 7/27/15  (Click here for printable version.)

1. HiSET Blast

Update:  7/27/15

HiSET Test at a Glance Update

Greetings HiSET States & Territories-

Just a quick update on revisions to our Test At A Glance (TAAG) document.

We will be making modifications to the HiSET TAAG, specifically to provide additional information in Math. This update will be released the week of August 10th.

Also, as a reminder the 2016 TAAG will be released on September 1st. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Jason A. Carter, National Director, High School Equivalency Testing (HiSET®)|Educational Testing Service

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:  7/20/15  HiSET Conference

Save the Date! 

2015 HiSET Conference

November 30 to December 2

New Orleans

Registration and Exhibit information available soon!

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)



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 Standards and Assessment Guidelines 2015-2016

Click here to access Montana's new assessment policy that was recently approved by OCTAE.

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 7/6/15:

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

4. 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

5. Montana Instruction

Check out #2, #4, #7, #9, #10, #11, #13, #14, #15, and #16.

6. Montana Moving Pathways Forward Resources

Click here to access all MPF Resources.

7. 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

8. 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

9. Career Pathways and College:  Federal Student Aid – Adult Student Checklist

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Student Aid has a "Preparing for College" checklist, specifically for adult students.  The checklist is accessible online, with links to College Navigatorto locate schools based on career goals, the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship database, and instructions on filling out the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA).  This is an excellent one-stop resource for adult educators to share with learners as they begin the process of exploring post-secondary education options.

Michael Cruse

10. Career Pathways:  PIACC Education and Skills Online

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Coming August 2015… Education and Skills Online
Education and Skills Online Assessment (ESO), the individual assessment linked to PIAAC, will be released in early August 2015. Like the PIAAC 2012 main assessment, ESO will measure the cognitive skills (literacy, numeracy, reading components, and problem solving in technology-rich environments,) of adults age 16 and older. ESO will also include a non-cognitive module which will assess behavioral performance competencies, subjective well-being and health, career interest and intentionality, and skills use at work and at home. In the United States, ESO will be available in English and Spanish and assessments will be downloadable on demand over the Internet. It is appropriate for use in both educational and workplace settings.  Businesses, government agencies, community colleges, vocational education and training centers, and other organizations that want to test these workforce-readiness skills can purchase the assessments. For example, a state or county workforce board could sponsor the use of ESO and administer the assessment to people in their region or particular populations in their region (e.g. prison population, unemployed population, or disadvantaged adults). The sponsoring organization will have flexibility to determine which skills to assess and will own the data and results. After the individual takes the assessment, ESO generates an individualized report that summarizes the non-cognitive areas selected and the strengths and weaknesses in each cognitive area assessed. ESO also provides scores reported by proficiency levels. All results are comparable with, and can be benchmarked against, the national and international results of PIAAC 2012.

You can test your PIAAC skills today using a demonstration of ESO available through the OECD website. You can also download the PIAAC Outreach Toolkit on ESO.

Source: American Institutes for Research newsletter, The Buzz, July 2015

11. Career Pathways and Writing:  The Writing Assignment that Changes Lives

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing

Researcher Jordan Peterson, in the department of psychology at the University of Toronto, has co-authored a paper "that demonstrates a startling effect: nearly erasing the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap for 700 students over the course of two years with a short written exercise in setting goals." Although this study took place with at-risk students in college, the approach may also be effective with adult basic skills learners …

You will find more about this in an article at

David J. Rosen

Snippet from Paper

In our research, we took a novel approach to goal-setting theory and stated that formulating life goals will help students enhance their academic performance. We hypothesized that the performance enhancement produced by this programme would be especially pronounced for previously poor-performing students, and that it might help redress both the gender and ethnicity gap. The results indicated that these hypotheses were well-founded: substantive performance gaps can be closed, apparently regardless of their origin, with a generic, scalable online intervention. Furthermore, the effects of the intervention manifest themselves within a single academic year. In addition, although participants benefited, generally, in terms of academic performance, the (comparatively underperforming) male and ethnic minority students showed the greatest improvement.

12. Corrections:  New Correctional Education Report

Taken from LINCS Correctional Education

The Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education released a new report, Reentry Education Model Implementation Study:  Promoting Reentry Success through Continuity of Education Opportunities.  

The study found that strong partnerships between education providers and correctional facilities are essential to offering quality correctional education and maintaining educational continuity as formerly incarcerated people reenter the community. Some practices that are crucial to sustaining partnerships are highlighted. These include facilitating good communication among partners, particularly through in-person meetings; recognizing and respecting the different priorities and organizational cultures of all of the partners; and engaging both frontline staff and senior leadership.

