­­MTLINCS Update


Greetings from Montana LINCS

 Having trouble with this email?  Click here for MTLINCS Email for 9/28/15.

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

Adult Basic Education Fall Conference 2015


1. HiSET Blast

Summary of Updates

·       2016 HiSET Program Manual:  NEW

·       2016 Test at a Glance:  NEW

·       2016 Sample Questions:  NEW

·       2016 Scored Sample Writing Responses:  NEW

·       2016 Writing Response Scoring Guide:  NEW

HiSET® Program eUpdate | July 2015

Practice Tests

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

Program Manual

The 2016 HiSET Program Manual (PDF) will be available on our Download Library on September 1, 2015. This new edition contains updates to the directions for test administration, annual test book returns and other program updates.

Preparation Documents

The 2015 Test at a Glance (TAAG) (PDF) has been updated to include more details and a new section on the College and Career Readiness Standards for the Mathematics section. This updated PDF is available on our Download Library.

The 2016 Test at a Glance (TAAG) (PDF) will be released and available on our Download Library on September 1, 2015. The new 2016 TAAG (PDF) will have 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 and Writing Response Scoring Guide (Rubrics) have been updated to include a new evidence-based writing prompt, a new writing sample and a new rubric and will be available on our Download Library on September 1, 2015. You can access both the Scored Sample Writing Response and Writing Response Scoring Guide (Rubrics) on our Download Library.

Sample Items

New sample items for all subtests with Depth of Knowledge levels will also be available on September 1, 2015. You can access these new sample items on our Download Library.

Expired Vouchers Policy

Organizations or individuals that have purchased vouchers have up to six months from the date of expiration to notify us that they would like to be issued new voucher numbers for those vouchers that have not been redeemed. After six months from the expiration date, the voucher will be removed and unavailable for further use. Please contact us at hisetvouchers@ets.org so we can assist you with this process.

Registering Test Takers — Important Reminder

When registering test takers, please click the submit button only ONCE. Double-clicking creates duplicate batteries and appointments in our systems.

Save the Date — ETS HiSET Conference


November 30–December 2, 2015


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

Registration is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration information will be available soon.

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:

Email: HiSET@ets.org

Montana HSE Update: August 2015­­­

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


Save the Date! 

2015 HiSET Conference

November 30 to December 2

New Orleans

Registration and Exhibit information available soon!


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)




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 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

September 29 – 30

Holiday Inn Downtown



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. TABE:  Participate in the TABE 11 & 12 Field Test Review

Data Recognition Corporation | CTB will be field testing new test items for the development of new TABE® forms. To achieve this goal, we need your help. We invite your program to join in this national field test review. You will have the opportunity to view and respond to test items that may appear on the new TABE 11&12.

Programs electing to participate will benefit in several different ways. First, they will contribute to improving the quality and development of the adult assessments they already use to effectively assess the skills and knowledge of adult learners. Second, they will gain familiarity in experiencing the new TABE forms. And finally, as a thank you for participating, both your program and students will receive monetary compensation.

Learn More 
For additional information on participating in the TABE 11&12 national field test, please fill out this brief survey. After you fill out the survey we will keep your information on file and will contact you when we are ready to begin the field test.

To access the survey, click
here »

For questions about prequalification for the field test study please contact:

Mike Johnson
National Adult Education Manager
Data Recognition Corporation | CTB


7. WIOA Update

9/7/15:  WIOA Kickoff Follow-up

Presentations posted on DLI websitehttps://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

8. 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.

9. Career Pathways:  Licensing Learners in Career Pathways

Taken from LINCS Career Pathways

Learners in many career pathways programs have the dual challenges of completing training program requirements, and then applying for licensure to work in their state.  According to a recently released white paper on state occupational licensing, “more than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs”, this is five times the number of workers requiring a license to work in the 1950s. 

You can learn what occupations require licensure in your state on CareerOneStop’s Training Resource page

To better understand this shift in the number of workers requiring licensure, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury, Office of Economic Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisors released the white paper, “Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers”. This paper aims to help those working in career pathways understand the impact of state licensing, and consider ways to reduce employment barriers in these professions. 

The President’s FY2016 Budget includes $15 million in new discretionary funding at the Department of Labor to identify, explore, and address areas where licensing requirements create barriers to labor market entry or labor mobility.   Below are the Licensing Best Practices and supporting rationale from the paper.

Ensure that licensing restrictions are closely targeted to protecting public health and safety, and are not overly broad or burdensome

If licensing were able to limit the practice of an occupation to high-quality practitioners, then it would be expected to improve quality and public health and safety. Studies have examined whether this happens and show that quality improvements occurred in only 2 out of the 12 studies reviewed. There is also evidence that many licensing boards are not diligent in monitoring licensed practitioners, which contributes to a lack of quality improvement.

Facilitate a careful consideration of licensure’s costs and benefits

Data show that 52% of licensed workers hold a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 38% of unlicensed workers.  Lower income workers are less likely to be able to afford the tuition and lost wages associated with licensing educational requirements, closing the door to many licensed jobs for them.

