by Deja Powell
From the Editor: To address the Braille literacy crisis in America, the National Federation of the Blind has mobilized to take action on many fronts: public education, advocacy in schools, stimulating the creation of teacher-training programs, and creating what we informally call a Braille competency test. Here is what Deja Powell offers in an attempt to answer questions such as why the test matters, why one should take it, where it is offered, and how you can help to increase the number of testing sites:
Have you heard of this thing called the National Certification in Literary Braille (NCLB)? The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) offers the NCLB exam, which provides a certification that says, “I am proficient in literary Braille.” The test has been designed for teachers of the blind, but anyone can take it.
More and more the NCLB is becoming a standard for certification across the country, and people are starting to notice it. We have expanded the number of test locations for this exam and now offer it in many regions of the country, so we thought you’d like to know more about it. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the NCLB.
What is the National Certification in Literary Braille (NCLB)?
The NCLB is a nationally recognized certification in literary Braille geared specifically toward teachers. It is a five-year renewable certification awarded to those who successfully pass all four sections of the National Literary Braille Competency Test. It is administered solely under the direction of the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).
Who can take the NCLB?
The target population includes pre- and in-service teachers who teach or will teach Braille reading and writing to children and adults. Others interested in demonstrating their knowledge/proficiency in reading and writing the literary Braille code are also welcome. There are no prerequisites, although a good working knowledge of the literary Braille code is assumed.
What is the format of the NCLB test?
The NCLB is a written examination that tests an applicant’s ability to read, write, and understand literary Braille. The examination consists of four sections, including 1) Braille Writing—using a Braillewriter; 2) Braille Writing—using a slate and stylus; 3) Proofreading—identifying Braille errors; and 4) Multiple Choice—correct Braille usage and rules.
Where is the NCLB offered?
As interest in the NCLB grows, so does the number of locations at which the test is offered. Current listings of test locations can be found at <www.nbpcb.org/nclb>. We are offering the test at this year’s national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando, Florida, on July 4 and 5, so register now.
Why should I, or an employee of mine, take the NCLB?
The NCLB brings an added credential to any teacher of the blind or visually impaired who demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in the Literary Braille code. Holders of the NCLB demonstrate to their profession that they hold the nation's highest credential for knowledge of literary Braille. As certification continues to be sought and even required by employers, holding the NCLB credential will make the candidate for employment highly valuable to prospective employers, while helping employers to demonstrate that they have a highly qualified workforce.
How much does it cost to take the NCLB?
All fees can be paid online at <www.nbpcb.org/nclb> by credit card or PayPal account. Alternatively, they may be paid by personal check, bank draft, or money order. Fees are as follows:
Application Fee: $250
Re-Test Fee: $250
Single Section: $75
Where can I register to take the NCLB?
Registration for the NCLB must be done online at <www.nbpcb.org/nclb>. The online application is simple and easy to follow. You may also pay for the test at this time using a credit card or PayPal account.
How do I prepare to take the NCLB test?
An entire section on our Website, <www.nbpcb.org/nclb> is dedicated to preparing you for the test; sample tests, practice passages, proofreading exercises, and other study materials are available. The official reference for the exam is the 1994 edition of EBAE as revised in 2002, available for purchase from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
Whom should I contact for more information if I’m interested in hosting an NCLB test?
We are always looking for new testing locations. If you would like us to schedule a test in your area, you may contact Deja Powell by phone at (318) 257-2029 Monday through Friday; or by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Many more details about the test can also be found on our Website.