In addition to these partnerships, the study showed that focusing on transitions into and out of correctional facilities and providing programs leading to career pathways can significantly enable incarcerated individuals to continue their education and prepare for good jobs. “Moments of transition”—entry into or release from a correctional facility—are key points for recruiting and retaining students in educational programs. Thus, effective recruitment and class assignment strategies can improve students’ program of study retention and completion rates. Once students have transitioned from corrections facilities, the study found, wrap-around reentry support services, such as college and career counseling, are important in recruiting and retaining students in community-based reentry education programs.

Education that is focused on high-demand career pathways can use stackable credentials—and jobs that would be accessible to individuals with criminal histories— to offer more opportunities for the previously incarcerated to earn a living wage and avoid recidivism. Career assessment and exploration can enable students to see not only how their interests connect to potential careers, but also what credentials are needed for various jobs within a career pathway.

Brooke Istas

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

Taken from LINCS Notice

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.

14. Math:  Webinar - Webinar: Shifting From Mathematical Worksheets to Meaningful Tasks

Taken from LINCS Notice

FREE Professional Development Webinar for COABE Members

Webinar: Shifting From Mathematical Worksheets to Meaningful Tasks  
Presented by: Cynthia Bell 

When: July 29th at 11amEST  

Join us for an intensive, hands on webinar that was a "hit" when presented as a workshop at the COABE 2015 Conference in Denver, CO! This webinar will be useful to members that were unable to attend the conference as well as those that would like to continue their professional development after the national conference. 

With the new assessments and standards come shifts in instruction. Perhaps one of the most exciting and challenging is moving towards providing meaningful and engaging tasks that allow students to make connections and expand their understanding of concepts and procedures. In this webinar, participants will deconstruct the Standard Practices and learn how to use them to make this shift, discovering how to turn an ordinary worksheet into a meaningful, rigorous task.

Register here. 

15. Technology:  Digital Skills Gap Discussion

Taken from LINCS Technology and Learning

Do you wonder how important digital literacy skills are to get and keep a middle skills job that has family-sustaining wages? A new study answers the question.

Middle-skill jobs, roughly defined as those that require more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree, comprise 39% of U.S. employment. These jobs matter because they have long sustained a middle-class lifestyle for millions of Americans, and because they’re increasingly pressured by changes to the economy. Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a college degree, and these jobs represent important career opportunities for them.

A study of job postings by Burning Glass Technologies found that middle-skill jobs that require digital skills are outpacing those that do not in a wide range of ways:

·        Nearly eight in 10 middle-skill jobs require digital skills. Spreadsheet and word processing proficiencies have become a baseline requirement for the majority of middle-skill opportunities (78%).

·        Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations are growing faster than other middle-skill jobs. Digitally intensive jobs have grown 2.5 times more rapidly than middle-skill jobs that do not require spreadsheets, word processing, or other digital skills (between 2003 and 2013, 4.7% growth for digitally intensive jobs compared to 1.9% growth for other positions).

·        Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than middle-skill jobs that do not require a digital component. Digitally intensive middle-skill occupations offer 18% higher wages on average: $23.76 per hour compared to $20.14 per hour for all other middle-skill jobs.


Below is an infographic that you may wish to share with teachers and adult learners.


Snippets from Discussion

Snippet #1

Here's how the Huffington Post summed up the Burning Glass study in their article called Knowing Excel -- Yes, Microsoft Excel -- Is Crucial To Making More Money

"Forget learning how to code. The tech skills required to get out of the low-wage workforce are actually a lot simpler. Knowing how to use basic software like Microsoft Excel and Word, it seems, are critical to earning a living wage these days, according to a new analysis of the labor market.

Understanding spreadsheet and word-processing software is a baseline requirement in nearly 80 percent of all middle-skill job openings, according to the report, first discovered by Lauren Weber at the Wall Street Journal"

Judy Mortrude

Snippet #2

First, I agree that our conceptualization of "digital literacy" has shifted. I think that, perhaps, what we've considered "digital" is really technological or computer literacy. I've been doing some reading lately that suggests the inclusion of PSTRE-like skills as a more comprehensive way to think about digital literacy. Eshet-Alkalai (2004) describes these as “technical, cognitive, and sociological skills in order to perform tasks and solve problems in digital environments” (p. 93), breaking them down as follows:

·        Photo-visual literacy, “the art of reading visual representations” (p. 94)

·        Reproduction literacy, “the art of creative recycling of existing materials” (p. 97)

·        Branching literacy, “use of hypermedia and non-linear thinking” (p. 98)

·        Information literacy, “the art of skepticism” (p. 100)

·        Socio-emotional literacy, collaborative learning and sharing in online venues (p. 101)

Eshet-Alkalai, Y. (2004). Digital Literacy: A Conceptual Framework for Survival Skills in the Digital era. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia13(1), 93–106. Retrieved from

Jen Vanek

16. 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

17. 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