In 21 states, defaulting on student loan debt can result in the suspension or revocation of a worker’s occupational license. Between 2000 and 2015, the size of the student loan market increased by 170 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, with roughly $1.1 trillion in outstanding balances held by over 41 million individuals as of the beginning of 2015.

Work to reduce licensing’s barriers to mobility

Evidence shows that states vary in their rates of licensure, ranging from a low of 12% in South Carolina to 33% in Iowa.  These large difference suggest that states are not treating occupations equivalently with regard to whether they require a license or not.   Licensed workers are less likely to move over longer distances, especially over state lines, which may be attributed to states’ differences in licensing requirements.

Mike Cruse

10. Disabilities:  Annual Report on the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Taken from LINCS Diversity and Learning

Think College National Coordinating Center has released the Annual Report on the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities.  This report report describes the types of colleges that received Transition Postsecondary Education Program for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) grants, characteristics of attending students, and detailed information about academic access, employment and career development, campus membership, and program elements that supported self-determination, such as person-centered planning. 

The following are highlights from this extensive report:

·        438 students were newly enrolled and 445 were continuing students, on 50 college or university campuses, in 23 states. 

·        58% of students were male and 42% female. 

·        73% of students were white, 15% were black or African American, and 10% were Hispanic or Latino.

·        Over 90% of students were between the ages of 18 and 25, and 92% of enrolled students had an intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism. 

·        52% of course enrollments were in academically specialized courses, (designed for and delivered to only students with ID). 48% were in academically inclusive courses, (college courses attended by non-ID college students).  

·        79% of students were seeking a credential in 2013–2014; 86% of TPSID programs use peer mentors for academic supports.

·        316 students exited their TPSID; 41% of students who exited had a paid job when they exited their program. 

·        77% of the students who exited earned one or more credentials before exiting. 

·        75% were reported as having a paid job, participating in unpaid career development activities, or doing both at the time they exited. 

11. Diversity:  Common Challenge Facing Native Americans and Diverse Learners Discussion

Taken from LINCS Diversity and Learning

Snippets from Discussion

Snippet #1

Why do so many Native Americans drop out of public schools before graduating?  

                 Wow! If I knew this, I would be very rich.   

I believe there are couple of reasons that NA students drop out, the first reason is the dramatic changes in family dynamics. Today's families have been in survival mode, especially on Indian reservations.  Most like the working poor have to work 2 or more jobs, normally in a larger city, this would be a shorter commute to each jobs. On the reservation, the commute is 90-120 miles one way.  Parents are working minimum wage jobs, perhaps as housemaid, first shift and another job for their second shift. Leaving home, their children who are now in the care of each other (siblings) often becoming the prime example of latch key kids in community that is not often their own. 

Most NA communities now consist of tract type housing, that no longer the support the family units, or communities that once use to exist. Those villages use to consist of grandparents, aunts, uncles and close families that would often watch each others children. But as families grew, so did the need for housing and most Indian reservations opte'd for the cheaper tract type housing, ofter near a highway, miles away from families.  Which created a very diverse neighborhood, some good some bad.

The second thing reason I believe is consistency in keeping teachers on reservations. As we all know, teachers must create trust with their students, and if teachers are not going to be there in 3 mos, or are gone by mid-year most kids decide I am not important enough that our teachers did not stay. Most reservations often struggle in keeping their teachers. The reservations are very rural, often a huge culture shock for most non-native teachers.  If a young teacher is recurited, they often want social interaction, a life.. a family and a home. On the reservations, most non natives are unable to do find that, and often move into town, and find jobs there.  If we look at school districts on the reservations, most of the time the reservations side does not meet AYP where the district lies on  non-native communities do very well, why? One crucial fact often appears... they are able to keep teachers.

By the time students reach high school, they are so far behind in math, reading and writing they have given up.  Whats reasons do they have to stay? Unless they are playing sports, which is a big thing on the reservation , they lack a desire to complete their high school education. Most students are struggling to read by 3rd grade, is because the their teachers didnt stay the entire year, or because their teacher didnt understand the culture? Or, because their parents were busy trying to keep food on the table, that they missed out on being at PTC, or other school related activities?

Cindy Higgins, Senior Education Specialist with  Utah State University Eastern, Blanding Campus, Blanding Utah

Click here to read more.

12. ESL:  New Immigrant Professionals Study

Taken from LINCS Adult English Language Learners

Just today IMPRINT released a new, first-of-its-kind study about immigrant professionals, Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States. This survey collected data from skilled immigrants in six urban localities across the United States: Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, San Jose, and Seattle.

I am sure the following key finds are no surprise to members here:

Social capital is powerful: The survey showed that there is a remarkably strong correlation between the size of an immigrant’s social network and his or her likelihood of success.

English really matters: Across the board, stronger English language skills were correlated with virtually every possible measure of immigrant success.

Immigrants take enterprising approaches: Numerous self-improvement strategies were reported, including academic credential evaluation, English language classes, and additional education in the United States."

