Marshall Adult Education


September 23, 2005

These announcements are posted on the internet.  If you have trouble reading this email or cannot use the links, you may read them on the internet.
Here are this week's announcements.
1.  Student Attendance, Intakes and CASAS reports should be to Barb by Monday, October 3rd.  We've become a little lax on the CASAS testing.  Be sure it is getting done and the scores are being reported.  Thanks.  Barb
2.  Time Sheets are due in the office by noon on Monday, October 3rd.
3.  From Pat:  If any folks out there would like to give me some input on the evaluations we require after attending trainings I would greatly appreciate it!
.........I would ask if there is a better way to  "glean info" out staff participation.  I receive summaries that contain nothing to some that are quite consistency at all.   Reading these summaries unfortunately puts me in a position of wondering if there is any value in having sent the individual that turns in little or nothing.   And reading the detailed one shows effort but often wonder the value of all that effort except satisfying "the office".
So I would you be interested in considering our current form and sharing any ideas you may have on making it both user friendly and useful!   Please let me know.
Current questions:
     1. What question(s) did this session solve?  How will I be able to use this information?  What new questions (ideas), if any were created?
     2  How did you change/grow by attending this session?
     3.  Did you enjoy (have fun) attending this session?


4.  Student Attendance/Level Change Incentive Policy

Effective:  September 1, 2005


Effective September 1, 2005, the SW ABE – Marshall Region will adopt the following policy to address both the need to (1) retain students for at least 12 hours of attendance and (2) increase the number of students for which we can document a level change while at the same time providing a means for students to be more invested in assuring that this documentation takes place.  Level changes are to be determined by the CASAS assessments.   Instructors are asked to share this with each of their current students and upon registering new students.


POLICY:  Any student who has participated in the SW ABE – Marshall Region’s program for a minimum of 12 hours and attains a level change will receive $5 in the form of community bucks from their local chamber of commerce.   A student may receive this only once in the student contact reporting year (May 1st to April 30th).  Upon receiving proper documentation, the office will send the  $5 in community bucks to the student.



5.  You are invited to the Marshall Consortium Fall Staff Meeting on Saturday, October 8th.  Marn Frank of LDA of Minnesota has agreed to offer two special training sessions: 

(1)  Learning to Read with The Art, and (2) Reading to Learn with The Art

A description of these sessions is available by clicking on the link below.

You may email us at OR call Barb 507-537-7046 OR you may sign up for these sessions on-line at:

Please signup immediately if you plan to attend this consortium meeting.


6.  Follow the Dollars:  A guided tour through the state’s budget process is coming to Redwood Falls on October 12.  Information about this opportunity is on the website. CLick on the link below.

7.  The Minnesota Literacy Council is offering the following educational technology professional development opportunity.
Evaluating Educational Software - training at the MLC   Tuesday, September 27,  6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  Get hands-on experience with current ESL software titles. Use evaluation guidelines provided to determine which ones are most appropriate for your program and learner needs.  Register with Nima Salehi 651.645.2277 ext. 224

For more details and directions go to
8.  The latest issue of NetNews from LDA of Minnesota. The purpose of this first issue for the 2005-2006 school year is to describe LDA's grant activities available to any Minnesota ABE provider or learner at no cost.  Click on the link below to download this version of NetNews.
9.  Need a definition - quick? Go to  That is the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary website.  There is a sound icon that you can click on to hear how the word is pronounced.  It also has a Thesaurus.

10.  The non-confidential job postings that Job Service shares with us are posted on the ABE Website each week.  Check them out here.

11.  From the Trivia Department:  Learn a new word everyday.  You can subscribe to the A Word A Day mailing list.  Everyday, they will email you a new word to learn.  Or you can visit their website everyday to learn a new word.  To join the mailing list or visit the website, go here:
Today's Word:  anonym  (Know what it means?)
12.  Thought for the week:   You see things and you say "Why?"  But I dream things athat never were; and I say Why not  ~George Bernard Shaw
13.  TECH TIP:  Readability Statistics
Microsoft Word has a built-in tool to give you a variety of statistics about your document.  It works with your spell checker.  When you complete your spell check, you can get readability statistics about your document.  Like: 

  • How many words, characters, paragraphs, and sentences are in your document.  And,
  • What is the average number of sentences, words per sentence, or characters per word

In addition you can get readability scores based on a formula (or algorithm) on the average number of words per sentence and syllables per word.  Here are the 2 reports you will receive:

  • The Flesch Reading Ease score:  This rates your document on a 100 point scale.  The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document.  A score of 60 to 70 would be a score that most people would be able to read with ease.
  • The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score:  This gives you the grade level at which your document is written.  According to current statistics, the largest percent of the population can only read at a 6th-8th grade reading level?

There is one other statistic the Readability Statistics gives; Passive Sentences.  You should keep your use of passive sentences between 5 and 10 percent – the lower the better.  Why?  Because the passive voice is not as interesting and exciting as the active voice.  Go to this website and read about the passive voice and the active voice.

(During the election John Kerry used passive sentences about twice as many times as George Bush(You mean he lost the election because he used too many passive sentences?)


OK – How do you activate the Readability Scores?  Follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Options
  4. Click on the Spelling and Grammar tab
  5. Click the square next to Show readability statistics
  6. Click OK

Now, open a Word document and check the spelling.  The shortcut key to check spelling is F7 (the F keys are at the top of the keyboard).  At the end of the spell check, you will get Readability Statistics – including the Flesch Reading Ease score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Score and how many Passive Sentences you used.  (Too bad Kerry didn’t read this Tech Tip!)


You will get the rating for passive sentences if you activate Readability Scores, but if you want to check for passive sentences (and a host of other items), when you do a spelling and grammar check, you need to select those options.  Go to the Tools Menu, click on Options, click on the Spelling and Grammar tab, click on the Settings button, scroll down to the Style section, and click on Passive Sentences.  Also click on any other options you want the Grammar Checker to check.


OK – so how did I do?  Here are the readability statistics for this Tech Tip:


Words: 518

Characters:  2561

Paragraphs:  32

Sentences:  29

Average sentences per paragraph: 3.6

Average words per sentence:  14.3

Characters per Word:  4.5

Passive Sentences:  4% (Hmm – I could run for president)

Flesch Reading Ease:  64.3

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:  7.7


Here’s a neat site to learn more about Readability Scores.  You can test the readability of a web site here also.


A great week have you! (Hey – is that’s a passive sentence?)

Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046


E-Mail:Marshall Adult Education