While the results show that about 40% of survey participants who have been in the US for 6 or more years 1) make at least $50K per year, and a somewhat lower percentage 2) use their skills at work, and 3) are working as professionals, a full 60%+ are still not achieving these goals. Unsurprisingly, skilled immigrants who have been here less than six years are earning less and fewer are using their skills.

Susan Finnmiller

13. ESL:  Networks for Integrating New Americans Discussion

Taken from LINCS Notice

Event Title: Strengthening and Transforming ESL Programs through Community Networks

Event Type: Online Discussion

Date(s): September 28-30, 2015

Greetings members!

This month, the LINCS Community is taking an important step in helping to strengthen nationwide integration efforts for new Americans by sharing the work of World Education’s Networks for Integrating New Americans initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).

Please join us from September 28-30, 2015, in the LINCS English Language Learners and Program Management groups, for a special Strengthening and Transforming ESL Programs through Community Networks online discussion. This online discussion will focus on:

·        How working in coalitions with community partners can advance common goals and strengthen partner organizations, and

·        How three ESL programs have been transformed by their participation in networks focused on immigrant integration.

This initiative uses organizational networks for promoting immigrant integration as a dynamic, two-way process in which immigrants and receiving societies work together to build vibrant and cohesive communities.  Its goal is to strengthen adult education programs’ role in networks to:

·        Improve immigrant access to effective and innovative English language programs;

·        Support immigrants on the path to citizenship; and

·        Support immigrant career development through training and education.

Aimed at expanding the knowledge and experience of ESL program staff and adult education program leaders that have or want to consider new possibilities for collaboration in connecting ESL instruction to adults’ broader economic, civic, and linguistic integration, this is an event you will not want to miss.

14. Program Management:  Study Finds that Text Messaging Students Significantly Increases Persistence

Taken from LINCS Program Management

Student persistence (retention) in adult basic skills programs is often a challenge. The results of a recent study in the U.K. suggest that one simple strategy that shows promise -- at least for students who have cell phones with an sms text messaging feature -- is to send them encouraging text messages at critical times after enrollment. For details on what kinds of text messages were sent and when, please read the study. Below is an abstract.

If you are interested in free or inexpensive software for text messaging, let us know. Several of us in the Technology and Learning CoP can make suggestions based on experience with adult learners in the U.S.

Curbing adult student attrition:Evidence from a field experiment*

February 1, 2015


Roughly 20% of adults in the OECD lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. In the UK, many colleges offer fully government subsidized adult education programs to improve these skills. Constructing a unique dataset consisting of weekly attendance records for 1179 students, we find that approximately 25% of learners stop attending these programs in the first ten weeks and that average attendance rates deteriorate by 20% in that time. We implement a large‐scale field experiment in which we send encouraging text messages to students. Our initial results show that these simple text messages reduce the proportion of students that stop attending by 36% and lead to a 7% increase in average attendance relative to the control group. The effects on attendance rates persist through the three weeks of available data following the initial intervention

David Rosen

Snippet #1

… From any email, you can text to a phone by typing in the phone number (all 10 characters without spaces or punctuations) and the @ symbol followed by the email extension for the carrier. There is a list of carrier extensions here. For example, if your phone number was 1235551212 and you use Verizon as your phone company, you could text it by emailing 1235551212@vtext.com

Edward Latham

15. WIOA:  Request for Comments on WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan Requirements 

Taken from LINCS Notice

The Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development are soliciting comments concerning a collection of data that will be used for unified and combined state plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  The WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan Requirements is a consolidated information collection that would implement sections 102 and 103 of WIOA (P.L. 113-128). WIOA requires that, no later than March 3, 2016, each State, at a minimum, submit a Unified State Plan as a condition of receiving funds for core programs subject to the Unified State Plan requirements. In the alternative, States may submit a Combined State Plan as a condition of receiving funds under certain named programs subject to the Combined State Plan provisions. See 29 U.S.C. §§ 3112 and 3113The Unified or Combined State Plan requirements are designed to improve service integration and ensure that the publicly-funded workforce system provides a range of employment, education, training, and related services and supports to help all jobseekers secure good jobs while providing businesses with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.  To that end, the Unified or Combined State Plan would describe how the State will develop and implement a unified, integrated service delivery system rather than discuss the State’s approach to operating each program individually.

A copy of the proposed Information Collection Request with applicable supporting documentation may be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting Docket ID number ETA-2015-0006 or directly at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=ETA-2015-0006-0002The comment period is open for 60 days and closes on October 5, 2015.  Any comments not received through the processes outlined in the Federal Register will not be considered by the departments.  Technical assistance materials will be available at http://wioa.workforce3one.org.

16. Writing:  Writing Arguments Resource

Taken from LINCS Reading and Writing

One of my favorite resources is a book by George Hillocks titled Teaching Argument Writing: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning. He introduces argument writing in a very engaging way and shows the process step by step. The book is written for grades 6-12 but the information is very applicable to our adult students.

Diane Baycich

Norene Peterson

Adult Education Center

415 N. 30th Billings, MT 59101